It’s only taken two weeks, but here are some pictures from the April 9th Fort York tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Many consider the Battle of Vimy Ridge to be a defining moment in Canadian history as it was one of Canada’s greatest (if not the greatest) military achievements. In fact, some historians view Vimy Ridge as the moment when Canada finally came of age as a nation and played a major role on the world’s stage. I should point out that Vimy Ridge was not just a Canadian victory. While it was the first time that all four Canadian divisions participated in a battle, the British 5th Infantry Division (and supplementary artillery, engineer and labour units) provided essential support. Whatever the Battle of Vimy Ridge might represent, the victory came at a huge cost: 3,598 men were killed and 7,004 men were wounded.
Naturally, the main commemoration ceremony took place at the Vimy Ridge Memorial itself, but there were several events throughout the country to mark the anniversary. It was my dad’s idea to attend the Fort York tribute. I’m glad we did because of all the historical displays and reenactments. The reenactors really worked hard to recreate aspects of the First World War experience. I was pleasantly surprised by how many items I saw from the period. My dad, brother and I were even able to partake in the mess hall experience by dining at the The Great War Heritage Café, which had rows of long tables. It was a great opportunity to actually talk to people as you were sharing a table with strangers. I ate something called Canadian Stew, which was basically baked beans mixed with maple syrup and bits of bacon. What really impressed me, though, were the homemade butter tarts. They were the best butter tarts I’d had in years.
Well, I think I’ve provided more than enough background. On to the photos! ( There really are more pictures and fewer words ahead. )