Vimy Ridge: Royals to commemorate defining WW1 battle

The variety of commemorative activities were created to bring Canadians, especially youth, together, to honour Canada's victory at the Battle of Vimy Ridge and contribution to the First World War.

Prince William, Prince Harry and Justin Trudeau remembered those who sacrificed their lives in the Battle Vimy Ridge.

The battle marked the first time all four Canadian divisions fought together side-by-side during the war, advancing together on the heavily fortified ridge.

Trudeau said one of the 80,000 Canadians in the battle, 20-year-old William Bell, had written home on April 7, 1917 to praise the cake his family had sent to the trenches. "We're never the same after the First World War".

In bright spring sunshine, the crowd at the memorial site was a sea of red t-shirts, many of them showing the Canadian flag.

Canadian Pacific today commemorated the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the ultimate sacrifice made by more than 3,500 Canadians in a military victory that many consider a defining moment in the history of the country.

"On this day a century ago, after months of careful planning and surveillance, through considerable innovations in tactics and technology, and after remarkable determination and courage, the Canadian Corps took Vimy Ridge", he said.

Canadian soldiers on Saturday attend the sunset ceremony at Vimy Canadian National Memorial, on the eve of the ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary.

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Sophie Gregoire; and Trudeau's son Xavier attend a commemoration ceremony at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial on Sunday. The commemorative ceremony at the memorial honors Canadian soldiers who were killed or wounded during the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917.

Men from all backgrounds and places, but all of them proudly wearing the "Canada" shoulder badge that separated them from the millions of other soldiers on the Western Front.

"Many of the soldiers wearing the Canadian uniform that day were immigrants to this country".

The government of Canada hosted Sunday's somber ceremony of official speeches and performances by Canadian artists such as singer Loreena McKennitt.

Earlier Sunday, Trudeau and Hollande unveiled a separate "Poppy of Peace" monument in the town of Arras, a few kilometers (miles) from Vimy.

Canada's victory at Vimy became a nation-building moment for English Canada at a time when the young country, a former colony of Great Britain, was still very much attached to Britain.

After the service came to a close, the parade marched to the Cloverdale Legion, where the cadets were served a lunch and community members were able to view a display of First World War items, which included barbed wire and a German helmet retrieved from the battle.

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