Ontario Marks 90th Anniversary Of Vimy Ridge Victory
Ceremony Commemorates Honour, Valour And Sacrifice Of Great War Veterans
Premier Dalton McGuinty and the Honourable James K. Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, today joined Ontarians in commemorating the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
"The debt that we owe to our veterans and fallen soldiers is surpassed only by the pride that we have in them," said Bartleman. "Our soldiers at Vimy Ridge solidified our presence as a nation internationally, while helping to win one of the most chaotic and horrific battles in the First World War. On this memorable day, we commemorate their enormous sacrifices for the freedom and quality of life that we experience every day."
"We often think of the people who change history, who forge nations and who win battles as kings and generals and leaders," said Premier McGuinty. "Vimy taught us that the courage of ordinary men -- from small towns and humble homes -- can turn the tide of history with thousands of acts of individual bravery."
The Lieutenant Governor and the Premier joined veterans, members of the Canadian Forces, cadets and Ontarians for the ceremony. Two minutes of silence were observed and wreaths were laid at the memorial. A Pledge to Remember was also recited during the traditional service.
"Exactly 90 years ago today, after much planning and rehearsal, Sir Julian Byng the Canadian Corps Commander, led the early morning assault on the heavily-fortified seven-kilometre ridge in Vimy," said Brigadier-General Guy Thibault, Commander of Joint Task Force Central and Land Force Central Area. "We must never forget the valour of those Canadian soldiers who kept fighting their way up Vimy Ridge, taking the heights and confirming Canada's place in the chronicles of the First World War."
Capturing Vimy Ridge is considered one of Canada's greatest triumphs during the First World War, contributing to an Allied victory and peace in Western Europe. It was also a pivotal battle that helped define Canada as a nation.
Nearly 3,600 Canadian soldiers gave their lives and over 7,000 were wounded in four days of fighting. Today, a national memorial stands atop the ridge as a permanent tribute to all Canadians who served in battle in France.
Ontario's new Veterans' Memorial consists of a 30-metre-long granite wall, etched with scenes from Canada's military history. It is dedicated to every brave man and woman who has served with courage in times of war and in peace.
"Let us remember what our brave soldiers did -- they were magnificent," said Premier McGuinty. "And let us celebrate something we all too often take for granted -- something that was so dearly paid for -- our peace and freedom."