2021 Vimy Pilgrimage Award recipients

2 November 2021

The Vimy Foundation is proud to announce the recipients of the 2021 Vimy Pilgrimage Award, sponsored by Scotiabank. This award recognizes the actions of young people who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to volunteer work through positive contributions, notable deeds, or bravery that benefits their peers, school, community, province, or country.

The Vimy Pilgrimage Award consists of a fully funded educational program to study Canada’s tremendous First World War effort. The program, scheduled for November 8-12, 2021 features daily visits to important sites including memorials and museums and a series of conferences and discussions, as well as participation in Remembrance ceremonies. Exceptionally, this year, recipients will meet in Ottawa.

20 students were selected from across Canada. We are so thankful to everyone who applied and appreciate your dedication to community service and your interest in Canadian history.

Congratulations to this year’s winners:

Praneet Singh Arora – Surrey, British Columbia
Kevin Butchart – Vancouver, British Columbia
Vera Chen  – Fredericton, New Brunswick
Madeleina Daigneault  – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Jill Dobbin  –  Kindersley, Saskatchewan
Roshni Dwivedi – Edmonton, Alberta
Saara Hisham – Toronto, Ontario
Isla Hupé – Whitehorse, Yukon
Maya Huynh – Toronto, Ontario
Liam Jones – Lucky Lake, Saskatchewan
Kyah Kang –  Langley, British Columbia
Hyunjun Lee – Cochrane, Alberta
Enrique Mena – Barrie, Ontario
Nolan Muller – Oakville, Ontario
Sung Park – Regina, Saskatchewan
Manuel Sauvé Chevalier – Prévost, Québec
Melody Schmidt – Cambridge, Ontario
Heena Singla – Edmonton, Alberta
Jackson Taylor – Washington, D.C.
Sera Tulk – Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thank you to our lead sponsor Scotiabank for their generous support of the Vimy Pilgrimage Award. Scotiabank aims to support organizations that are committed to helping young people reach their infinite potential.

This program is also sponsored by Air Canada: The First World War is an important, strategic moment in Canadian history and Air Canada is proud to support our youth and tomorrow’s leaders by sponsoring the 2021 Vimy Pilgrimage Award, allowing 20 exceptional teenagers from across Canada to learn and remember.

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Vimy Foundation announces Stéphan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery Peace Circle at its Centennial Park, in France

22 June 2021, Montréal.


The Vimy Foundation is proud to announce that the visitors to the Centennial Park in Vimy, France, may enjoy the tranquility of the Stéphan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery Peace Circle as soon as next fall. The Stéphan Crétier Foundation recently confirmed the funding of this new landscape development.


The Stéphan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery Peace Circle will be situated at the heart of the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park. It will embody both core missions of the Park; creating a reflective space for remembrance of those Canadians who served and were killed at Vimy Ridge (and other sites during the First World War), and as a symbol of Peace and Reconciliation.


‘The Foundation has excellent partners in Mr. Crétier, Mrs. Maillery and the Stéphan Crétier Foundation. They have been important contributors to our efforts to build the Vimy Visitors Education Centre at the Vimy Monument in 2017 and we are extremely pleased to be able to continue to support their vision of peace and dialogue within the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park.’

– Christopher Sweeney, Chair, Board of Directors, The Vimy Foundation


‘The sacrifice that Canadian soldiers made at Vimy in 1917 was certainly not in vain; their decisive victory greatly contributed to Canada being recognized on the world stage and marked a turning point in the development of our national identity. It is a privilege for us to support the Vimy Foundation in preserving the memories of our troops, and promoting peace and harmony for future generations.’

– Stéphan Crétier & Stéphany Maillery


Visitors to the Park will be able to use the seating area to view the National Canadian Vimy Memorial, within a grove of oak trees, and contemplate the cost of the war and the peace that is now part of the experience of the Vimy site.


About the Stéphan Crétier Foundation

The Stéphan Crétier Foundation is a Canadian charitable organization established in 2006 by Stéphan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery. Global citizens residing in Dubai since 2010, Mr. Crétier and Ms. Maillery have not forgotten their Canadian roots. The Foundation’s mission is to give back to the community by supporting various Canadian not-for-profit organizations. Furthermore, the Foundation operates the Bolo Program, an innovative and results-driven project focusing on public safety awareness as well as the public’s assistance in locating Canada’s most wanted fugitives. Stéphan Crétier is the Founder, Chairman, President and CEO of GardaWorld, one of the world’s leading private security corporations, with over 122,000 dedicated professionals active in 45 countries. For more information, visit: https://fondationcretier.org/en/


Read our complete PDF press release here.


