New Vimy Foundation poll reveals majority of Canadians believe 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge in 2017 should be focus of Canada’s Sesquicentennial
Vimy Day to be celebrated across Canada on April 9
TORONTO—April 8, 2015 —To mark Vimy Day (April 9), The Vimy Foundation has released a new poll measuring Canadian attitudes and knowledge of this seminal moment in Canadian history.
With 2017 being a big year for Canada as it celebrates both its 150th birthday and the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, one of the most famous battles of Canadian history, which scholars often point to as Canada’s definitive “coming of age” moment, a new Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of the Vimy Foundation has revealed that three quarters (74%) of Canadians ‘agree’ that ‘the 100th anniversary of Vimy, falling as it does in 2017, should be one of the most important celebrations for Canada that year’.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge, and its contribution to Canadian history and nation building, is so significant that the government of Canada chose to include an image of the monument on the new $20 bill. Many Canadians want to see the gesture go even further: a majority (51%) of Canadians ‘agree’ that since the new $20 Canadian polymer bill features an image of the Vimy monument, they’d ‘support changing the name of the $20 bill to a “Vimy” to help commemorate the battle’s centennial in 2017’.
“It is encouraging that a clear majority of the country recognizes the important place the victory holds in our history,” said Jeremy Diamond, Executive Director of the Vimy Foundation. “As we countdown to 2017, we look forward to further engaging and educating Canadians about this seminal moment in our nation’s history.”
Troubling was that four in ten (40%) Canadians feels the war cenotaph/memorial in their community is ‘in need of repair and/or restoration’. Built following the end of the First World War, these cenotaphs/memorials are often used for public gatherings and celebrations, particularly on Remembrance Day.
From 2014 to 2018, Canada and those around the world mark the 100th anniversary of many important milestones from the First World War. But most Canadians are not entirely aware of these important anniversaries. Four in ten (44%) ‘agree’ that they are ‘aware of upcoming centennial anniversaries of important moments of the First World War, such as poet John McCrae’s In Flanders Fields, the Battle of Ypres, the Battle of Vimy Ridge, etc’. Conversely, a majority (56%) ‘disagrees’ (they are aware of these important milestones).
Interestingly, 5% of those polled (up 2% from 2014), said that they or a member of their family are considering travelling to Vimy for centennial celebrations in 2017.
Other findings include:
- Three quarters (75%) ‘agree’ a visit to Canadian battlefields, cemeteries and historic sites in Europe has or would increase my knowledge and appreciation for Canada’s military history,
- Three quarters (72%) ‘agree’ that all Canadians should participate in a local activity to celebrate Canada’s 150 birthday in 2017
- A majority of Quebeckers (54%) support the renaming of the $20 bill to a ‘Vimy’ in time for the centennial in 2017
- Half of Albertans (50%) ‘agree’ that the cenotaph/memorial in their community is in need of repair/restoration
The Vimy Foundation, working with the Government of Canada, is spearheading the building of an Education Centre at the Vimy Memorial site in France, so that students and visitors can better understand this pivotal moment in Canadian history. The Centre will open on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, April 9, 2017. For more information on Vimy 2017, visit www.vimy100.ca
The Vimy Foundation
Founded in 2006, the mission of the Vimy Foundation is to preserve and promote Canada’s First World War legacy as symbolized with the victory of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917, a milestone when Canada came of age and was then recognized on the world stage. Visit www.vimyfoundation.ca.