Commemorating and Honouring A Legacy of Service and Sacrifice

Canada unveils plans to commemorate the World Wars.

OTTAWA, Jan. 13, 2014 /CNW/ - Department of Canadian Heritage

Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages Shelly Glover announced the Government of Canada will launch the commemorations of the centennial of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the Second World War by rededicating the National War Memorial in Summer 2014.

Standing among artifacts and images from the First and Second World Wars at the Canadian War Museum, Minister Glover, accompanied by Minister of Veterans Affairs Julian Fantino, said the commemorative period will run from 2014 until 2020. The Government will use existing programs to support national, regional, and community-based activities, dedications, ceremonies, and legacy events.

Quick Facts

  • The commemorations will include awareness activities, events and ceremonies to mark significant milestones during the Wars, as well as projects that will leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.
  • The Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation has created a vision for a new national memorial, honouring Canadian war dead. The memorial is intended to be built along the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
  • Library and Archives Project will publish "100 Canadian Stories" and digitize 640,000 records from the First World War, making them more widely available to all Canadians.
  • A new education centre will be built at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France.

Quotes
"These commemorations will pay tribute to the sacrifices made by Canadians during the First and Second World Wars, build awareness about how the war efforts shaped the Canada we know today, promote a sense of national pride while creating a legacy for generations to come."
-Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, whose department is coordinating the Government's commemoration plans.

"Two generations of Canadians made incredible sacrifices so that we might live in peace and freedom. It is our profound duty to commemorate and honour those who served at home and abroad and made our country the free, democratic country that it is today."
-Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans' Affairs.

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Backgrounder

Associated Links
www.canada.ca/150

BACKGROUNDER

The World War Commemorations 2014-2020

The Government of Canada's commemorations will pay tribute to the sacrifices made by Canadians during the First and Second World Wars, build awareness on how the war efforts shaped the Canada we know today, promote a sense of national pride, and create a legacy for generations to come. The Government will launch the commemorative period in Summer 2014 by rededicating the National War Memorial. Activities will be conducted both at home and abroad.

At Home

Awareness:
Activities will include the launch of a World Wars Web portal, museum exhibits, programming in national parks and historic sites, documentaries, public performances, naming of ships and buildings, and the creation of commemorative coins and stamps. Examples announced to date include:


Events and Commemorations:
Municipal, regional or national commemorative events will be held to mark declarations of war, deployment of troops, major battles, significant activities at home, heroes, regimental anniversaries, amnesties, returning home, and more. See the Milestone Anniversaries section of this backgrounder for the key dates that will guide the commemorations.

Lasting Legacy:
The Government will support initiatives that create a lasting legacy for future generations:

  • The Never Forgotten National Memorial: This private-sector initiative proposes to create a tribute for Canadians today and for future generations to honour the more than 114,000 Canadian war dead who were buried in foreign countries, lost at sea, or otherwise consumed into the landscapes of war. The Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation will raise funds to build this memorial—with its iconic statue of Mother Canada symbolically reaching towards Vimy, France, and the world across the North Atlantic—at Green Cove on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, which is managed by Parks Canada. The national memorial is scheduled to be unveiled on July 1, 2017, during Canada's 150th anniversary, which also includes the centennials of the Battles of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele.
    http://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/cp-nr/release_e.asp?id=2029&andor1=nr
  • Library and Archives will publish a new collection "100 Canadian Stories of the First World War." The stories will include links to battle plans, photographs, war diaries and trench newspapers to paint a picture of the lives and experiences of these Canadians during the FWW. All 640,000 First World War records will also be digitized, making them more readily accessible to Canadians.

Abroad

Additional activities will be announced during the commemoration period.

The above plans reflect commitments made in the Speech From the Throne to honour key milestones in Canadian history in the lead up to the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation in 2017.

Milestone Anniversaries

2014

First World War

  • Centennial of the start of First World War - Canada's participation in the First World War shaped the country and Canadian identity. More than 650,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders served in the First World War, with more than 66,000 of them losing their lives.

  • Centennial of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry - This Regular Force regiment originated in Ottawa, Ontario, on August 10, 1914. In November 1915, the regiment joined the Canadian Corps as part of the 7th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division, with which it fought with distinction in France and Flanders until the end of the war.

  • Centennial of the Royal 22e Régiment - Established in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, on November 7, 1914, the 22nd (French Canadian) Overseas Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) went to France in September 1915, and fought with distinction in every major Canadian engagement until the end of the war.

Second World War

  • 75th anniversary of the start of the Second World War and Canada's independent declaration of war on Germany on 10 September 1939. More than one million Canadian men and women enlisted, while more than 45,000 gave their lives in the fight for peace and freedom.

  • 75th anniversary of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) - In December 1939, the Government of Canada was a signatory to the BCATP. By the end of the war, over 130,000 aircrew had been trained in Canada, sometimes called "the aerodrome of democracy," of which some 73,000 were members of the Royal Canadian Air Force.


