On November 9, 2018 we opened the gates to a modern living memorial in commemoration of the centenary of the armistice of the First World War.
As a centennial project to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge as well as the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the Vimy Foundation has created the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park, adjacent to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in northern France. This 4 acre commemorative park complements the surrounding area and will be a reflective space for visitors to Vimy. Built on private farmland purchased by the Vimy Foundation, the property has required extensive demining and preparation prior to creation of the park.
On November 9, 2018, two days before the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the Vimy Foundation opened the gates to a modern living memorial in commemoration of the centenary of the armistice of the First World War.
The Centennial Park features 100 Centennial Trees dedicated to Canadians. The repatriated Vimy Oaks commemorate the living spirit of those who fought and testify to the intimate relationship between people and nature even in the most tragic circumstances. The four rows of trees in the centre circle commemorate the four Canadian divisions that participated in the battle in 1917.
In 2017, we invited Canadian poets to write a poem dedicated to the repatriated Vimy Oaks in France for the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Poets and Poet Laureates from British Columbia to the Maritimes wrote heartfelt poems expressing their thoughts and feelings toward the bravery and sacrifice of our soldiers. Their poems communicate the belief that their spirits will live on through the planting of the Vimy Oaks and that each tree will be a silent requiem for the past and a symbol of our commitment to still stand on guard in the future.
After the Battle of Vimy Ridge was won, many soldiers realized that they had been part of something truly great. Leslie Miller, born in 1889 in Milliken, Ontario was in the Signal Corps. In the months following the Battle, he travelled across the Ridge setting up wireless listening posts. The Ridge was completely devoid of structures or vegetation due to shell fire but he came across a half buried oak tree. He gathered up a handful of acorns.
Those acorns were subsequently planted by him on farmland in Scarborough, ON, which is now home to the Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church. He called his farm the ‘Vimy Oaks’. Today, several of the original oaks survive. However, there are no original oaks on the Vimy Ridge site.
The Vimy Foundation, in partnership with the Vimy Oaks Legacy Corporation, worked to repatriate these Vimy Oaks of Scarborough-Agincourt back to Vimy, France, to help preserve Canada’s First World War legacy through the creation of a living memorial.
On October 29, 2018, French children from the nearby town of Givenchy-en-Gohelle assisted with the planting of several of the Vimy Oaks at the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park. Thank you for your help!
The paths through the Centennial Park create a unique perspective of the Vimy Memorial, surrounded by Vimy Oaks. Centennial benches, placed throughout the park, provide an opportunity for gathering, dialogue, and extended reflection, all essential elements to conflict resolution and peace that the monument inspires. Scroll down for the list of Centennial Bench donors.
Camp Borden was founded in 1916, training nearly fifty thousand soldiers for service in The Canadian Expeditionary Force. For many of those soldiers, their first action was during the Battle of Arras, and specifically the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The Memorial Sculpture of the Bugler is generously provided by CFB Borden. The Memorial Sculpture of the Bugler, designed by the Canadian artist Marlene Hilton Moore, invites visitors to reflect on moments one hundred years earlier, as the bugle call rang out at the dawn of morning of April 9, 1917, and again on November 11, 1918 at the beginning of peace. A twin Bugler is installed at CFB Borden in the Borden Legacy Park, calling to the now-empty trenches that once trained soldiers before they left for battle overseas.
Standing tall like the Vimy Oaks around it, the Canadian flag flies proudly. The flagpole is sponsored by Molson Coors, in memory of Captain Percival Molson, M.C. “To you from failing hands we throw / The torch; be yours to hold it high.”
This project was made possible thanks to the generous financial, creative and communication engagement of these institutions.
Thank you to our generous sponsors whose contributions helped shaped the Centennial Park.
Perpetuated by: The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada
In loving memory of grandfather Pte. Hugh MacDougall, 1/1st Lovat’s Scouts Yeomanry Wounded at Gallipoli, Sept., 1915. Je Suis Prest.
Remembered by their loving families and friends.
Donated by the Province of New Brunswick
In Memory of Lieutenant Leslie Miller
Asseyez-vous. Enjoy the view of freedom they would insist. John Adie RFA 1914-18.
The people of Manitoba, Canada will never forget the many who fought and died for our freedom.
We shall never forget their service and sacrifice.
On behalf of Husky Injection Molding Systems
remembers those Albertans who served their country in the First World War, and subsequent wars.
in memory of those who served.
a great Canadian, whose deep understanding of history afforded him a profound appreciation of the valour and the gritty determination displayed by his countrymen at Vimy.
We would like to thank our generous donors who helped bring this memorial to life with their kind contributions.
Thank you for your Gift of Freedom.
In memory of Graham Burton
In loving memory of Lieutenant Maurice Alexander Jaques, lost Sept 3, 1916
In Memory of Lieutenant Leslie Miller
salute their perpetuated CEF battalions – 3rd, 15th, 58th, 83rd, 92nd, 95th, 123rd, 124th, 134th, 166th, 170th, 198th, 204th and 255th. We will remember them!
In honour of Private G. R. Mowforth
In loving memory of our ancestors who sacrificed for us all.
in memory of Flight Lieutenant John Harvie Wiley
in memory of Pte Harry Franklin Ritz (78th Bn)
“But honor the sacred mem’ry / Of those who for honor tried” Frank S. Brown, The Pats, 1915.
In memory of Major John Francis Costigan, 50th Battalion infantry. April 4th 1917 Canada.
In memory of Frederick Thomas Lodge & John (Jack) Fraser
In memory of Lieutenant Henry (Harry) George Reginald Mews
in memory of Gunner Arthur Vickers and Private Arthur Fordham
In memory of Thomas Wilson, 196th Battalion CEF
In memory of Pvt William Arthur Wilcox, 15th Bn, lost at Festubert, France May 21, 1915
honours Sergeant Winfred (Fred) Alexander Glover, 21st Battalion, Canadian Infantry
In honour of Corporal Samuel Lester Kelsall 58th Battalion 9th MGC 3rd Division
In Honour of James R. Sutherland Sr. 44th Bn(Manitoba)
in loving memory of of our grandfather Wilfrid J. Fagan
Dedicated on behalf of the No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation, to all that rest upon this sacred Canadian land in France. We encourage all and especially, the world’s youth, to gaze upon its beauty and understand that the oak tree is a symbol of Bravery, Power, Protection and Truth. Please remember their sacrifices and the strength it took to defend us. We hope all will make a pledge, when they stand before it, to remember. May they be commemorated forever and our gratitude infinite. Peace be with you.
In memory of LT T.J. Taylor, Cpl R. Anderson, and Pte W. Coolen
in memory of Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon M. Wyant, OC, CD, QHP
We will remember them. Forever grateful, the Tattersall family and Heathbridge Capital Management
We Will Remember You.
In memory of Dr. W.R. Harwood
In memory of Robert Charles Peacock
In memory of our beloved servicemen who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Requiescat in pace.
In memory of the brave souls who fought for our freedoms. We owe you immeasurable Gratitude.
in memory of Lieutenant-Colonel John H. Chipman, MC, VD
To honour ARLINGTON CLARKE and the many brave Canadians who fought at Vimy Ridge.
Remembering Those Who Sacrificed Their Lives For Ours
Truth, Duty, Valour / Vérité, Devoir, Vaillance
Help support the Vimy Foundation’s mission to build awareness about Canada’s role in the First World War.