- Title: Canada prepares for major WW1 centenary commemorations at Vimy Ridge
- Date: 7th April 2017
- Summary: VIMY, FRANCE (FILE - APRIL 7, 2007) (REUTERS) CANONS BEING FIRED IN MILITARY CEREMONY VARIOUS OF CANADIAN TROOPS' BRASS BAND MARCHING
- Embargoed: 21st April 2017 12:38
- Keywords: Vimy France Canada WWI First World War World War memorial ceremony Trudeau Prince Duke of Cambridge Empire battle Arras
- Location: UNKNOWN LOCATION AND VIMY, FRANCE
- City: UNKNOWN LOCATION AND VIMY, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA0046BEHQVB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Canada is preparing major commemorations to mark the centenary of World War One's Battle of Vimy Ridge in northern France this Sunday (April 9).
On that day, then Easter Monday in 1917, more than 3,000 Canadian soldiers, many of them not even 20 years old, lost their lives in a hard-fought battle as part of the former British Empire against the German forces in which they successfully captured the ridge.
The ceremony is expected to be attended by 25,000 people, according to Veteran's Affairs Canada representative Zoltan Csepregi, who comes from Ottawa, Ontario. Around 17,000 Canadians have registered for the event, many of whom have arrived in France in recent days.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the country's Governor-General David Johnston, and French President Francois Hollande as well as the Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry are all due to attend.
The white memorial at the heart of the former battlefield rises high, and is adorned with towering statues said to represent Mother Canada mourning the loss of her children.
The surrounding landscape is ridden with craters, alongside preserved trenches and multiple cemeteries, all now acting as surviving proof of the battle that took place there. The ridge provides sweeping views over the region, highlighting its strategic significance.
Some 300 media organisations have been accredited for Sunday's event, which has been in the planning since December.
The Battle has gained national prominence in Canadian history for being the first time all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces fought together.
Towns and villages surrounding Vimy have been adorned with the flags of France, Canada and Britain, as locals honour those who gave their lives one hundred years ago.
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