100 Days to Peace: Final days of First World War remembered
Achievements of Canadian Corps marked with exhibits, activities and presentations at Citadel Hill
Tourists mingled with men and women dressed as soldiers and medics at Citadel Hill in Halifax Saturday afternoon to kick off 100 Days to Peace, an event commemorating the final 100 days of the First World War.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the armistice. Achievements of the Canadian Corps are marked throughout the national historic site, including a full-scale trench installation. There are also activities and presentations to learn more about 1918 battle tactics.
"It would have been actually after the war they came up with the term 100 days when they realized it had been 100 days," explained Hal Thompson, who works with Parks Canada.
"It typically starts at the Battle of Amiens in France which is Aug. 8, 1918. But we sometimes use Aug. 4 as the first day because that is exactly 100 days until Nov. 11, the armistice, which of course became Remembrance Day."
Thompson said it's sometimes called Canada's 100 Days because the Canadian Corps was the spearhead for breaking the German defence lines.
"When they attacked the Germans at Amiens, the didn't expect the victory there to be so decisive. So they just kept going for 100 days until the war ended. It's not well known," Thompson said.
"People know about Vimy Ridge, but really most military historians consider the 100 days the greatest achievement of the Canadian Corps."
At the time, Canada was part of the British army. When Britain went to war, the Dominion of Canada — as it was known then — automatically did too.
"By the end of the 100 days, the Canadian Corps had done so well and proven itself so many times and given so many lives that at the treaty negotiations in Paris later we got our own seat at the table, we weren't just under Britain anymore," Thompson said.
With file from Stephanie Blanchet