The Vimy Foundation Centennial Park, Vimy, France.

The Vimy Foundation receives funding from Veterans Affairs Canada for a new digital project

We are very happy to announce that Veterans Affairs Canada confirmed, on March 30th, funding of $400,000 over three years for our new digital initiative, ‘Vimy: A Living Memorial’, developed in partnership with several national partners, including the NFB. The project will be launched in April 2022, coinciding with the 105th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. 

Vimy: A Living Memorial is a bilingual and innovative project that uses digital media storytelling and platforms to bring the Vimy national historic site in France to all Canadians; online, onsite and to a worldwide audience. Read our news release here.


March 30th, 2021.

Hiring: Special Projects Co-ordinator

Download the PDF here.

2-year Contract

Deadline: 5 February 2021

Start: 1 March 2021

The Vimy Foundation, a nationally recognized Montreal based not-for-profit organization, is currently seeking a Special Projects Co-ordinator for a 2-year contract. Under the current pandemic conditions, the position is expected to be remote for the foreseeable future.

The Special Projects Co-ordinator is responsible for the coordination of two large scale projects running in 2021 and 2022, the creation of a multi-media product and app for the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France, and the management of ongoing construction in the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park at Vimy, France. Working under the Executive Director, the Special Projects Coordinator:

  • Develops and ensures timelines and milestones are met,
  • Coordinates partners and maintains relationships with them,
  • Tracks budgets and manages payments in coordination with the Administrator,
  • Liaises with production, construction, and communications teams in English and French


The candidate for this position must be fluently bilingual (written, spoken) in both official languages and be comfortable working with a diverse, international team. Experience working in France or abroad in French is an asset. Additionally, the candidate must:

  • Possess demonstrable experience in project co-ordination
  • Demonstrate ability to manage and follow a budget
  • Work independently and with minimal supervision

Post-secondary degree an asset but not required

Salary: 50-55k (CA$) per year for the contract duration, depending on experience, full benefits offered for the same (pending approval from carrier)


The Vimy Foundation

The Vimy Foundation is a registered charity founded in 2006. The Foundation works to preserve and promote Canada’s ongoing legacy of leadership as symbolised by the First World War victory at Vimy Ridge in April 1917, a milestone where Canada came of age and was recognised on the world stage. To learn more, visit www.vimyfoundation.ca

The Foundation is committed to equity in its policies, practices, and programs. We support diversity in our work environment and ensure that applications from members of underrepresented groups are seriously considered under the employment equity policy. All qualified individuals are encouraged to apply.

Please submit a resume and cover letter to vimy@vimyfoundation.ca by 11:59PM EDT on February 5th. We thank all candidates for their interest, but only those selected for interviews will be contacted.

History of the Monument

After the war, Canadians wanted a physical symbol of their mourning – a tangible expression of remembrance. Public opinion and veterans’ organizations pressured Canada’s postwar governments into marking soldiers’ sacrifices. While various monuments and memorials were erected in Canada, the Canadian Battlefields Memorials Commission was set up in 1920 by the Canadian government to decide how to properly commemorate the fallen Canadian soldiers of the Great War, and to decide what to do with the eight sites in Europe granted to Canada by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

After a public design competition with over 160 submissions, the Commission selected two designs: one from Walter Allward and another from Frederick Chapman Clemesha. But the debates continued on about whereabouts the national war memorial should be placed. In 1922, after presenting their arguments to Prime Minister Mackenzie King, the Commission placed their support behind Walter Allward’s design being located at Vimy Ridge. After some negotiations, the land around Vimy Ridge was gifted to Canada by the French government in December 1922 as a mark of gratitude for Canada’s involvement in the defense of France during the First World War.

(The second design chosen, the “Brooding Soldier,” was erected in Belgium near Ypres as a tribute to those Canadian who died in the first gas attacks of the war. Unveiled in 1923, it is widely considered another of the most striking memorials of the Western Front.)

