EWC's Media contacts
Vimy: the birthplace of Canadian nationhood – Encounters with Canada participants learn about their common heritage
From April 4 to 10, 2010, over 130 young Canadians, aged 14 to 17, from every corner of the country, travelled to Ottawa to recognize this great achievement in Canadian history, and to learn more about the significance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge to Canadian identity. Vimy: Canada's Coming of Age, is Encounters with Canada’s newest themed week, launched for the first time this spring 2010, in conjunction with the Vimy Foundation.
This jam-packed week included a tour of Parliament Hill, a creeping barrage re-enactment (the military manoeuvre and innovation that enabled the victory at Vimy), and research on WWI soldiers at the Library and Archives of Canada. The week culminated in our participants’ participation at the national commemorative ceremony on Vimy Ridge Day, April 9, at the National War Memorial. The Government of Canada also marked the occasion by honouring the last known World War I veteran, John Babcock, who died at age 109 last February, as well as all those who served Canada during the Great War.
Among those in attendance at this ceremony were Governor General Michaëlle Jean and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, along with some 20,000 Canadians assembled for the occasion. Encounters with Canada participants had the honour of representing the youth of our nation. They not only had front-row seats to witness the magnitude of this event, but played a prominent role. Two of our participants read the Commitment to Remember in both official languages; two others received the passing of the torch from veterans and a group of 13, representing each province and territory, placed poppies on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The event drew much media attention and our participants were in great demand to explain the significance of this event to all young Canadians. Thus, in the span of their week at Encounters, our participants had the opportunity to share in this important historical moment, celebrate the end of an era in Canada’s military history, appear on national television, make new friends from across the country and bring home memories of a lifetime.