Vimy Ridge Memorial - Archive Photos

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233247)

Vimy Memorial, c1948.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4868439)

Visit to Vimy Ridge Memorial by Lt. Gen. Crerar and Pte. Stubbs, 11 September 1944.

The Canadian National Vimy Memorial honours all Canadians who served during the First World War. The Memorial bears the names of those who died in France with no known grave. It is located at the site of Canada’s victory during the Battle of Vimy Ridge. In 1920, the Canadian Battlefields Memorials Commission was established to oversee creation of eight Canadian battlefield memorials in France and Belgium. The most impressive is the majestic and inspiring Canadian National Vimy Memorial. With a wealth of symbolism in its sculptures, it is a lasting tribute to the ultimate sacrifice Canadians made in Europe in the First World War.

The monument was designed by Canadian architect and sculptor, Walter Seymour Allward. He said his inspiration for the monument came to him in a dream. His design was selected from 160 others in a competition held in the early 1920s. Work began on the monument in 1925. Eleven years later, on July 26, 1936, it was unveiled by King Edward VIII.

Resting on a bed of 15,000 tonnes of concrete, its pylons and sculptured figures contain almost 6,000 tonnes of Croatian limestone. Towering 27 metres above the base of the monument, the two pylons represent Canada and France – two nations beset by war and united to fight for a common goal – peace and freedom for the Allied nations.

Twenty symbolic figures grace the monument. The topmost – that of Peace – is approximately 110 metres above. Arranged below are other figures representing Justice, Truth, Knowledge, Gallantry and Sympathy. The largest figure, a mourning figure known as Canada Bereft, was carved from a single 30‑tonne block. Head bowed in sorrow, she provides a powerful representation of Canada, a young nation grieving her dead. Overlooking the Douai Plain, she gazes down upon a symbolic tomb draped in laurel branches and bearing a helmet and sword.

Carved on the walls of the monument are the names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers who died in France and whose final resting place was then unknown. (Veterans Affairs Canada)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2837452)

The Taking of Vimy Ridge, Easter Monday 1917, as painted by Richard Jack. This painting is currently on display in the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was the first instance in which all four Canadian divisions participated in a battle together, as a cohesive formation.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3377866)

Unveiling of Canada's national Memorial at Vimy Ridge - His Majesty, King Edward VIII, descends from Vimy Monument to greet Canadian Pilgrims at the Unveiling ceremony, 26 July 1936.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4869080)

CWAC Pte. Dorothy Allen, Sgt. Helen Strickland and Pte. Terry Marucci at the Vimy memorial, 20 June 1945.

Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4939181)

Canada Bereft Memorial figure.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4939180)

4939180imy Ridge Monument.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233247)

Vimy Memorial, c1948.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233732)

Pte. Dorothy Allen points out no man's land and the German front lines to Pte. Terry Marucci and Helen Strickland, near the Vimy Memorial, 25 June 1945.