Significant commemorative events

November 5-11

Veterans' Week

Today’s Canadian Armed Forces continue to protect the freedom we enjoy, as did hundreds of thousands of brave Canadians in uniform since the First World War. Every November, from the 5th to the 11th, we remember their service and sacrifice.


First World War

Battle of the Somme
(July 1916)

The Battle of the Somme began in northern France on 1 July 1916, when waves of Allied soldiers began climbing out of their trenches to advance through a hail of enemy fire toward the German lines.

Most recent commemoration:
100th anniversary (July 2016)

Battle for Vimy Ridge
(9-12 April 1917)

The Battle of Vimy Ridge began on Easter Monday, 9 April 1917. Regiments from coast to coast saw action together in a distinctly Canadian triumph, helping create a new and stronger sense of Canadian identity in our country.

Most recent commemoration:
100th anniversary (April 2017)

The Battle of Passchendaele
(October - November 1917)

The Battle of Passchendaele raged in Belgium in the summer and fall of 1917. The Canadian Corps joined the fighting in October and would overcome almost unimaginable hardships to triumph on a brutal and muddy battlefield.

Most recent commemoration:
100th anniversary (October 2017)

Canada’s Hundred Days
(August - November 1918)

Our many achievements on the battlefields of Europe were capped by a three-month stretch of victories at the end of the war – 8 August to 11 November 1918 – that came to be known as "Canada's Hundred Days".

Most recent commemoration:
100th anniversary (August 2018)

Armistice and the end of the First World War
(11 November 1918)

The armistice to end the First World War took affect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.

Most recent commemoration:
100th anniversary (November 2018)


Second World War

Hong Kong
(December 1941)

The island of Hong Kong fell to the Japanese on Christmas Day 1941 following a brief but intense period of fighting. Of the almost 2,000 Canadians who sailed to Hong Kong in late 1941, more than 550 would never see Canada again.

Most recent commemoration:
60th anniversary (of the liberation of the POWs) (December 2005)

The Dieppe Raid
(19 August 1942)

Many acts of great courage took place during the Dieppe Raid and two Canadians would earn the Victoria Cross, our country’s highest award for military valour.

Most recent commemoration:
75th anniversary (August 2017)

Italian campaign
(10 July 1943 - February 1945)

The Italian Campaign was an important military effort for Canada during the war. More than 93,000 Canadians, along with their allies from Great Britain, France and the United States, played a vital role as they pushed from the south to the north of Italy over a 20-month period.

Most recent commemoration:
75th anniversary (November 2019)

D-Day and the Battle of Normandy
(June - August 1944)

Many Canadian soldiers were young and new to battle when they went into action against some of the best of the German forces. The Canadians successfully captured their positions at Juno Beach and advanced the farthest inland of any of the 150,000 Allied troops who landed on 6 June 1944.

Most recent commemoration:
75th anniversary (June 2019)

Liberation of Belgium / Battle of the Scheldt
(September - November 1944)

Canada played an important role in the liberation of Belgium during the Second World War. Our soldiers, sailors and airmen helped defeat the Germans and restore peace to the country after more than four years of occupation.

Most recent commemoration:
75th anniversary (September 2019)

Liberation of the Netherlands
(October 1944 - 5 May 1945)

The events of the past have a direct impact on the world we know today. The warm relationship that exists between Canada and the Netherlands can be traced back to difficult days at the end of the Second World War when Canada played a key role in liberating the people of the Netherlands.

Most recent commemoration:
75th anniversary (May 2020)

Battle of the Atlantic
(1939 – 1945)

The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous battle of the Second World War and one in which Canada played a central role. The battle began on the opening day of the war in September 1939 and ended almost six years later with Germany’s surrender in May 1945.

Most recent commemoration:
75th anniversary (May 2018)

V-E Day
(8 May 1945)

Germany surrenders on 7 May 1945, and the war in Europe ends. The next day, May 8, is declared V-E (Victory in Europe) Day.

Most recent commemoration:
75th anniversary (May 2020)

V-J Day
(15 August 1945)

Ambitious plans had been made for Canada's expected role in the Allied push to defeat Japan. As it turned out, they never had to be carried out with the American dropping of the two atomic bombs on Japan, forcing them to surrender unconditionally. This day was called V-J (Victory in Japan) Day.

Most recent commemoration:
75th anniversary (May 2020)


Korean War

The Battle of Kapyong
(April 1951)

The Battle of Kapyong was an important episode in the Korean War. The soldiers of the 2nd Battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry persevered in the face of great adversity to help prevent a potentially costly defeat for the South Korean and UN forces.

The Armistice
(27 July 1953)

After more than three years of hostilities and a prolonged negotiation process, an armistice to end the active fighting in the Korean War was finally signed in Panmunjom on 27 July 1953. More than 26,000 Canadians served in the war, and another 7,000 would serve in Korea in a peace support role after the armistice until 1957.

Most recent commemoration:
65th anniversary (June 2018)


Canadian Armed Forces operations and peacekeeping missions

Cyprus
(began March 1964)

The peacekeeping operation in Cyprus, from 1964 to today, is one of Canada's longest and best-known overseas military commitments. In total, more than 25,000 Canadian Armed Forces members have served in Cyprus over the decades.

Most recent commemoration:
50th anniversary (March 2014)

Gulf War
(1990 - 1991)

More than 4,000 Canadian Armed Forces members served in the Persian Gulf region in 1990-1991 as part of the international coalition of countries that came together to drive the invading forces of Iraq out of Kuwait.

The Balkans
(1991 - 2004)

When many people think of Canadian peace support efforts over the years, one of the first places to come to mind is the Balkans. Tens of thousands of Canadian Armed Forces members served in this volatile region of southeastern Europe in the 1990s and into the 2000s after the former communist country of Yugoslavia violently split apart.

Rwanda
(1993 - 1996)

At times, more than 400 Canadian soldiers would find themselves in the midst of some of the worst violence that could be imagined while taking part in international peace efforts to try to bring some stability to the embattled African nation.

Afghanistan
(2001 - 2014)

The chain of events that would bring Canadian soldiers into the desolate and dangerous terrain of Afghanistan began on 11 September 2001. On that day, four airliners were hijacked in the skies over the eastern United States; two were deliberately crashed into the World Trade Center towers and one into the Pentagon, resulting in the death of nearly 3,000 people.

Most recent commemoration:
National Day of Honour (May 2014)

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