Vimy Ridge Day is an annual observance on April 9 to remember Canadians who victoriously fought in the battle of Vimy Ridge in northern France during the First World War. The day is also known as the National Day of Remembrance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Is Vimy Ridge Day a Public Holiday?
Vimy Ridge Day is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.
What Do People Do?
Museums, such as the Canadian War Museum, may hold special activities that commemorate the battle of Vimy Ridge on or around April 9 each year. Activities may include historical story-telling about the battle of Vimy Ridge, as well as costumed interpreters dressed in the First World War uniforms explaining soldiers’ equipment. Other events that have occurred in recent times include laying wreaths at memorials and a national ceremony to honour Canadians who fought during World War I, including the battle of Vimy Ridge.
Schools may include classroom lessons about historic events that occurred during World War I, including the battle of Vimy Ridge and how Canadians played a role in the war, during this time of the year. The Canadian government’s Canada Remembers Program provides the general public, including educators and students, with information about the battle of Vimy Ridge. Some Canadians commemorate Vimy Ridge Day by wearing Vimy pins, which are available from the Vimy Foundation. The Canadian flag on Canada’s Peace Tower is also lowered at half-mast on April 9 each year.
Vimy Ridge Day is not a public holiday in Canada. Public offices, businesses, schools and public transport systems operate to their usual schedule.
Vimy Ridge Day remembers Canadians who fought in the battle of Vimy Ridge during World War I. The battle of Vimy Ridge, which was part of the larger battle of Arras in northern France, began on Easter Monday, which was April 9, in 1917. About 30,000 Canadians fought at Vimy Ridge and claimed victory. However, this victory came at a high cost. The Canadians suffered about 11,000 casualties. Of these, nearly 3,600 Canadians were killed.
At Vimy, regiments from coast to coast saw action together in a distinctly Canadian triumph, helping create a new and stronger sense of Canadian identity. After Vimy, the Canadian corps never looked back, and its success raised Canada’s international stature and earned a separate signature on the Treaty of Versailles that ended the war. In 2003 the Canadian government declared April 9 as “Vimy Ridge Day” to honour and remember the battle that took place at Vimy Ridge.
The Canadian National Vimy Memorial sits on a hill on land granted to Canada in northern France. This monument is inscribed with the names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers who were listed as missing or presumed dead in France. It stands as a tribute to all who served their country in battle and risked or gave their lives in the war Veteran Affairs Canada maintains this site.
Note: Timeanddate.com wishes to thank Veterans Affairs Canada for the background information about Vimy Ridge Day.