Courtesy of Veterans Affairs Canada.
The Memorial on Vimy Ridge does more than mark the site of the great Canadian victory of the First World War. It stands as a tribute to all who served their country in battle and risked or gave their lives in that four-year struggle.
In 1922, use of the land, for the battlefield park which contains the Canadian National Vimy Memorial was granted for all time by the French nation to the people of Canada.
The Memorial was designed by Canadian sculptor and architect Walter Seymour Allward. He once told friends the form of the design came to him in a dream.
The Canadian National Vimy Memorial stands on Hill 145, overlooking the Canadian battlefield of 1917, at one of the points of the fiercest fighting.
It took eleven years and $1.5 million to build and was unveiled on July 26, 1936 by King Edward VIII, in the presence of President Albert Lebrun of France and 50,000 or more Canadian and French veterans and their families.
Inscribed on the ramparts of the Memorial are the names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers who were posted "missing, presumed dead" in France.
The grounds are still honeycombed with wartime tunnels, closed off for public safety. A portion of the Grange Subway, originally 1,230 metres long, still exists to be viewed. Roughly 250 metres of this underground communication tunnel and some of its chambers and connecting dugouts have been preserved. Canadian interpretive guides provide tours of this subterranean feature.
In recent times, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial has come to symbolize Canada's long commitment to peace in the world, as well as its stand against aggression, and for liberty and the rule of international law.
On April 10, 1997, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial was designated as a Canadian National Historic Site by then Minister of Canadian Heritage, Sheila Copps.