Westmount, Quebec – 16 April 2017: The battle of Vimy Ridge was a defining moment for Canada. In April 1917, the Canadian Corps, fighting for the first time as a Canadian entity, attacked the ridge which spanned seven kilometers and was heavily fortified by the Germans. The French and British had previously attempted to take the ridge but failed with massive casualties. However, the Canadians were successful and forced a major German retreat. Their victory came at great cost: 3,598 Canadians were killed and more than 7,000 wounded. Amongst these men were 98 RMR soldiers dead and 176 wounded – close to a 50% casualty rate for the Regiment. Despite the cost, Canada demonstrated superior military skill and success on a world stage, and Vimy was the first of a series of victories to follow (Hill 70, Passchendaele, Amiens, Drocourt-Quéant line, etc.) during the rest of the war. The success of the Canadians that began in force at Vimy earned the young Dominion a place at the table for the subsequent treaty of Versailles ending the war.
The Regiments on the Ridge: Vimy 100 Years On exhibition (“Vimy 2017”) was held at Westmount’s Victoria Hall over three days in the first week of April 2017. Consisting of a display of WW1 artefacts, diaries, weapons, maps and more from the RMR Museum’s collection, supported by documentary film viewings four times daily, as well as a reenactor dressed in WW1 replica uniform.
The exhibition was built around 14 illustrated bilingual fabric panels (8’ wide x 6’ high) outlining Canada’s participation in WW1 in general and the Battle of Vimy Ridge specifically. These fabric panels were specifically designed to be easily transportable to local schools, etc.
There were 1,316 visitors to the Vimy exhibition at Victoria Hall over three days. Visitors included 410 students from seven different schools that ranged from primary to adult education.
More importantly, as a direct result of the exhibition, the illustrated panels are being displayed in six more local schools throughout April, which will bring exposure up by another 3,571, for a total of 4,887 visitors (3,651 students) within the month of April.
Congratulations to the RMR Museum committee who pulled off an impressive feat – can’t wait to see their encore!