The Vimy Foundation

The Vimy Foundation is a Canadian charity that preserves and promotes Canada's First World War history, through education programs, awareness-building campaigns, and legacy projects.

As a centennial project to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War and the Armistice, the Vimy Foundation has built the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park, adjacent to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in northern France. This 4-acre commemorative park, opening November 9, 2018, will complement the surrounding area and be a reflective space for visitors to Vimy.

The park will feature 100 Vimy Oak trees. Back in 1917, Canadian soldier Leslie Miller collected acorns from the battlefield at Vimy Ridge and brought them back to Canada. A century later, the Vimy Foundation will repatriate these Vimy Oaks to France, where they will commemorate the living spirit of those who fought and testify to the intimate relationship between people and nature even in the most tragic circumstances.

A new publication from the Vimy Foundation, They Fought in Colour/La Guerre en couleur published by Dundurn Press, is a photographic exploration of Canada’s First World War experience presented for the first time in full, vibrant colour, with commentary from some of Canada’s leading public figures, including Paul Gross, Peter Mansbridge, Margaret Atwood, Tim Cook, and many others. Working with digital colourist Mark Truelove, the Vimy Foundation has added colour to many of these rarely seen photos from Canadian archives.

Colourizing the archival photos from a century earlier brings a new focus to our understanding of the First World War as we commemorate the centennial of the Armistice: it makes the soldier in the muddy trench, the nurse in the field hospital, and those who waited for them at home come to life. Immediately, their expressions, mannerisms, and feelings are familiar. They become real. They Fought Colour / La Guerre en couleur is available online and will be available for purchase at the Visitor Education Centre at Vimy in the near future.

Since its creation in 2006, the Vimy Foundation has worked to educate young people about the First World War. The Beaverbrook Vimy Prize and Vimy Pilgrimage Award programs award outstanding Canadian, British, and French secondary students with fully-funded immersive programs in France and Belgium, where they walk in the footsteps of history. Each year on these programs, students attend lectures, visit cemeteries and former battlefields, trenches and underground tunnels, and explore museums and monuments such as the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

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