Seven Wonders of Canada
The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is one of Canada's most important overseas war memorials. It was constructed as the national memorial for those Canadians who gave their lives in the First World War. It's located in France, on the site of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The memorial stands atop Hill 145, near the towns of Vimy and Givenchy-en-Gohelle.
France deemed the area surrounding the monument, about 1 km², to be Canadian territory in 1922, as an expression of gratitude to the Canadian people for their sacrifice during the war and for capturing Vimy Ridge in April 1917.
Marylin Brady (0:29)
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Vimy is all the more wondrous because it isn't a gift we were given - it's something Canadians earned. It's about what our country, the whole country, has accomplished together, the values and the virtues that we take with us every time we take a step on foreign soil, and about what it's safe to dream to do - the impossible.
The two pylons of the monument gleam in the sunshine above the Douai Plain in Northern France signifying the bond between the two countries and the sacrifice Canadians made to take the Ridge during the Great War. The capture of Vimy is a defining moment in establishing our Canadian identity.
Brian G. Butler
Even though it doesn't stand in Canada, it is on land granted for all time by the French nation to the people of Canada. It is a place where may people believe the hard work, planning and sacrifice of so many Canadians, proved to the world that we were a Nation, an equal on the international stage, and not just a colony of the British Empire.
Created by Canadian sculptor Walter Seymour Allward, the area around it was designated Canadian territory by France in gratitude for our efforts in the war.
It is impossible to not be touched with pride for this great nation after seeing the carvings by Canadian soldiers in the tunnels and trenches, many featuring the maple leaf which had yet to become such a famous symbol for us.
A memorial stands there a symbol of Canadian struggle and coming of age in the Great War, earning Canada a separate seat in the Versailles Treaty. It is also original from the other suggestions as it is a symbol of Canada that is overseas.
Rare is the Canadian visiting Vimy who is not inspired by the self-sacrifice it represents - an obligation of the living to remember those who died securing the country we, by birth or adoption, cherish. Nor can anyone who walks through the trenches and eerily unnatural scarred battle field be untouched by the horrors of war. The Vimy Memorial somehow reflects something about ourselves.
I visited there last year and was truly humbled by the experience. From the stunning war memorial to the realiziation that in large part, Canada became a nation on the backs of the soldiers at Vimy, one can not leave Vimy without being profoundly altered. Even though it is located in France, the land belongs to Canada, and Canadians fought hard for it.
The monument's towering pylons and the evocative statues designed by Canadian sculptor and architect Walter Allward, represent some of the attributes which are integral to our country today: Truth, Knowledge, Gallantry and Sympathy.