Littered with unexploded shells and grenades, rusted weapons and wire, 100,000 yards of earth had to be removed by hand to prepare for the monument’s base. Other relics of the war, the dugouts and tunnels, (when discovered), had to be emptied of the explosive munitions that were often stored within, and filled with wet chalk or concrete. Finding these underground caverns hidden beneath the monument’s base was crucial, for in total, the memorial would weigh more than 50,000 tons.

The stone for the memorial is limestone from an ancient Roman quarry in Seget, Croatia. Allward chose this stone because he wanted white marble, but was worried about its durability in the conditions of Northern France. When he saw that Diocletian’s Palace in Split, Croatia, was still standing and still beautiful, he decided to use the same stone.

Construction of Vimy Memorial Allward with blocks ready to be carved with female recumbent figure.
Canada. Dept. of Veterans Affairs / Library and Archives Canada/ e002852543 (modified from the original). Provided by The Vimy Foundation.

Due to the difficulty of quarrying such large slabs of stone, as well as its extensive shipping route, the first shipment of Allward’s selected Seget limestone did not arrive in France until 1927. In an effort to keep his workers busy, many of whom were French and British veterans, Canadian military engineer Major Unwin Simson decided to preserve a section of trench lines that had been slowly deteriorating since 1918. Workers reinforced the German and Canadian lines near the Grange crater group by filling sandbags with concrete and re-lining the dugout walls. A portion of the Grange Subway was also excavated, a concrete entrance poured, and electrical lighting installed. The opportunity to experience these preserved trenches and tunnel systems at the Vimy Memorial today can be largely attributed to Major Simson’s efforts.

Construction began in 1925, took 11 years to build and cost 1.5 million dollars.

The monument sits on the highest point of the ridge, known during the battle as Hill 145.

The two tall columns represent Canada and France, and the friendship between them. The pillars together and the horizontal base also form the top half of a cross. The monument includes 20 allegorical figures representing such values as honour, justice and peace. The two highest figures are Justice and Peace. One female figure, who stands alone looking out over the slopes of the ridge, is known as “Canada Mourning Her Fallen Sons” or “Canada Bereft”. She is carved from a single, 30 tonne block of stone. The base of the monument is engraved with the 11,285 names of Canadians who have no known grave in France.

Its design, consistent with First World War commemoration in general, was a significant departure from previous war monuments. As Jacqueline Hucker and Julian Smith note in Vimy: Canada’s Memorial to a Generation, “the major structures were erected as memorials rather than victory monuments and brought into focus the loss of life and sacrifice for one’s country, rather than military accomplishments. Some also made reference to the suffering of those left to grieve in the melancholy post-war years.” (p.25)

On 26 July 1936, the Vimy Memorial was ready for its unveiling. The Vimy Pilgrims arrived on the site early in the day, taking time to explore the battlefield that Will R. Bird had told them of in 1931, especially the tunnels and trenches fortuitously preserved by Major Unwin Simson of the Canadian Engineers. As the official ceremonies began, the Pilgrims fell in to ranks as though on parade. Crowded around the Vimy Memorial were more than 100,000 people. While King Edward VIII mingled through the crowds of veterans, British and French Air Force Squadrons flew low over the monument, dipping their wings in salute.

The King delivered a brief speech in both English and French, before pulling the drawstring on the Union Jack that cloaked the Canada Bereft figure, officially unveiling the Vimy Memorial. The Last Post was sounded, followed by two minutes silence, ended by the sounding of Reveille. In the valley leading to the Douai Plain, artillery cracked a 21-gun salute that reverberated across the old battlefield. Following along back home, the entire ceremony was broadcast live to Canada by the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission. Follow this link to hear King Edward VIII’s speech: http://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/1936-vimy-ridge-memorial-unveiled

The original Vimy Pilgrimage was supported by the government, which waved passport fees and even issued special Vimy Pilgrimage passports. The Canadian Legion also coordinated the lodging and transportation for the pilgrims. The whole trip cost $160 per person at the time, the equivalent of nearly $3,000 today.

In 1940, when France was occupied by the Nazis, Adolf Hitler visited the site. Despite fears that it would be destroyed, the occupying forces did not harm the memorial.

