Vimy Ridge Day
Vimy Ridge Day is a Canadian non-statutory observance that commemorates the casualties and deaths of members of the Canadian Corps during the Battle of Vimy Ridge. This battle took place during WWI and it’s a holiday that’s been observed since 2003. The battle involved some 30,000 Canadians, and about 11,000 of them were casualties. In all, almost 3,600 Canadians were killed during the battle on April 9, 1917.
The History Of Vimy Ridge
As we briefly explained in our introduction, this observance day commemorates the Battle Of Vimy Ridge. This battle began with a Canadian attack that began on Easter Monday at 5:30 A.M. Four Canadian divisions were assembled as a corp and were joined by the British 5th Infantry Division-which was supported by engineering, labor, and artillery units. At 6:25 A.M., the First, Second and Third Canadian Divisions reached and captured the Black Line-their first objective. The Fourth Division encountered heavy resistance and didn’t complete its objective until several hours later.
By the time the German 79th Reserve Division mounted its counterattack, all of the Canadian Divisions, except for the Fourth Canadian, had reached their objectives. After a harrowing battle, Canadian forces would eventually capture and maintain control of Vimy Ridge on April 12, 1917, but it came at an extraordinary cost. By the end of the battle, the Canadians had suffered over 10,600+ casualties, of which 7,000+ of them were wounded and almost 3,600 of them were killed.
Canadian First World War Battles
In honor of all of those Canadians who fought during World War I, we wanted to not only talk about the subject of this holiday-the Battle of Vimy Ridge-but also wanted to list some of the other battles Canadian forces were in during WWI. Although the following list isn’t complete, it does contain some of the battles that Canada took part in during the First World War.
- June 1916: The Battle of Mount Sorrel
- July 1916: Beaumont Hamel
- September 1916: Thiepval Ridge
- October – November 1916 – Regina Trench
- April 9-12, 1917: Battle of Vimy Ridge
- October–November 1917: Battle of Passchendaele
- November–December 1917: Battle of Cambrai
- December 1917 – The Halifax Explosion – A Centennial Event
- March– April 1918–Operation Michael
- March–April 1918–Villers-Bretonneux
- March–April 1918–The Quebec City Conscription Riots – A Centennial Event
- March–April 1918–Battle of Moreuil Wood & Rifle Wood
- August 1918–Battle of Amiens
- August 1918– Second Battle of Arras
- August 1918– The Battle for the village of Chérisy
- September 1918– Battle for the Drocourt-Quéant Line
- September–October 1918–Battle of Canal du Nord
- October 1918– Capture of Cambrai
- November 1918– Battle of Valenciennes
- November 1918–Capture of Mons and the Armistice
Observing Vimy Ridge Day
This holiday is mainly observed through museums and schools all over Canada. The Canadian War Museum usually holds events that commemorate this day either on April 9th or around the date of the 9th. Some of the activities that occur on or around this holiday include a retelling of the story of Vimy Ridge, historical presentations, and the laying of wreaths at memorials in honor of all Canadians who fought in WWI, and speeches about the battle. Canadians also observe this day by wearing Vimy Pins that are obtained from The Vimy Foundation-an organization that provides hands-on educational programming about Canada’s role in WWI.