To mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9, 2017, commemorative events will be held at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France and the National War Memorial in Ottawa. The Government of Canada will lead a delegation to France to participate in the commemorative ceremony. In Ottawa, an official delegation will participate in commemorative programming between April 6 and 9, 2017.
Canada’s most impressive tribute overseas to those Canadians who fought and gave their lives in the First World War is the majestic and inspiring Canadian National Vimy Memorial which overlooks the Douai Plain from the highest point of Vimy Ridge, about ten kilometres north of Arras. The Memorial does more than mark the site of the engagement. It stands as a tribute to all who served their country in battle in that four-year struggle and particularly to those who gave their lives.
After months of careful planning and preparation, the Battle of Vimy Ridge began at 5:30 am on April 9, 1917. The Canadian assault on Vimy Ridge was part of the larger Battle of Arras which was mounted in northern France by the British in April 1917. At 5:30 am on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, the first wave of 15,000-20,000 Canadian infantrymen began their attack at Vimy. It was cold and muddy, with snow and sleet coming down, but our soldiers pushed up the hill behind a fierce Allied artillery barrage and within a few hours most of the ridge was in Canadian hands. By April 12, further Canadian actions had wiped out the remaining German strong points and the battle was over.