Part of the broader Arras offensive, the Battle of Vimy Ridge began on the morning of April 9, 1917. The four-day battle was the first time all four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought together as one formation.
The Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge is considered to be a key point in shaping Canada as a nation.
The Government of Canada will mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge with commemorative ceremonies on April 9, 2017, at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. The Government of Canada will take a delegation over to France, between Arras & Lens, and commemorative events are being prepared for France during the week of April 7 - 12, 2017. Events are tentatively planned to include the opening of the Visitors Education Centre and a signature Government of Canada commemorative ceremony at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial on April 9, 2017.
12h : introduction shows at the Memorial.
15h30 – 17h30 : Official Memorial Ceremony in the presence of an official Government of Canada delegation. Around 15 000 Canadians will attend the ceremony. Fly-over of the monument by historic aircrafts.
17h30 – 18h : final shows at the Memorial.
Due to heightened security, anyone planning to attend the 100th anniversary ceremony must register online by February 28, 2017: Canada.ca/Vimy-100
A symbol of friendship between Canada and France, the memorial stands at the heart of 250-acre park overlooking the coal basin. Its magnificient white pylons commemorate Canada’s 11285 soldiers who were lost on French soil during the Great War. Within a 107 ha park, the site offers a trip back in time to the Great War, with preserved trenches, underground tunnels (available only by guided tour). The Visitors Center displays the Battle of Vimy Ridge on 9 April 1917 and Canada’s participation in the First World War.
Visitors Center and Trenches opened on Mondays from 11:00 am to 5:00 am and from Tuesday to Sunday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Closed from middle of December to middle of January, except the Memorial.
Location : Route Départementale 55, Vimy
The crowning achievement of the Centennial celebrations will be the unveiling of state-of-the-art Vimy Visitor Education Centre ($5 million was committed by the Government of Canada in 2013) near the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France – a project from Veterans Affairs Canada in partnership with the Vimy Foundation.
While the Vimy monument itself is of course stunningly beautiful, currently visitors are given little context at the existing information booth as to why Canadians fought and died there; why Vimy remains special to the Canadian soul; and how Vimy, and other First World War battles at which Canadians fought, forever altered Canada’s status on the world stage.
In the new Visitor Education Centre, visitors will always remain firmly grounded in their surroundings thanks to a wall of windows stretching across the entire length of the building's rear wall. While windows play an obvious architectural role, they also symbolize the Centre's educational goal of providing a window on Canada's First World War experience. Entitled We Will Remember, the Center's exhibit traces Canada and Newfoundland's involvement in the First World War through the stories of everyday Canadians whose lives were forever changed.
The new Interpretation Center will be inaugurated on April 8, 2017 and will open to everybody on April 10, 2017.