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Day 5 – Youth and Veterans tour commemorative sites in Belgium.
Apr 10, 2017
During their battlefield tour in Belgium today, the youth delegation visited significant First World War locations for Canadian soldiers stationed in the area a century ago. The sites included the powerful St. Julien Memorial, Passchendaele Memorial, Essex Farm Cemetery and Tyne Cot Memorial.
Now the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world in terms of burials, Tyne Cot Cemetery contains the remains of 11,961 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War. Veteran delegates, some of whom found ancestors’ names on the memorial, also enjoyed the visit to Tyne Cot.
After many years of hearing John McCrae’s famous poem, the youth were thrilled to visit the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, Belgium. Later in the evening, the group moved on to the Last Post ceremony at the memorial arches of the Menin Gate in Ypres.
Every evening since 1928, the Last Post has been sounded by a group of dedicated volunteers who honour the memory of the soldiers of the then British Empire who fought and died in the battles of the Ypres Salient between 1914 and 1918. Of the 250,000 soldiers who died here, more than 100,000 have no known graves; 54,896 soldiers (those who died before August 16, 1917) are commemorated by name on the Menin Gate.
Day 4 – Signature Commemorative Ceremony (Ottawa)
Day 4 – The Battle of Vimy Ridge … told 100 years later (France)
Apr 09, 2017
It was one hundred years ago today that the four Canadian divisions stormed Vimy Ridge, France, in an epic First World War battle. April 9, 2017, saw an equally impressive Canadian turnout as over 20,000 people walked the very same ground and paid their respects to the fallen.
Well-known Canadian actors and musicians, in the presence of a large contingent of Canadian Armed Forces personnel and the RCMP, retold elements of the First World War—in a uniquely commemorative way.
Minister Hehr—along with his French counterpart, Mr. Jean-Marc Todeschini—greeted His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, M. François Hollande, President of the French Republic, Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, as well as other dignitaries as they descended from the impressive Canadian National Vimy Memorial. Over 10,000 Canadian youth took in the ceremony and related commemorative learning activities.
Over 2,000 used military boots were placed on-site, symbolically representing the nearly 3,600 who fell during the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Day 3 – A ring of remembrance and a window on the past (France)
Apr 08, 2017
The generations came together for thoughtful reflection on the impact the First World War had on all those involved—in Europe and abroad. The entire delegation of 150 Canadians toured the Ring of Remembrance at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette. The memorial, which opened on Remembrance Day in 2014 honors the 576,606 soldiers of forty different nationalities who died in the area of Nord-Pas-de-Calais between 1914 and 1918.
The youth were most impressed with the fact that this is the first memorial to list the names of the war dead, alphabetically, with no regard to rank nor nationality. Chatting with the Veterans, some of whom have a personal and family connection to the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the youth discussed war, history, loss and the long-term impact they have on a culture and society.
The youth delegates later had the privilege of participating in the opening of the new Visitor Education Centre at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial with His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, Minister Hehr and Mr. Jean-Marc Todeschini, Minister of State for Veterans and Remembrance in France. The Centre’s We Will Remember exhibit uses new media, artefacts and personal stories to help visitors better understand Canada and Newfoundland’s service, sacrifices and experience of the First World War.
By sundown, Minister Hehr led the delegation up to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial for a spectacular military sunset ceremony presented by the Canadian Armed Forces Contingent.
Day 3 – Aboriginal Ceremony, Sound & Light Show/Candlelight Vigil (Ottawa)
Apr 08, 2017
A Government of Canada delegation are in Ottawa to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the First World War. The delegation attended a commemorative ceremony at the National Aboriginal Monument in Ottawa; and a candlelight ceremony and projection show took place at the National War Memorial.
Day 2 – Young Canadians remember through art, music, sound and light (France)
Apr 07, 2017
It was a day of learning and sharing for the young Canadians participating in activities marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. They started out the day at the Carrière Wellington Museum in Arras. It is named after a former underground quarry which was part of a network of tunnels used by forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the First World War. The mood was sombre as they saw first-hand the dangerous working and living conditions of the soldiers.
In the afternoon, they took the lead in organizing a powerfully moving ceremony of remembrance at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery. This is the same place where the remains of an unknown solider were exhumed and now lie in the Tomb on the Unknown Soldier at Canada’s National War Memorial in Ottawa. During the ceremony, youth delegates Daniel Mulder and Émie Lavoie presented their research project on two First World War soldiers.
The group moved on to a special unveiling of a Canadian War Museum exhibit touring the region. Witness – Fields of Battle Through Canadian Eyes, brings the battlefield back to life on canvas one hundred years later.
The delegation rounded out the day with a military concert and an impressive sound and light show highlighting the friendship between France and Canada and the combined sacrifices of our two countries.
Day 2 – Parliament Hill Tour, Citizenship Ceremony, and War Museum Visit (Ottawa)
Apr 07, 2017
A Government of Canada delegation are in Ottawa to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the First World War. The delegates attended a reception hosted by the Speaker of the House at Parliament Hill and toured Parliament Hill, including the Peace Tower and Memorial Chamber. Having the Vimy delegation attend the Citizenship Ceremony brought a wealth of history and knowledge to the new Canadians. The delegates also took part in a guided tour of the First World War section of the Canadian War Museum.
Day 1 – Exploring century old tunnels for real and virtually! (France)
Apr 06, 2017
Canadian Veterans and youth toured First World War tunnels at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial this morning. The groups headed underground in groups of 25 and were given a guided tour of what living in the trenches was like 100 years ago. The maze of tunnels and caverns that covered the Western Front was one of the most remarkable engineering feats of the war. The extensive underground network would reduce casualties amongst the advancing infantry and returning wounded, and enable supplies to be brought up under less hazardous conditions. At the same time, Minister Hehr toured the tunnels and trenches with the help of technology. Late in 2016, Google sent its “trekker” cameras underground to capture footage for Google Maps. Using an Ipad and the Google Maps app, Minister Hehr was able to follow in the footsteps of the delegation and soldiers who spent their time there.
Day 1 – Orientation & Visit to Rideau Hall (Ottawa)
Apr 06, 2017
A Government of Canada delegation are in Ottawa to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the First World War. The delegates toured Rideau Hall with youth from Encounters with Canada.
The delegates were nominated by Veteran organizations across Canada based on their personal connection to Vimy Ridge. The group will participate in a number of commemorative events and activities in the nation’s capital to mark the significance of the battle in Canada’s military history.
Youth Remember the Battle of Vimy Ridge “Chalk it up to Remembrance”
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