Parks Canada is among the many organizations across Canada putting on events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
One of these events, A Salut to Vimy 100, will take place on the evening of April 8 at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site in BC.
“It’s really important for Parks Canada to celebrate this anniversary as a way of honouring the soldiers that fought and honouring this battle, in particular, and World War One, and the sacrifices of the people involved who gave their life for this battle,” said Robyn Sealy, Acting Interpretation Coordinator Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites.
A host of activities are planned for the Salut to Vimy 100, and Sealy promises there is something for everyone.
“We will have a variety of different activities at the event that will appeal to families as well as people who are more interested in learning the background about Vimy,” added Sealy.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a multitude of activities. Visitors can hear endearing stories from historians; step back in time thanks to military re-enactors dressed in uniform with historical artifacts and a battlefield re-enactment put on by Parks Canada Staff; do commemorative crafts and drink hot chocolate by a camp fire. Attendees can also check out displays from Juno Beach and Parks Canada’s Hometown Heroes competition. Additionally, the 5th Field Regiment, RCA Band will be playing music and their guns, which will be used in the event’s finale, will be on display for visitors to check out.
The official ceremony will then begin at 8 p.m. with speeches. A Colour party from the Royal Canadian Legion branch 91 will be at the event as well as members from the Westshore RCMP. At this time, there will also be a plaque unveiling ceremony paying tribute to Gen. Sir Arthur Currie, who resided in Victoria and led the 1st Canadian Division at Vimy Ridge.
Following the ceremony, a piper will lead the crowd to a viewing area for the grand finale.
“It’s basically a cliff area where it has this amazing view of the ocean, and the lighthouse in the background and below us will be where the guns are. So, exactly at 8:30 p.m PST, which will correspond to 5:30 a.m. the following day [in France], so that marks exactly 100 years ago that the Battle of Vimy Ridge started. There will be a 100 round rapid fire barrage by the guns of 5th Field Regiment. I think it will be quite a powerful moment,” explained Sealy.
Overall, Sealy promises the event will be an unforgettable tribute to Vimy Ridge while allowing visitors to enjoy Parks Canada national sites.
“We’d be honoured to have everyone in the community join us for the event…we want people to have the opportunity to learn more about World War One and about the Battle,” said Sealy.
A Salut to Vimy 100 will take place at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site just outside of Victoria, BC. This event is free. For more information click here .