2015

First World War

  • Centennial of the 2nd Battle of Ypres - On April 22, 1915, two Canadian brigades were in the front lines, with a third in reserve near Ypres. On that day, the Germans released gas against the French 45th (Algerian) Division to the Canadians' left, followed by a direct gas attack on the Canadians on April 24. With some 6,000 casualties, Canadians earned a reputation as tough, dependable troops.

  • Centennial of the writing of 'In Flanders Fields' - It was at the 2nd Battle of Ypres, in the spring of 1915, that the words of Major John McCrae would immortalize the poppy as a symbol of sacrifice the world over. Major McCrae was serving as a surgeon with the 1st Canadian Field Artillery Brigade. It was the death of a friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer of Ottawa, Ontario that inspired McCrae to write his now famous poem.

2016

First World War

  • Centennial of the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel - While this historic offensive decimated the Newfoundland Regiment, later fighting in this long battle would also prepare the Canadian Corps for its subsequent success at Vimy Ridge. Of the approximately 800 Newfoundlanders who had gone into battle, only 68 were able to respond to roll call the next morning. The battalion was subsequently recognized for its unwavering bravery in the face of trying conditions.

  • Centennial of CFB Borden - Dating from 1916, Camp Borden was officially opened by the Minister of Militia and Defence, Major-General Sir Sam Hughes. At that time, it consisted of some 70 square kilometres of tree stumps and blowing sand.

Second World War

  • 75th anniversary of the commissioning of HMCS Sackville (Royal Canadian Navy) - On May 15, 1941, the corvette HMCS Sackville was launched from her berth in the Saint John Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. The whole Sackville Town Council travelled the roughly 250 kilometres to stand in a nasty, driving rain as the ship was christened and slipped into the Courtenay Bay. Although she was not completely ready for war, she was needed for immediate action.

  • 75th anniversary of the Canadian Women's Army Corps and Canadian Women's Auxiliary Air Force (Royal Canadian Air Force - Women's Division) - In July 1941, the Canadian government authorized the formation of the CWAC and the CWAAF (later renamed the RCAF - Women's Division in February 1942). The Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force would employ thousands of women in administrative, clerical, and certain technical fields.

  • 75th anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong - The battle of Hong Kong was 17 and a half days of intense fighting. When Allied forces were overrun on December 25, 1941, those who had survived the battle found themselves in what would become four years of captivity in prisoner-of-war and Japanese work camps.


2017

First World War

  • Centennial of the Battles of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele. The battle of Vimy Ridge was the first time all four Canadian divisions joined in a battle. Both battles became national symbols of achievement and sacrifice and cemented the reputation of Canadians as being the best shock troops in the Allied Armies.

  • Centennial of the Halifax Explosion - On the morning of December 6, 1917, the largest single pre-atomic explosion devastated the city of Halifax and flattened Dartmouth. The explosion was a result of a collision between a French vessel loaded with explosives and a Belgian relief ship in Halifax Harbour.

Second World War

  • 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid - The attack on Dieppe took place on August 19, 1942. The troops involved totalled 6,100, of whom roughly 5,000 were Canadians, the remainder being British Commandos and 50 American Rangers.

  • 75th anniversary of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS) - Due to the serious wartime shortage of sailors for sea billets, on July 31, 1942, the Royal Canadian Navy established the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service.

2018
First World War

  • Centennial of the final 100 days of First World War - Canadians played an important role in helping win the war with a series of impressive battlefield victories during the conflict's final months.

  • Centennial of Armistice Day - Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day as it has come to be known, originated following the end of the First World War. The Armistice agreement was signed between Germany and the Allied Forces in France on Monday, November 11, 1918.

Second World War

  • 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic - The battle was the longest of the Second World War and the Royal Canadian Navy's greatest victory. The Atlantic Ocean was a crucial supply line between North America and Britain, and the Canadians provided protection to the Merchant Navy and its many supply ships.

  • 75th anniversary of the commissioning of HMCS Haida - Perhaps the most famous of Canada's "Tribal Class" destroyers, which served in both the Second World War and Korea, it is now a Parks Canada national historic site in Hamilton, Ontario.


2019

Second World War

  • 75th anniversary of the Italian Campaign - The campaign lasted from 1943 to the end of the war in Europe. It included the invasion of Sicily and the campaign on the Italian mainland until the surrender of German forces in Italy in May 1945 (although the Canadians would be transferred to fight in Northwest Europe beginning in February 1945).

  • 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy - On June 6, 1944, fighting against the elements and a determined entrenched enemy, Canadian, British, and American soldiers dropped from the skies and crashed ashore on Juno, Sword, Gold, Utah, and Omaha beaches to secure a foothold in Hitler's Europe. This marked the beginning of the liberation of Western Europe.


2020

Second World War

  • 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War - First Canadian Army, with I and II Canadian Corps serving together for the first time, was given the task of helping liberate the Netherlands. A special relationship has existed between Canada and the Dutch people ever since.

SOURCE Canadian Heritage

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