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Marking Vimy Ridge

By Katelyn Schubert

This is a big year for us Canadians. Of course, our country is celebrating a huge birthday by turning 150 in 2017.

Provinces and territories are holding events all year long to commemorate everything it means to be Canadian. But this isn’t the only big thing taking place this year. In a few weeks, we will be honouring another anniversary that deeply represents our heritage.

It has been 100 years since the Battle of Vimy Ridge took place in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France during the First World War. The battle is something you probably heard about a lot if you grew up in Canada as it was a defining moment in our history. Many see the Battle of Vimy as a time when our nation came together. It was the first time men from all regions were present in the same battle and declared victory. But the success of this battle came at a heavy cost with 3, 598 men killed and another 7,000 wounded. Huge numbers to a country that was only 50 years old and had a population of just under eight million.

This year seems like the perfect time to celebrate and honour those who fought and lost their lives during the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Here we are just 100 years later and a strong nation with plenty of things to celebrate about our past and look forward to the in future.

There are plenty of ways to commemorate the battle right here in our community. Here at the Petawawa Library, we make a point to include a strong Canadian voice in our materials and resources we have available. The First and Second World War sections of our collection are always a point of interest whether it be fiction or non-fiction. Not everyone has the ability to visit the monument in France, so the Library is a great place to show your appreciation to the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. As the years pass, we lose those who survived to share their stories with us.

Over the past few decades, books and audiobooks have been released that feature in-depth recollections of soldiers’ experiences during battle and the stories are for all ages. For children to learn about Vimy Ridge, check out the book “Innocent Heroes” by Sigmund Brouwer. Not only does the story highlight eight soldiers, but the animals who stood along side them during the taking of the ridge.

The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa is a great place to be up close and personal with war memorabilia. Beginning April 6 through Nov. 12, a special exhibit ‘Vimy – Beyond the Battle’ will be presented at the museum. You can check out a pass to this museum (and many more) at the library with your card, subject to availability.

The Battle of Vimy can also be remembered digitally. The Petawawa Library offers a great military and intelligence database as well as a war and terrorism collection available online through our website as well as links to help with military research.

This year, 2017 is a great time to be Canadian. Celebrating Vimy Ridge and the soliders who changed history can be done just by visiting your local library. Check out www.petawawapubliclibrary.com to view our collection or check out our databases.

Katelyn Schubert is the children and teen services co-ordinator at the Petawawa Public Library

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