Trudeau heading to France to mark the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge

PM heads to France to mark Vimy Ridge anniversary

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on his way to France, as Canadians prepare to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

As many as 25,000 Canadians will join Trudeau and other dignitaries as they pause in the shadows of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial on Sunday to reflect and remember.

Millions more are expected to watch and listen by radio and TV, or attend local commemorative ceremonies.

Sunday’s commemorative ceremony in Vimy is being billed as a chance to mark what has come to be seen as a seminal moment in Canada’s history.

The two-hour event will include musical and dramatic performances by well-known Canadians such as Paul Gross and Lorena McKennitt, as well as speeches by French President Francois Hollande and Prince Charles.

The battle is noteworthy for a number of reasons, including it being the first time all four Canadian divisions fought together during the First World War.

The Canadians went over the top the morning of April 9, 1917, Easter Monday, charging out of their trenches toward the strategically important ridge then held by the Germans.

Employing a number of revolutionary tactics, including following an slow moving artillery barrage, the Canadians were able to succeed where past British and French attacks had failed by capturing and holding the ridge.

But the four-day battle wasn’t without heavy cost, as 3,598 Canadians were killed and another 7,000 wounded.

Even then, it would be another 19 years, when the iconic Canadian National Vimy Memorial was unveiled in 1936, before the battle would start to become an important part of Canada’s national identity.

Historians today generally agree that Vimy was not the most important of Canada’s First World War battles.

Others were bigger, bloodier and more decisive in terms of bringing about an end to the war.

But it has taken on a special symbolism for Canada’s entire experience during the First World War, which saw it transform from a British colony to a country in its own right.

Trudeau is scheduled to visit Juno Beach on Monday, where he will mark Canada’s contributions during the Second World War.

– Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Woman refused entry after refusing to wear mask at store in Kelowna mall

The woman filmed the encounter at LUSH Cosmetics, where wearing a mask in-store is company policy

Smoky skies clearing throughout B.C. Interior

Environment Canada expects “widespread” improvement for all affected areas by Sunday

Stranger in truck grabs boy walking home from school in Kelowna

The 11-year-old boy escaped the incident, RCMP are investigating

Okanagan group calls for inclusive COVID-19 recovery plan

RAMA Okanagan wants full immigration status as part of COVID-19 recovery

Peachland residents march for better forest management

The Peachland march was one of many like it across B.C.

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

‘This is a very difficult sentencing’; Judge delays Okanagan manslaughter trial to next week

The courts heard Friday that Bourque “did not intend to cause harm” but that her actions were “reckless”

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Most Read