The 2016 Vimy Reception

Over 200 government officials, business leaders, military personnel, and students attended the sixth annual Vimy Reception at the stunning Embassy of France on April 20th. Thank you to our host, his Excellence Nicolas Chapuis, Ambassador of France to Canada, and to our guest speakers: the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence; and Kiana Gibson, 2016 Vimy Pilgrimage Award winner.

With only one year until the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Canada’s defining moment of the First World War, thank you to all who joined us for helping to celebrate not only Canada’s legacy of leadership, innovation, and teamwork, but also the cultural heritage of the beautiful monument itself.

Website banner photos-Ottawa2016

At the Vimy Foundation we are dedicated to creating opportunities for Canadians to learn about our First World War legacy, as symbolized with the victory at Vimy in April 1917. That’s why we develop education programs and awareness building campaigns to help youth learn more about the sacrifices made by an entire generation 100 years ago – a time when Canada came of age and was recognized on the world stage.

“I don’t think I will ever forget the chills I got when I ran my hand across a few of the 11,285 of names on the Vimy memorial, or the incredible sense of pride I felt to be singing the national anthem alongside hundreds of other Canadians in France.”   – Kiana Gibson, 2016 Vimy Pilgrimage Award winner.

Thank you to our generous sponsors of the 2016 Vimy Reception:



Silver Sponsor EN

Photos of the event can be found in this album on our Facebook page.

Thank you to our 2016 Vimy Reception Committee:

Bruce Burrows (Chair) • Jeremy Diamond • Tom Clark • Michael Chong • David Houghton • Gilles LeVasseur
Louise Mercier • Sean Murray • Mark O’Neil • David Pratt • Tina Sarellas • Jayne Watson


The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau at NYU

On April 21, 2016, The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau spoke with New York University, and included remarks about the upcoming Vimy centennial in 2017.

At minute 34:08:

“…Canada had a history of stepping up. In the trenches of World War One, and the beaches of World War Two, Canadians fought like lions. In theatres far from their homes, that wasn’t directly of danger to Canada, Canadian young men, mostly, from communities across the country, stepped up and gave their lives for peace and for values in faraway conflicts. And that shaped the country.

Next year, as many of you know, we’re going to be celebrating our 150th anniversary since Confederation, which is a great thing. And many of you who aren’t Canadians, I encourage you to come up and visit Canada, because it’s a wonderful place and next year will be a wonderful time to be there. But at the same time, a lot of us have the reflection that it will also be the 100th anniversary next year, of the moment where for many, Canada actually became a nation in its own identity, at a place called Vimy Ridge. Where Canadian soldiers, for the first time in World War One, were brought together as a single group, with all the diversity (which was less then than it is now), but still significant diversity of English and French, indigenous and others, coming together and won that battle, through tremendous sacrifice but also tremendous valour, as Canadians. And that was a moment that was foundational for us.”

Watch the clip (skip to 34:08 to hear the above remarks):
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Announcing our 2016 Beaverbrook Vimy Prize recipients!

Congratulations to this year’s participants in the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize! These students – from Canada, England, and France – will be travelling throughout Europe in August 2016, to learn more about the intertwined h of our three countries during the First and Second World Wars.

Sabrina Asghar – Northwood, Middlesex, England
Charles Baron – Scy-Chazelles, Lorraine, France
Graham Devitt – St. Catharines, Ontario
Hannah Hardy – Albany, Prince Edward Island
Jane Harkness – Virden, Manitoba
Adam LaBrash – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Owen Martin – St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
Zoe McDaniel – Brook Village, Nova Scotia
Emily Oakes – Guelph, Ontario
Roseline Page – St-Leonard d’Aston, Quebec
Merren Russell – Halifax, Nova Scotia
Abby Vadeboncoeur – Emerald Park, Saskatchewan
Sarah Verreault – London, Ontario
Andrew Yin – Richmond Hill, Ontario
Haleh Zabihi – St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
Hamza Zarglayoun – Montreal, Quebec

There were so many amazing applications that once again our task was extremely difficult, and we thank all who applied.

Thank you to the Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation for their ongoing support of this prestigious program.

