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Operation Vimy Ridge


Through reading and poster-viewing activities, students will learn more about the strategies used in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The lesson also includes a fun paper cruncher activity to drive home facts about this important event.  


Youth will be expected to:

  • develop a basic understanding of the Canadian efforts at the Battle of Vimy Ridge;
  • develop an awareness of the importance of April 9 in Canada; and
  • develop an awareness of the importance of remembering the sacrifices and achievements of those who served and died.

Target Audience

This activity is suitable for ages 8 to 12.

Sequence of Events and Anticipated Time Frame [45 minutes]

(This activity can be modified to fit available time.)

  • Introduction Discussion [10 minutes]
  • Independent Reading [10 minutes]
  • Viewing a Poster [10 minutes]
  • Paper Cruncher Activity [15 minutes]
  • Heritage Minute: Vimy Ridge [optional]


Introductory Discussion [10 minutes]

Have a brief discussion with your students about what makes a person a friend. Discuss sharing, playing together, helping, etc. Then shift the conversation to what they think a whole country could do to be a friend.

Provide the children with a bit of an understanding about the First World War. Talk about how the war began more than 100 years ago, well before their parents and even their grandparents were born! Look at a world map and locate the continent of Europe. Discuss and show them how far away Europe is from Canada. You may ask if any ever visited Europe. See if they can spot their own province or territory, and then see if they can find France. Discuss how far away from each other these places are.

Mention that the First World War started in Europe when some of the countries there were “bullying” some other countries. In places like France, people and families lost their homes, and many people were cold and hungry. Canada decided to help make this bullying stop, and they sent thousands of soldiers to help.

Some of these brave people were fathers or young sons. It was probably hard for them to leave their families in Canada and go so far away to risk their lives. What would their families be feeling? What would the young men be feeling? Does any child in the class have a parent who has to travel far away for work? If so, how does it make them feel? Or how do they think it would make them feel?

The Canadian soldiers fought in many difficult battles, and one of them was the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Independent Reading [10 minutes]

Share with your students the handout “Operation Vimy Ridge” to help them understand how Canadians served in the Battle of Vimy Ridge, and that on April 9, 1917, many soldiers lost their lives. A large monument was erected to remember those brave soldiers who died.

Viewing a Poster [10 minutes]

Talk to your students about how some soldiers died. Ask them to think about how the families back at home in Canada would have felt having lost a father or son. Talk about why the Canadian government would want to build a monument there to remember them.

Share the Vimy Poster with your students. 

On the poster, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial that was built in France is in the foreground.  This beautiful and symbolic monument is to remember the Canadians who served and lost their lives in the First World War.  Engraved in the stone on the wall are the names of over 11,000 Canadians who died in France and have no known grave. There are different sculptures on the monument. 

In the background of the poster is one such sculpture. It is called “Canada Bereft” (also known as Mother Canada) and is a statue of a woman. Her chin is resting on her hand as she gazes over the graves of the dead. It is to represent the families in Canada who are so sad.

A historical photograph of Canadians taken during the Battle of Vimy Ridge completes the poster design.

Operation Vimy Ridge Cruncher Activity [15 minutes]

Provide each student with a copy of the Operation Vimy Ridge Cruncher Activity (PDF). The cruncher is a fun activity that will help your students learn more about the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

You may wish to read the Instructions for Folding a Paper Cruncher.

Viewing a Heritage Minute [optional]

To conclude, you may wish to view the Heritage Minute: Vimy Ridge and discuss with your class the relevance of remembering the Battle of Vimy Ridge that was fought more than a century ago.


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