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In the News

Opening Ceremony

April 5, 2017

Speech by the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada

Governor General David Johnston views a replica of the statue of Peace during the Visitor Education Centre opening on April 8, 2017. (Office of the Secretary to the Governor General)

Vimy 1917-2017 : New Visitor Education Centre - France

NARRATOR: The breathtaking Canadian National Vimy Memorial, designed by Canadian sculptor and architect Walter Allward, stands as a tribute to all Canadians who served during the First World War. It represents service, sacrifice and courage. Le gouvernement du Canada assure l’entretien de ce lieu historique national. Dans le cadre de son engagement continu à honorer ceux et celles qui ont tant donné pendant la Première Guerre mondiale et à raconter leurs histoires aux milliers de visiteurs chaque année le gouvernement du Canada a versé cinq millions de dollars pour un nouveau Centre d’accueil et d’éducation. The Vimy Foundation, which helps preserve and promote Canada’s entire First World War legacy, raised an additional five million dollars for the construction of the centre. Des Canadiens de partout au pays par l’entremise de la Fondation Vimy ont offert leur soutien au projet dans le cadre d’initiatives de collectes de fonds et de dons individuels et corporatifs. Chaque donateur a ses propres raisons de soutenir ce nouveau Centre d’éducation des visiteurs. MADAME HELEN VARI: My beloved late husband, the Honourable George William Vari’s philosophy was that education is the most important thing and everything should be based on education. So this education centre will now serve as a place of respect and a memory for the thousands of fallen Canadian soldiers, our heroes, and most importantly, to study and to work for peace in the world. JOHN P. CARSWELL: My grandfather, James Morrison Carswell, was a private and then a sergeant with the Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade and during the battle of Vimy Ridge, he was actually in headquarters and helped plan the machine gun barrage. So I knew a lot about Vimy. I was in the military myself. I was an air force officer like my father. And so I thought it was a good cause. And when you go to Vimy, you realize how terrible the conditions were and how brave the soldiers indeed were. ANDREW CARSWELL (Second World War Veteran): I think maybe they might think twice about getting involved in a war, you know, because when I was involved in the war, I just thought of what I saw in the movies and the heroic things that the fighter pilots did and so forth. What I learned about war is that it’s not very nice. NARRATOR: Offering a view over the trenches, the New Visitor Education Centre presents the experience and sacrifices of those who fought during the First World War and honours their memory. Thank you to all who have made this possible. MADAME HELEN VARI: Voyagez à Vimy. Visitez Vimy. Au revoir à Vimy. UN MESSAGE DU GOUVERNEMENT DU CANADA

Vimy 1917-2017 : Be part of history - Visitor Education Centre

JOANNE (Guide): Hello. Welcome to the Vimy National Memorial. Today I would like to introduce you to our new Visitor Centre that will open to the public as of April 10th. I would like to just mention a few words on the architect’s vision about the building. So we have two axes, mainly. The corten wall we have here on my right symbolizes those objects that even 100 years later are still surfacing to the top, those rusty objects as we sometimes call them. So this is why you have this rusty colour on the corten wall, so referring to the memory or the history of the site. The white building is what we call the commemoration axis, or theme, and it’s in line with the Vimy Memorial. So this one really reflects on commemoration, how important it is for us to commemorate the sacrifice of those who gave their life a hundred years later. So together, these two do form the theme of the exhibit We Will Remember. For the other component of the exhibit, I’ll take you inside. Once we walk inside, we have this magnificent wall -- glass wall -- that allows us to always have a look at the battlefield; so to remain connected with the story of the site. We like to call this a window on Canada’s participation in the First World War. A message from the Government of Canada
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