The Vimy Foundation to Bring First World War to Life with Unique Project

The Vimy Foundation to Bring First World War to Life with Unique Project

Initiative to colourize First World War images first of its kind in Canada

November 7 – Toronto – Today, in honour of Remembrance Week and with the help of funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Vimy Foundation is launching a unique and innovative project to colourize rarely seen images of the First World War, a project aimed at reengaging young Canadians on defining moments in our history.

The First World War in Colour Education Program will consist of colourizing 150 images from Library and Archives Canada and other sources, and video archives from the National Film Board of Canada (NFB); youth workshops across Canada; a travelling photo gallery to be hosted by museums and galleries; and a new book (and e-book) published by Dundurn Press. 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.

This project is made possible thanks to support from the Government of Canada. The Vimy Foundation is receiving $404,000 over two years from the Celebration and Commemoration Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage for this project.

“Thanks to this initiative, the youth of Canada will be able to better connect with the soldiers, nurses and citizens who sacrificed everything during the First World War.  The Vimy Foundation continues to be an important and valuable partner in educating Canadians about not just the Battle of Vimy Ridge, but also of the First World War.  Commemorations such as these, and the upcoming 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge next year, honour the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.”
—The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“We are thrilled to work with Canadian Heritage to bring this program to Canadians across the country. These colourized images will help bridge the gap between Canadians today and those that contributed to the war effort one hundred years ago. The Battle of Vimy Ridge has remained such a key part of our collective understanding as a country not only because it was a military victory, but because many of the core Canadian values were a contributing factor to its success: leadership, innovation, and teamwork. The First World War in Colour Education Program will highlight the legacy of the war for Canadians today.”
—  Jeremy Diamond, Executive Director, The Vimy Foundation

“Since 1939, the NFB has chronicled the enormous contributions and sacrifices of Canadians during wartime, on the front lines and on the home front―a vital legacy that we’re committed to safeguarding for future generations, and sharing with all Canadians. We’re proud to stand alongside the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Vimy Foundation on this innovative program, one that will provide young Canadians with a deeper understanding of a pivotal moment in the history of their nation.”
― Claude Joli-Coeur, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada

“Today, most people are used to seeing photos in colour and black and white photos can seem distant and flat. Adding colour enables a whole new audience to become interested in these photos and the history behind them.”
—  Mark Truelove, Digital Colourist, Canadian Colour

Quick Facts

  • The products and activities that will feature the colourized images include educational material, a photo exhibition, workshops, book publication and a webpage.
  • The photo exhibit will visit small and large communities across Canada, and the educational material, which includes the colourized audiovisual archives from the National Film Board of Canada — will be distributed to schools across the country.
  • The project has the potential to reach 1 million Canadians.
  • Project partners include National Film Board of Canada (NFB), Library and Archives Canada, Postmedia, Dundurn Press Ltd.

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

Click here to view our First World War in Colour page!

Associated Links

First World War in Colour

World War Commemorations in Canada



For media inquiries:

Jennifer Blake
Communications Coordinator

416.595.1917 x2 (office)
647.504.2220 (cell)

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