The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is a memorial site in France dedicated to the memory of Canadian Expeditionary Force members killed during the First World War. It also serves as the place of commemoration for First World War Canadian soldiers killed or presumed dead in France who have no known grave. The monument is the centrepiece of a 250-acre (100 ha) preserved battlefield park that encompasses a portion of the grounds over which the Canadian Corps made their assault during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a military engagement fought as part of the Battle of Arras.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge was the first occasion whereupon all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force participated in a battle as a cohesive formation, and thus became a Canadian nationalistic symbol of achievement and sacrifice. In recognition of Canada's war efforts, France granted Canada perpetual use of a portion of land on Vimy Ridge under the understanding that the Canadians use the land to establish a battlefield park and memorial. Wartime tunnels, trenches, craters and unexploded munitions still honeycomb the grounds of the site, which remains largely closed off for public safety. Along with preserved trench lines, there are a number of other memorials and cemeteries contained within the site.
The memorial took monument designer Walter Seymour Allward eleven years to build. King Edward VIII unveiled the memorial on 26 July 1936, in the presence of French President Albert Lebrun, 50,000 or more Canadian and French veterans, and their families. Following an extensive multi-year restoration, Queen Elizabeth II rededicated the memorial on 9 April 2007 during a ceremony commemorating the 90th anniversary of the battle. The memorial site is one of two National Historic Sites of Canada located outside of Canada and is maintained by Veterans Affairs Canada.
The Invasion of Canada
in 1775 was the first major military initiative by the newly-formed Continental Army
during the American Revolutionary War
. The objective of the campaign was to gain military control of the British Province of Quebec
, and convince the French-speaking Canadiens
to join the revolution on the side of the Thirteen Colonies
. One expedition left Fort Ticonderoga
under Richard Montgomery
, besieged and captured Fort St. Johns
, and very nearly captured British General Guy Carleton
when taking Montreal
. The other expedition left Cambridge, Massachusetts
under Benedict Arnold
, and traveled with great difficulty through the wilderness of Maine
to Quebec City
. The two forces joined there, but were defeated at the Battle of Quebec
in December 1775.Montgomery's expedition set out from Fort Ticonderoga
in late August, and began besieging Fort St. Johns
, the main defensive point south of Montreal, in mid-September. After the fort was captured in November, Carleton abandoned Montreal, fleeing to Quebec City
, and Montgomery took control of the city before heading for Quebec with an army much reduced in size by expiring enlistments. There he joined Arnold, who had left Cambridge in early September on an arduous trek through the wilderness that left his surviving troops starving and lacking in many supplies and equipment.
These forces joined before Quebec City in December, where they assaulted the city in a snowstorm on the last day of the year. The battle was a disastrous defeat for the Americans; Montgomery was killed and Arnold wounded, and the city's defenders suffered few casualties. Arnold then conducted an ineffectual siege on the city, during which Loyalist sentiments were boosted by successful propaganda campaigns, and General David Wooster's blunt administration of Montreal served to annoy both supporters and detractors of the Americans.