At Vimy Ridge, in 1917, 100,000 Canadians soldiers gathered for the first time as a united fighting force. They achieved the unachievable and took one of the most heavily defended positions of the entire Western front. It is said by many historians that at Vimy Ridge Canada emerged from a colony to become a nation. It was not simply a battle — it was Canada’s coming of age. In 2006, The Vimy Foundation was formed with the mandate to preserve and promote Canada’s First World War legacy as symbolized by the victory at Vimy Ridge in April 1917.
Since then, the Foundation has designed and distributed more than 100,000 unique Vimy pins and medals, produced high quality education resources for thousands of teachers and schools across Canada, and been involved in more than 10,000 student ‘pilgrimages’ to Vimy.
As the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge approaches, the Foundation will play a leading role in building a state of the art Education Centre to be unveiled in France on April 9, 2017 on the grounds adjacent to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. The Government of Canada committed $5 million to the project, and the Vimy Foundation will raise an additional $5-10 million through the generosity of Canadians.
In 2012, The Bank of Canada, in partnership with the Vimy Foundation, launched the new polymer $20 bill which features an image of the Vimy Ridge Memorial. The Vimy Foundation is asking Canadians to ‘Give a VIMY ($20 bill) for Vimy’ to help raise awareness and funds for the new Education Centre. Donations can be made at www.vimy100.ca and donors will receive a Vimy Pin and their name added on the Vimy 2017 online registry.
The creation of a state-of-the-art Vimy Education Centre in France will be a fitting tribute to the legacy of the Canadians who fought and died at the site 100 years ago. It will become a destination not only for Canadians making an important pilgrimage to France but also for visitors from around the world to learn about this important turning point in Canadian history.
Follow @vimyfoundation on Twitter and visit vimyfoundation.ca for ongoing updates about the work of the Vimy Foundation.