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Why Vimy Matters: The History of an Idea

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Learn how Vimy has been transformed over the past 100 years from a costly hard-fought battle into an enduring symbol of national courage and Canadian accomplishment.

One hundred years ago, in April 1917, Canadians distinguished themselves at Vimy Ridge. In addition to being the first battle in which all four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought, Vimy also represented the hard-won capture of a nearly impregnable ridge that had defeated all other Allied attempts.

In the century since the battle, Vimy has become enshrined as an iconic nation-building event in books, films and art. In this talk, renowned Canadian War Museum curator and author Tim Cook presents the biography of Vimy as an idea — exploring its birth, evolution, near-death and renaissance. Situating Vimy within the broader context of Canadian symbols, Cook will also discuss commemoration, the choice of Vimy Ridge for an overseas memorial and how the idea of Vimy continues to affect Canadians.

A presentation by Dr. Tim Cook, C.M., Canadian War Museum historian, followed by a live interview with Paul Kennedy, host of CBC Radio’s IDEAS.
This presentation will be recorded and broadcast in April on Ideas. For details:

In English with simultaneous translation.

Presented in conjunction with the with World at War – International Speaker Series, an annual series of academic events, presented by the Canadian War Museum, to mark the centenary of the First World War. The events, presented in a variety of formats, provide an opportunity for the public to learn from leading Canadian and international experts about the war’s national and global reach, its cost and its legacies.

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English French
Official Partners, First World War Centenary
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