Since 2003, Vimy Ridge Day has been observed on April 9 in Canada to honor and commemorate the Battle of Vimy Ridge, which took place during the First World War at Vimy Ridge, France, in 1917. The Canadian flag on Parliament Hill’s Peace Tower in Ottawa is required to be lowered to half-mast by law. Wreath-laying ceremonies are held at the Canadian National War Memorial in Ottawa, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France, and other locations around the country.
History of Vimy Ridge Day
The Victory of Vimy Ridge Battle was considered a historic moment in the country’s history. The victory was not easy to attain, as years of failed attempts, strategic planning, and preparation to regain Vimy Ridge were endured. The Ridge was under Germany’s control since 1914. Since then, around 150,000 British and French soldiers were sacrificed in the attempt to retake the ridge. The Germans secured their position with machine gun fires, barbed wires, and deep bunkers, making it difficult for any country to take over. Because of their remarkable achievements, Canadian troops gained a reputation as formidable and effective troops. However, the victory came at a horrific price, with over 10,000 people either murdered or wounded.
In April 1917, the Canadian Corps was given the order to seize Vimy Ridge. The heavily constructed seven-kilometer ridge in northern France provided a superb view of the Allied lines. Because earlier French attacks had failed with over 100,000 dead, the Canadians would be attacking over an open graveyard. Canadian and British artillery blasted German positions on the ridge before a week to the battle, killing and torturing defenders. With almost 1,000 artillery pieces putting down withering, supporting fire, the Canadian soldiers would be strongly backed when they went into the fight.
The four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought bravely together for the first time during the Vimy Ridge Battle. Around 15,000 soldiers initiated the battle at 5:30 a.m. on April 9, 1917, marching under a slow-moving bombardment of almost 1000 heavy guns. Most objectives were met on time, and by afternoon, most of the ridge had been taken, except for ‘The Pimple’, a high position on the ridge’s north end, where defenders held out until April 12. By the 12th of April, the Canadians had captured all of their objectives as well as 4,000 prisoners. Vimy Ridge was captured by the Canadians. During the four-day combat, 3,598 Canadians died and 7,000 were injured, making this victory a costly one.
Vimy Ridge Day timeline
The Germans gain control of Vimy Ridge at the beginning of World War I.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge begins in the early morning at 5:30 a.m on April 9.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge comes to an end on April 12 with a victory for the Canadian Corps.
The Canadian Corps defeats the last German defensive lines with the Vimy tactics on November 1.
Vimy Ridge Day FAQs
What did the Battle of Vimy Ridge reveal?
The triumph of the Canadians at Vimy Ridge revealed that no position was unconquerable to a well-planned and executed attack. This victory had a significant impact on allied planning.
How many lives were lost at Vimy Ridge?
The enormous victory came at a high cost of 3,598 Canadian lives and approximately 7,000 wounded Canadian soldiers.
Does Canada own Vimy Ridge?
Even though the ridge is located in France, it has belonged to Canada as a Canadian National historic site since 1997.
How to Observe Vimy Ridge Day
Wear a Vimy pin
Canadian people commemorate this day by wearing Vimy pins. The Vimy pin should be worn on the left-hand side of the lapel buttonhole position.
Share your story
On this commemoration day, we could share our knowledge and stories we heard about the battle and stories with others. Take this opportunity and spread your knowledge about the battle!
The Late Soldiers can be honored by wreath-laying ceremonies. Community members, Veterans, and the public lay wreaths at the National War Memorial to pay their respects.
5 Amazing Facts About The Battle Of Vimy Ridge
Land for memorial
The French government awarded the people of Canada perpetual use of the land for the battlefield park that houses the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in 1922.
Walter Seymour Allward, a Canadian artist and architect, constructed the Vimy memorial — he once told a group of friends that the design's form came to him in a dream.
The great endeavor
On July 26, 1936, it was dedicated by King Edward VIII, in the presence of President Albert Lebrun of France and 50,000 or more Canadian and French soldiers and their families, after an eleven-year construction period costing $1.5 million.
A historic site
Sheila Copps, then Minister of Canadian Heritage, recognized the Canadian National Vimy Memorial as a Canadian National Historic Site on April 10, 1997.
Standing tall on the hill
The National Vimy Memorial overlooks the 1917 battlefield in Canada and is located on Hill 145.
Why Vimy Ridge Day is Important
It honors bravery
Although many lives were lost in the battle, it still stands as an important historic moment in the history of Canadian Bravery. It is celebrated as a remembrance of the bravery of the soldiers.
The winning tactics
The Canadian Corps went through a lot of training before the battle. The tactics framed by the corps were so clever that they helped win other battles also.
It celebrates unity
All four Canadian corps fought together in this battle as an alias of the British to regain Vimy Ridge. This celebrates unity!
Vimy Ridge Day dates