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Remembering Vimy


An introduction for young students to the great sacrifices made by the Canadians who fought in the Battle of Vimy Ridge through the true story of Vimy the foal, plus a colouring activity.


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 5 to 7.

Sequence of Events and Anticipated Time Frame [35 minutes]

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

  • Introduction discussion [10 minutes]
  • Read aloud [5 minutes]
  • Viewing a Poster [5 minutes]
  • Colouring sheet activity [15 minutes]


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.

Read Aloud [5 minutes]

Share with your students the handout ”Remembering Vimy” to help students understand how Canadians served in the Battle of Vimy Ridge and that on April 9, 1917, soldiers lost their lives. A large monument was erected to remember those brave soldiers who died. After the reading, discuss with your students how the little baby horse must have made the soldiers feel. Share the image of Vimy and its mother with the soldier.

Viewing a Poster [5 minutes]

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

Colouring Sheet Activity [15 minutes]

Provide the children with a Remembering Vimy colouring sheet. Once completed, you may wish to display them on the wall in your school, and perhaps you could take a picture and share it on social media. Don’t forget to add #CanadaRemembers.

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