Province Contributes to Vimy Ridge Park Project
Victoria, B.C.- Next month will mark the 100th anniversary of the World War I victory at Vimy Ridge.
In honour of the Canadians and British Columbians involved in the victory at Vimy Ridge in 1917, Finance Minister Michael de Jong has the Province will contribute $350,000 to the Vimy Foundation to support the creation of a Centennial Park at the site of the battle.
This unique area will be comprised of 100 Vimy Oak trees symbolizing the centennial. These trees are direct descendants of acorns collected following the battle in April 1917 and will be planted in a circular pattern four deep to represent the four divisions of the Canadian Forces that fought together for the first time at the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Benches and reflective areas in full view of the famous monument will also be part of the park. Funding also will be provided to support participation by local cadets at the ceremony in France.
British Columbians supported the war effort in great numbers. Units from around the province were part of the victory, including:
* 2nd Battalion (Canadian Mounted Rifles) – recruited from Victoria and Vernon;
* 29th Battalion (Vancouver) – recruited from Vancouver and New Westminster;
* 102nd Battalion (Northern British Columbia) – recruited from Northern B.C. and Comox; and
* 131st Battalion (Westminster) – recruited from New Westminster.
“The brave young men who fought on Vimy Ridge not only won a battle, but are also part of a legacy that has often been referred to as the birth of a nation” said de Jong “As Canadians we owe a debt of gratitude to the lives lost and affected by this valiant victory. British Columbia is proud to support the Vimy Foundation’s Centennial Park to help ensure the honour and memory of British Columbians and Canadians who fought on the ridge at Vimy will never be forgotten.”
Estimates suggest that 81 British Columbians lost their lives between April 1 and May 1, 1917. Of those, 47 soldiers are commemorated on the Vimy Memorial, 10 soldiers are buried at La Chaudière Military Cemetery, Vimy, and 21 soldiers are buried at Canadian Cemetery No. 2, Neuville-St. Vaast. British Columbia lost three nursing sisters who are buried in cemeteries tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
The current monument on the grounds welcomes approximately 700,000 visitors a year. The centennial anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge is taking place on April 9. The official commemorative ceremonies are taking place at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, organized by the Government of Canada (Veterans Affairs Canada) and an estimated 30,000 Canadians will be in attendance.