One hundred years ago, the guns fell silent at the end of the First World War, leaving behind scarred countrysides in Europe. One of Canada’s greatest victories in the war was the battle at Vimy Ridge and this year, a new park is being opened to act as a living memorial to the soldiers who sacrificed so much on those fields.
On November 9, the Vimy Foundation inaugurated the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park located adjacent to the Vimy Memorial at Vimy Ridge. The park features walking paths of remembrance surrounded by over 100 Oak trees repatriated back to Vimy from Canada.
Visitors will be able to sit and reflect on Centennial benches, built in Canada and placed throughout the park. These benches, designed by Hauser Industries and manufactured in Waterloo, Ontario, were transported to France by Air Canada in time for the park’s inauguration.
“The Centennial benches throughout the park are an opportunity for visitors to the Centennial Park to reflect on their environment. Surrounded by the living memorial of the Vimy Oak trees, and in sight of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, a great piece of Canadian public art devoted to remembrance and peace, the Centennial benches encourage thoughtful dialogue and peace-building. Air Canada has been an ongoing supporter of the work of the Vimy Foundation and we are proud of the contributions they have made to the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park,” said Jeremy Diamond, Executive Director of the Vimy Foundation.
The design of the bench was directly inspired by the landscape design for the Centennial Park. The large circle on the main part of the bench mimics the circular design of the park, with four circular rows of Vimy Oak trees to represent the four Canadian Divisions that fought together for the first time at the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Veterans hold a special place in Air Canada’s hearts and this was just one of the many small ways we honour the memory of those who fought and sacrificed for our country.
We also help educate future generations about Vimy by transporting a group of students for an annual visit to the site, known as the Vimy Pilgrimage.
We are also present at the Remembrance Day ceremony held every year in Ottawa and our pilots lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
For more on the Vimy Foundation, go to www.vimyfoundation.ca.