Wednesday, April 5, 2017

World War Wednesdays: Vimy Ridge 100th Anniversary

A replica of the Canadian Vimy Ridge memorial carved from ice at Winterlude in Ottawa, February 2017
     As I'm sure you're all well aware, this upcoming Sunday, April 9 marks one hundred years since the start of the battle of Vimy Ridge, an iconic moment in Canadian history. As such, it has been one hundred years since Wallacetown's own Ellis Wellwood Sifton lost his young life on the ridge in a selfless act of bravery. In past years, we've looked at the battle in detail, explored the Ellis Sifton story, and reflected on past commemorations of the battle in Elgin County. This year being such a significant anniversary, I thought it would be better to encourage you all to experience, rather than read about, this centenary. I've put together a guide to commemoration events wherever I may have readers, and hope you'll all find the opportunity to participate in at least one.

Elgin County
A young Ellis Sifton at home with his dog, courtesy of Elgin County Archives
     The Elgin County Museum is hosting a special edition of its annual Vimy Lecture featuring local history buff Blair Ferguson at St. Peter's Anglican Church, Tyrconnell (where Ellis Sifton attended church), on Sunday at 11AM. Here is some further information:
General Sir Arthur Currie being knighted 
     The hometown of General Sir Arthur Currie is working on a wonderful project to commemorate the anniversary, which features the planting of an "honour guard" of one hundred maple trees on the east side of Adair Blvd as a living tribute to those who served. The ceremony is scheduled for Sunday beginning at 11AM with the tree planting event on April 22 at 8AM. More details:

     Local history buffs in Chatham-Kent have organized an anniversary ceremony to be held on Sunday at Christ Church, beginning at 2PM. Details:

     An evening of remembrance and overnight vigil will be held at the National War Memorial on Saturday, April 8 starting at 7PM, followed by the official government ceremony also at the memorial on Sunday beginning at 8:30AM. Here is some more information:

     Also, the Canadian War Museum is offering free admission on Sunday so that the public can join them in commemorating the anniversary with the unveiling of the new Vimy Ridge exhibit in Gallery 2. Find out more here:

     I hope you'll endeavor to take in some of your area's Vimy programs, and please advise if I've missed any events or you don't see your community on the list!
     Thanks for reading,
Delany (@DLeitchHistory on Twitter)

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