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Marking 99 years since the Battle of Vimy Ridge

From Veterans Affairs Canada:

Today, at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in Vimy, France, Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces members, international military representatives, dignitaries, Canadian and French citizens, and youth gathered to solemnly remember and honour the supreme effort and sacrifices of the Canadian soldiers who went into battle at Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917.

Extensive preparation and planning were key to victory at the Battle of Vimy Ridge, where, for the first time, all four divisions of the Canadian Corps courageously worked together as one formation. Their triumph at Vimy and in the battles that followed contributed to a new and stronger sense of national identity, both for Canadians and on the international stage, earning Canada a separate signature on the Treaty of Versailles that officially ended the First World War.

At a reception following the ceremony, visitors and local dignitaries learned more about a new Visitor Education Centre currently being constructed at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. The product of a Government of Canada partnership with the Vimy Foundation, the Centre will provide visitors to the national historic site with comprehensive and meaningful information about Canada’s contribution to the First World War, including the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The Centre is scheduled to open in April 2017.

Quick Facts

  • On April 3, 2003, the Government of Canada designated April 9th of each year as a national day of remembrance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
  • Vimy Ridge is located in northern France, about 175 kilometres north of Paris.
  • Victory at the Battle of Vimy Ridge came at great cost. Of the some 100,000 members of the Canadian Corps who served in the battle, some 3,600 lost their lives and over 7,000 more were wounded.
  • The Visitor Education Centre at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial will open in April 2017 as part of events to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada.


“The Government of Canada remains committed to ensuring that the valiant sacrifices of Canadians at Vimy are remembered for generations to come.”

The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Canadian Ambassador to France

“We have a responsibility to remember and honour Canada’s fallen of the First World War on Vimy Ridge Day, and on all days. It was their commitment and sacrifice which helped give life to our identity as a nation. I am pleased that the Visitor Education Centre at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial will help showcase this defining moment in Canadian history. Through remembrance and education, we will keep this memory alive”

The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

“The Vimy Foundation is proud to be a partner of the Government of Canada on this exciting project to build the Visitor Education Centre. This Centre is much needed and will help provide the necessary historical context for what visitors, especially youth, see throughout the Vimy site. We look forward to officially opening the Centre in conjunction with Vimy Centennial commemorative activities in April 2017.”

Jeremy Diamond, Executive Director, The Vimy Foundation

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Winners of the Vimy Oaks Poetry Contest

For Immediate Release

In preparation for the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, April 9, 2017, the Vimy Oaks Team, in partnership with The Vimy Foundation, invited Canadians to submit a poem to evoke the meaning of the repatriation of the Vimy Oaks to France.

Canadians coast to coast answered the call. Poets and Poet Laureates from British Columbia to the Maritimes wrote heart‐felt poems expressing the thoughts and feelings of Canadians toward the bravery and sacrifice of our soldiers. For many, their poem was a personal tribute to a father, grandfather, uncle… or to a more recent fallen soldier.

Their poems communicate the belief that the soldiers’ spirits will live on through the planting of the Vimy Oaks and that each tree will be a silent requiem for the past and a symbol of Canadians’ commitment to still stand on guard in the future.

The selection process was not easy because the quality of the submissions was superb. The contribution of one soldier in particular made the task very poignant.
Mr. Gordon Lane (London, Ontario) submitted his father’s First World War poems which had only recently been rediscovered. Andrew Lane was a Gunner with the 43rd Battery Canadian Field Artillery. The unit was commissioned in 1916 by Lt. Col. David McCrae, John McCrae’s father. Gunner Lane’s poems written in 1917‐1918, provide us with a contemporary soldier’s thoughts and emotions.
On the other hand, our modern poet, Tony Peneff from Chilliwack, B.C., articulates the meaning of our 2017 commemoration.

Separated by 100 years of history, these two Canadian poets share a quiet and eloquent passion.

Please read both poems and share them with others.
“Here On The Top Of Vimy Ridge I Stand”– Andrew Lane, 1917

“Vimy Oaks – Windbreak” – Tony Peneff, 2016

Congratulations Tony Peneff ‐‐ and, thank you Andrew and Gordon Lane!

