This photo shows an immense white stone monument framed against a blue sky. At the left, two pillars on a vast rectangular base soar nearly 40 metres above the ground. A number of smaller allegorical sculptures adorn the monument.

Walter S. Allward

(Toronto 1876 – Toronto 1955)

 

Canadian National Vimy Memorial

1922-1936

White limestone
40 x 75 m
Vimy Ridge National Historic Site of Canada (France)
Photo: Veterans Affairs Canada


The Canadian National Vimy Memorial commemorates the Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge and honours the memory of Canadian soldiers killed in France during World War I. Erected on the crest of the ridge, the towering monument dominates the site of the famous battle, which is considered a founding event of the Canadian nation. It includes twenty allegorical figures set around two pillars symbolizing France and Canada. The central figure, Canada Bereft, represents a woman mourning her dead, recalling representations of the grieving Virgin. The base of the monument is inscribed with the names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers who died in France but have no known grave.


On April 12, 1917, despite heavy losses, the Canadian Corps won the Battle of Vimy Ridge. This strategic victory gave Canadians a sense of pride and played an important part in consolidating the nation in the aftermath of World War I. In 1922, Walter S. Allward, a Toronto sculptor specializing in public monuments, was commissioned to create a memorial honouring the patriotic sacrifice of the fallen soldiers. The memorial, which brought the artist to fame, was dedicated on July 26, 1936, by King Edward VIII before a crowd of 100,000 people.

CANADIAN NATIONAL VIMY MEMORIAL

Parc mémorial canadien
Chemin des Canadiens, 55 road
62580 Vimy
France
+33 3 21 50 68 68

In November 2012, the Bank of Canada issued a new $20 banknote. The two pillars of the Vimy Memorial appear on the back of the bill, replacing the sculptures by the Haida artist Bill Reid pictured on the previous series.

Bank of Canada

 

Canadian $20 banknote

Issued in 2012

Polymer series

Theme: Canadian National Vimy Memorial

Reproduced with the permission of the Bank of Canada