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Canadian National Vimy Memorial

Canadian National Vimy Memorial

Canadian National Vimy Memorial

The two 30-metre-high pylons of the Canadian War Memorial in Vimy, France, commemorate Canadian soldiers who died during World War I.

The monument was erected in the 1920s on the ridge of Vimy. There, in 1917, the Battle of Vimy Ridge took place that claimed the lives of more than 3,500 Canadian soldiers.

A staggering number, yet it is dwarfed by the more than 11,000 names inscribed on the walls of the monument can Canadians who died in France, but whose graves are unknown.

Construction of the monument took no less than 11 years, not surprising when you know that the pedestal rests on a foundation of over 11,000 tonnes of reinforced concrete. In turn, the pylons and the pedestal itself required 6,000 tonnes of limestone. A daring feat. The monument was inaugurated in 1936.

Mourning nation

A statue of a woman in a cloak looks down on a sarcophagus with her head bowed, a symbol of the Canadian nation mourning its dead. Towards the pylons are statues of a grieving parent couple, a father and mother on each side of the steps.

Visible from afar 

On a clear day, the monument can be seen from Kemmelberg in West Flanders. From the hill, by the way, you have a nice view of the coal basin of northern France and can see, among other things, the two slag heaps of the Loos-en-Gohelle coal mine, the highest mine slag heaps in Europe. 

The Canadian war memorial, along with the West Flanders monuments, has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site since 2023. At the foot of the monument, you will also find some renovated trenches from the Battle of Vimy. Part of the woods is inaccessible as there is still ammunition underground.

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