We would like to thank our Poet Laureates:
George E. Clarke, 7th Parliamentary P.L. Penn Kemp, London, ON Anne Michaels, Toronto, ON
Candice James, New Westminster, B.C. Judith Krause, Regina, SK Bruce Meyer, Barrie, ON
Deirdre Kessler, Charlottetown, PEI Derek Beaulieu, Calgary, AB Thomas Leduc, Sudbury, ON
Yvonne Blomer, Victoria, B.C.

We would like to also thank and congratulate the other Poets:
Laura Cannon‐Sherlock, Flesherton, ON Sylvia Taekema, Chatham, ON Robyn Licaa, Hudson, PQ
Lynn Hilborn, Grafton, ON Jennifer Footman, Caledon, ON Khrys Dumyn, Toronto, ON
James Dyer, Cambridge, ON Katheryn Bezaire, Windsor, ON Hillery Bourne, Toronto, ON
Douglas Sinclair, Toronto, ON John Wiznuk, Mississauga, ON Andrea Coli, Calgary, AB
Connie Lee Fehr, Kingsville, ON Michael Shain, Little Current, ON

Click here to read all the poems!

As well, the Vimy Oaks Team would like to thank Ms. Margaret Atwood for the professional advice she shared.

For more information:
Patricia Sinclair
Vimy Oaks Project Coordinator
Tele: 416‐498‐8199 займ без отказа

New Poll Shows Most Canadians (83%) Feel Vimy Centennial should be Key Celebration of Canada 150 Celebration

Toronto, ON – April 8 – The year 2017 marks two key milestones for Canada: the 150th anniversary of confederation, and the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. According to a new Ipsos poll conducted for the Vimy Foundation, most (83%) agree “the 100th anniversary of Vimy, falling as it does in 2017, the 150th anniversary of the birth of Canada, should be one of the most important celebrations for Canada that year”. Agreement is up 9 points since last year.

However, less encouraging was that when presented with a photo of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France, just one in ten (12%) Canadians correctly identified it. A large majority – Three quarters (74%)  – of Canadians didn’t know and didn’t venture a guess.

At one-year countdown to the Vimy Centennial, the poll found that two in three (65%) Canadians agree that one day they would “like to visit the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France”, with younger adults aged 18 to 34 (68%) as the most inclined to agree.

In fact, one in twenty (5%) Canadians say that they or someone in their family is planning to travel to France in 2017 for the centennial observances of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the unveiling of the new Vimy Education Centre.

In 2012, the new $20 banknote was unveiled, which includes the image of the Vimy Monument. A majority (52%) supports changing the name of $20 to a “Vimy” help commemorate the battle’s centennial in 2017, up 1 point since last year. Fewer than half (48%) of Canadians disagree (18% strongly/30% somewhat) with this position, down 1 point.

Among a list of five possibilities, three in ten (28%) correctly identified that 2017 marks the centenary (100th anniversary) of the Battle of Vimy Ridge while only two in ten (16%) believe that 2017 marks the end of the First World War, while one in ten (10%) think it’s the centenary of Canada’s confederation. Others say it’s the 100th anniversary of the Normandy Landings (4%) or the Battle of Dieppe (3%), both of which were pivotal moments of the Second World War.

The results suggest that Canadians’ knowledge of key events in its history appears to be waning, despite the belief among most (87% agree – 50% strongly/37% somewhat) that it’s just as relevant for students today to learn about the First World War in school as it was for their generation.

Historians and political leaders have argued that Canada became a nation at Vimy Ridge. The Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge, the first time all four divisions of the Canadian Corps worked together as one formation, also gave Canadians a reputation for breaking through the centre of German defence. Given the significance of this moment in Canadian history, six in ten (61%) agree that “Canada became a nation at Vimy Ridge”, while four in ten (39%) disagree .

Other results….

  • A strong majority (66%) of Canadians agree (27% strongly/40% somewhat) that “Canada does not do enough to honour its veterans”, up 3 points since 2012,
  • Those older than 55 are most likely (77%) to believe that Canada does not do enough, followed by those who are 35 to 54 (63%) or 18-34 (57%).
  • Canadians are more split on whether other countries do more than Canada to honour their veterans: 56% agree that other countries do more to honour their veterans than Canada does, up 1 point.