In the early 2000s in advance of the 90th anniversary of the battle, the memorial underwent extensive restoration work, and the restored site was unveiled in 2007 by Queen Elizabeth II. The memorial was the site of the centenary commemorations of the battle in April 2017. микрокредит

Walter Allward, Architect

Walter Seymour Allward was born in Toronto on 18 November 1876. He is best known for his work designing and sculpting the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

While a teenager studying at Central Technical School in Toronto, he trained as a carpenter under his father, and eventually began an apprenticeship at the architectural firm Gibson and Simpson. At age nineteen, Allward started working at the Don Valley Brick Works, sculpting with terracotta.

Allward’s early work focused on war memorials. His first commission was a monument to the North-West Rebellion, and other commissions followed for memorials to the War of 1812 and the South African War. He also worked on busts of Canadian historical personalities, including John Graves Simcoe and William Lyon Mackenzie. Other famous works by Allward include the Bell Telephone Memorial in Brantford, and the South African War Memorial in Toronto.

After drafting 150 design sketches, Allward submitted his proposal for the monument to the fallen Canadians of the Great War to the design competition run by the Canadian Battlefields Memorials Commission. In 1921, his design was selected from among 160 submissions, and shortly thereafter it was decided by the Commission that his design would be built at Vimy Ridge. Allward set up a studio in London in 1922, which he used as a base while he travelled Europe in search of a suitable material for the monument. He eventually selected Seget limestone, the same stone that was used to build Diocletian’s Palace in what is now Croatia.

With the stone chosen, Allward returned to London, where he created life-sized plaster models. The models were then sent to Vimy, where they were copied in the limestone by the professional carvers working at the site. Allward visited Vimy multiple times over the following years to oversee construction. The building process of the monument took much longer than expected due to the prolonged search for the perfect stone, the transportation of that stone from to Northern France, the necessity of creating a massive concrete and steel base, and the complexity of the design. Finally, fifteen years after work on the monument began, it was officially unveiled on 26 July 1936 by King Edward VIII.

Prior to his work on the Vimy Monument, Allward was widely recognized as a master sculptor across Canada. In 1900, he was elected to the Ontario Society of Artists, and he joined the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts three years later. The year his monument at Vimy was unveiled, Allward became an Honourary Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, and in 1938 his work on the Vimy Memorial was recognized in a Parliamentary session by Prime Minister Mackenzie King. He was made a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1944.

Allward also appears as a character in the novel “The Stone Carvers” by Canadian author Jane Urquhart.

Walter Seymour Allward died in Toronto on 24 April 1955, aged 78. микрозаймы

Visiting The Canadian National Vimy Memorial

The Canadian National Vimy Memorial site is managed by the Government of Canada through Veterans Affairs. The Vimy Ridge National Historic Site Site is located about 10 km north of Arras, 15 km south of Lens, 135 km southeast of Calais, and 175 km north of Paris.

For information on guided tours, operating hours, special events, and travel information to reach Vimy, please visit Veterans Affairs Canada


Post-secondary students in Canada are hired to work at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial and Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial. Find out more here: https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/information-for/students/student-guide-program-in-france кредит


When you look at old black and white photos, the past seems very far away. This is especially apparent with First World War photographs. And yet in the course of time, it was only yesterday.

The Vimy Foundation, with the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage and the R. Howard Webster Foundation is launching a unique and innovative project to colourize images of the First World War, a project aimed at re-engaging young Canadians in a defining moment in our history.

The images featured within this project will not only highlight the important battles in Canada’s history, but also life on the home front, wartime industries, the contributions of women, and advances in medical and communications technologies.

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The First World War was a transformative experience for Canada and while the memory of the conflict and its impacts on our collective consciousness are slowly vanishing, these photos capture our attention. They provide us with a clearer understanding of what the First World War would have looked like to the people who lived it.

The First World War in Colour project will consist of colourizing 150 images from Library and Archives Canada as well as local archives from across the country. These photographs will help commemorate both the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War and the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation.

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An original short film produced by the NFB in partnership with the Vimy Foundation

The Vimy Foundation is incredibly excited to have partnered with the National Film Board of Canada on an original short film featuring colourized First World War footage. The film, premiering early November 2017, will be the first time the NFB produces a film featuring colourized footage from their own archives!

We hope that Return to Vimy will resonate with all Canadians, especially youth, and help them better understand what the First World War may have looked like to the people who lived it. The film is an emotional journey back in time that we hope helps re-engage Canadians on their country’s First World War legacy.

To watch the full film click more button below.

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