Flags at half-mast for Vimy Ridge Day: Friday, April 9

Our flags will be at half-mast on Friday, April 9, from sunrise to sunset, in honour of the anniversary of Vimy Ridge Day, the bloodiest day in Canadian history.

Vimy Ridge, in France, is a 14-kilometre long escarpment where one of the most important battles of the First World War (1914-1918) was fought on April 9, 1917. German forces seized the ridge in October 1914. British and French forces tried in vain to retake it. It was the Canadian forces that succeeded in the battle.

Four divisions, or 100,000 Canadians, launched themselves following a rolling artillery barrage, an innovative tactic used by both sides in subsequent battles during the war. Victory was achieved, but at a cost of 3,598 Canadian dead and nearly 10,600 wounded. The Battle of Vimy Ridge is widely regarded as a decisive event that marked the beginning of Canada's evolution as an independent nation. It marked the first time that Canadian divisions fought together on the same battlefield, under Canadian command, to carry out a Canadian strategy.

In 1922, France expressed its gratitude by granting Canada the use of a parcel of land on Vimy Ridge in perpetuity for the purpose of creating a battlefield park and memorial. A monument consisting of two majestic white limestone towers rising to 30 metres was erected in 1936 in memory of all Canadian soldiers who died in the First World War, known as the Great War.

In 2003, the federal government decreed by an act of Parliament that April 9 of each year would be known as Vimy Ridge Day. To commemorate this historically significant battle, all flags are flown at half-mast.

The trenches on battlefield of Vimy world war one France

 

The trenches on battlefield of Vimy 

 

The figure of Canada Bereft, also known as Mother Canada mourning the loss of her children, overlooking the Vimy Ridge at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial

 

Names of Canadian heroes fallen during First World War, Canadian National Vimy Ridge and Battle Memorial

 

Vimy Ridge National Historic Site of Canada in France