First World War Centenary Gala Raises $200,000 for Operation Veteran and the Poppy Trust FundMay 1, 2014
Flanked by tanks, artillery pieces and aircraft, more than 350 corporate patrons and private donors gathered in the LeBreton Gallery on the evening of April 8, 2014 for the Canadian War Museum’s First World War Centenary Gala. The guests commemorated the extraordinary service of Canadians during the First World War while netting more than $200,000 to support veterans and their families and to give students across the country the chance to experience First World War artifacts.
Sponsored by BMO Financial Group, Ocean Capital Investments, Rx&D and Distinction, and with distinguished guests including the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Thomas Lawson, the gala marked the official launch of the Canadian War Museum’s multi-year program of exhibitions and events commemorating Canada’s experience of what contemporaries called the Great War.
Assisting veterans and educating youth
Operation Veteran, founded in 2009 by Dr. Paul Kavanagh in association with the Canadian War Museum, offers complimentary meals to veterans visiting the Museum. It also develops innovative educational programs like Supply Line, which sends out trunks filled with First World War artifacts (such as this trench art shown here) to schools across the country.
The Royal Canadian Legion’s Poppy Trust Fund offers financial assistance to veterans and their families for necessities such as shelter, food, fuel, clothing, prescription medicine and transportation.
On the eve of Vimy
The timing of the gala was significant. As Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History, noted in his opening remarks: “Ninety-seven years ago tonight, four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force huddled in their trenches, waiting for the signal to go over the top. Their mission was to take Vimy Ridge, and at great cost, they succeeded.
Canada’s victory at Vimy was a touchstone in our evolution from a British colony into a proud, sovereign nation.” For Minister Glover, the gala was “an opportunity to cherish the memories of the war’s fallen and its veterans whose sacrifices made Canada strong and proud.”
Keynote speaker Margaret MacMillan, O.C., best-selling historian of the First World War and an Oxford professor, spoke eloquently of the fragility of peace, and of how quickly and heedlessly peace can transform into war.
Tim Cook, First World War historian at the Museum and award-winning author stated: “History challenges us; it forces us to reconsider what we know. But it can bring great knowledge, a better sense of who we are, of what we were and what we might strive for, together. Here at the Canadian War Museum, we try to embrace that complexity and to share with all Canadians these important stories.” To listen to Tim Cook’s entire speech:
Gala guests were also offered exclusive previews of the Museum’s inaugural centenary exhibitions: Transformations – A. Y. Jackson and Otto Dix and Witness – Canadian Art of the First World War, presented by TD Bank Group.
If you would like to make a donation to the First World War Centenary Fund, please contact us at 1-800-256-6031 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Honorary Gala Co-Chairs
- Lieutenant-General (Ret’d) Bill Leach, C.M.M., C.D., Chair of the Board of Trustees, Canadian Museum of History
- Gordon Moore, Dominion President, The Royal Canadian Legion
Gala Committee Members
- Dr. Paul Kavanagh, Founder, Operation Veteran
- Chantal Schryer, Vice-President, Corporate Affairs, Canadian Museum of History
- Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret’d) Bud Walsh, C.D.
- Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret’d) Brad White, C.D., Dominion Secretary, The Royal Canadian Legion
- Yasmine Mingay, Manager, Communications, Corporate Affairs, Canadian War Museum
- Bronwen Dearlove, Major Gifts Officer, Development, Canadian War Museum