Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Thousands of Students from across Canada to Take Pilgrimage to Vimy

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Thousands of Students from across Canada to Take Pilgrimage to Vimy

Article excerpt

Thousands of students to attend Vimy ceremony

--

OTTAWA - Thousands of Canadians have started what some are calling a "pilgrimage" to France this week, as the country prepares to commemorate the 100th anniversary of one of its most iconic battles: Vimy Ridge.

Among them are 12,000 students who have studied and saved for months to stand in the shadows of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial when the country stops to reflect and remember this weekend.

Coming from schools and communities across the country, the students are expected to make up nearly half of the 25,000 Canadians that the government believes will be at Vimy for Sunday's ceremony.

Among those who will be in attendance are 28 students from Bishop Strachan School, a private all-girls boarding school in Toronto, led by history teacher James Stewart.

"Vimy will always take your breath when you see it," said Stewart, who has visited twice before. "It has a big impact on people when they see it. And that's going to be one of the great things for the students."

The level of student interest and participation has been noted and welcomed by many, particularly those who have made a living out of trying to bring Canadian history to life.

"We're seeing something change significantly here," said military historian Tim Cook, who recently wrote a book entitled, "Vimy: The Battle and the Legend."

"Vimy is a multi-generational symbol that has been passed on from generation to generation. I suppose this is a passing on to a new generation."

Cook and others were hard-pressed to attribute the interest of young Canadians to any one reason, offering instead a variety of possible factors.

Like many teachers, Stewart had his students research the stories of individual soldiers who fought and died at the battle, which has been credited with making the battle more relatable to young Canadians.

There has also been a great deal of advocacy by the federal government and history groups, such as the Vimy Foundation and Historica Canada, which have provided lesson material for teachers. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.