START­ING POINT

New vis­i­tor’s cen­tre to open at Vimy Ridge.

Canada's History - - VIMY 100 - — Kate Jaimet

A new cen­tre that ex­plores Canada’s role in the First World War opens at Vimy Ridge, France, on April 9, 2017 — ex­actly one hun­dred years af­ter the fa­mous bat­tle.

The cen­tre will in­clude ar­ti­facts, let­ters from sol­diers and their fam­i­lies, in­ter­pre­tive texts, and pro­jec­tions of his­tor­i­cal images. One wall of the build­ing will in­cor­po­rate a panoramic win­dow over­look­ing the trenches and craters of the bat­tle­field.

The cen­tre will also tell the story of the Vimy Memo­rial, cre­ated by Cana­dian sculp­tor Wal­ter All­ward.

“It’s a start­ing point to what we hope will be a two- to three-hour ex­pe­ri­ence on-site,” said Jeremy Di­a­mond, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Vimy Foun­da­tion.

“You’ll be pre­pared to go into the tun­nels — they have trenches on-site as well — and then a short walk over to the mon­u­ment to read the names of those that died in the First World War with no known grave in France.”

The Vimy Foun­da­tion pro­motes pub­lic aware­ness of Canada's Great War his­tory and was in­stru­men­tal in the cen­tre's cre­ation. As many as fifty thou­sand peo­ple are ex­pected to at­tend the one hun­dredth-an­niver­sary cer­e­mony at Vimy Ridge.

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