For more information

Jennifer Blake
416.595.1917×2 (office)


Click here to download the factum from Ipsos Reid.


Annual Toronto Garrison Officers’ Ball to support the Vimy Foundation


For Immediate Release

Annual Toronto Garrison Officers’ Ball to support the Vimy Foundation

Margaret Atwood and others to mark official 1 year countdown to Vimy Centennial

TORONTO – April 2, 2016 – More than 1000 military personnel, business leaders, elected officials, celebrities and students will gather tonight at the Allstream Centre for the Toronto Garrison Officers’ Ball in support of the Vimy Foundation, presented by Bell. The proceeds of the dinner are in support of the Vimy Visitor Education Centre and Charities of 32 Signal Regiment Association.

This year, the Toronto Garrison Officers’ Ball is being hosted by 32 Signal Regiment. With a noble history dating back to the founding of the unit in 1907, 32 Signal Regiment traces its legacy to the earliest days of signalling in the Canadian Militia. A leading Reserve Force Communications Unit, they served as part of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division in the Canadian Expeditionary Force from 1915 – 1918. With only one year until the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Canada’s defining moment of the First World War, supporters will be on hand to help celebrate Canada’s military history and announce plans for the centennial commemorations set for 2017.

“It is an honour to partner with the Vimy Foundation on this annual event as both of our organizations are committed to sharing the story of Canada’s history and celebrating our military accomplishments,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Dan Bergeron, Commanding Officer, 32 Signal Regiment.

“We are thrilled that Canadians continue to embrace the Vimy Foundation’s education and awareness programs. This event is no ordinary fundraiser. It will ensure that the Vimy legacy of national unity, sacrifice, innovation, and victory are never lost,” said Jeremy Diamond, Executive Director of the Vimy Foundation.

Master of Ceremonies Kevin Newman will be joined by other special guests including Lieutenant-General Guy Thibault, Vice Chief of Defence Staff and Guest of Honour, General Rick Hillier, Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada, Margaret Atwood, General Richard Rohmer, Consuls General of France and the United States, Helen Vari, Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur of France, as well as currently serving members of the Canadian Forces, who will help celebrate the work of the Vimy Foundation and unveil architectural renderings for the new Vimy Visitor Education Centre, which will open in Vimy, France in 2017.

Those attending will be able to see a wide range of communications equipment and First World War vehicles on display, thanks to presenting sponsor Bell and Veterans Affairs Canada.

At Vimy Ridge, 99 years ago, 100,000 Canadians soldiers gathered for the first time as a united fighting force. Commanded in part by Canadian officers, they achieved the unachievable and took one of the most heavily defended German 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.

The Vimy Foundation is a registered charity founded in 2006. The mission of the Vimy Foundation is to preserve and promote Canada’s First World War legacy as symbolized with the victory of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917 – a milestone when Canada earned its place on the world stage. To learn more, visit


Event Details

Toronto Garrison Officers’ Ball in support of the Vimy Foundation
Saturday April 2, 2016
Allstream Centre – 105 Princes’ Blvd, Toronto
VIP Reception – 5:30pm
General Reception – 6:00pm
Main Program – 6:40pm

Honorary Chair
General (Ret’d) Rick Hillier, OC, ONL, CMM, MSC, CD

Gala Co-Chairs
Honorary Colonel (Ret’d) Sally Horsfall Eaton, SSStJ, CD, RN, LL.D
Honorary Colonel Blake Goldring, MSM, LL.D
Lieutenant-General Richard Rohmer,OC, CMM, DFC, KStJ, CD, OfL, QC, BA, LL.B, JD, LL.D, DScMil, Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur

Chair, 32 Signal Regimental Advisory Council
Honorary Colonel Jim Leech, CM

Chair, Vimy Foundation
Christopher Sweeney, LL.B, M.A.

For media inquiries:
Jennifer Blake
Communications Coordinator
416.595.1917 x2 (office)
647.504.2220 (cell)


Thank you to our sponsors of this event!

Title Sponsor
Bell Logo Black


Dinner Book Sponsor

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VIP Sponsor 

Clairvest Group Inc


Auction Sponsor



Silver Sponsors




Print Sponsor


Media Sponsor



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