Port Moody Station Museum in British Columbia is hosting a two-day commemoration ceremony for the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge that is sure to transport attendees to the early 20th century.
Though the Port Moody Station Museum honours its history as a train station, the museum is much more than that. It educates the community about the town’s involvement in the Great War. Eighty-three Canadians from Port Moody took part in World War One. To honour this history, the museum dug trenches similar to those found in the First World War in 2014.
“From there it just got bigger and bigger,” said Markus Fahrner, Museum Coordinator.
The Museum’s immensely popular trench tours are accompanied by talks on various subjects relating to the First World War.
So, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge was a natural next step for the museum.
On the weekend of April 8 and 9, the museum will have displays and activities that are sure to whisk away audiences to the First World War era.
The focus of the commemorative event is to showcase not only the bravery and strength of Canadians but also their ingenuity.
“This is a battle that was fought on all fronts. It was fought with sheer bravery and muscle power, but it was also fought in the tunnels, and it was fought on the technological forefront. To me, that makes it really unique,” added Fahrner.
Besides their staple trenches, the Museum will be constructing tunnels mimicking the ones Canadians made during the Battle of Vimy Ridge to safeguard their soldiers and supplies. Visitors will be able to explore this tunnels and leave messages on the walls.
“To me, this is so much more of a fascinating and really important battle because it shows you these guys back then they really learned their lessons, they really tried unique techniques,” commented Fahrner.
Additionally, visitors can check out a Sopwith Camel Replica plane, a hospital train display, and talks given by historian John Groheen. Staff will be dressed in clothing of the day, and historical artifacts and weapons will also be on display.
To take some respite from the “war front,” visitors can enjoy foods authentic to the war time, drink and music. Visitors will be allowed into this area only with their furlough papers in hand- especially created by Fahrner.
On Sunday, the ceremony will begin with a colour party from the local Legion and a pipe band.
Fahrner strongly encourages community members to come out and attend the event not only to commemorate the sacrifices of the past but to ensure we learn lessons for the future.
“Come out and enjoy and take that trip back into the past and come back from this trip to the past and bring back the bravery and the ingenuity that these guys back then brought to a battle, in a way to bring peace about. Bring this back (that) if you apply your resources to something like this, that is really important and shaped many nations, that it is possible. It can be done, and these troops should be remembered. I think, also in a way, that it should not happen again and if we apply all our thinking and might then we can prevent something like this happening in the future,” said Fahrner.
The Port Moody Station Museum Vimy Ridge event will be held on April 8 and April 9 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.