100 years of Remembrance

Honouring Remembrance Day in Victoria a century after the 1918 armistice

Stock image via Pixabay.

One hundred years ago, in a train car in the Forest of Compiègne, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the armistice was signed that ended the First World War.

First observed by the British Commonwealth as Armistice Day in 1919, Remembrance Day is still a day when Canadians gather to honour and mourn the lives lost in war.

This is a particularly important Remembrance Day for Canadians. It marks a century since Canada’s Hundred Days, when Canadian troops were the vanguard of the final Hundred Days Offensive of the First World War.

WWI was a baptism by fire for Canada, with Canadian troops proving themselves as formidable fighting formations.

The attack on Vimy Ridge that led to the infamous Canadian victory was a formative experience for the young nation. Brigadier-General A. E. Ross would later say that “in those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation.”

To this day, Vimy Ridge and the surrounding land are Canadian territory, gifted by the French government in 1922.

In Victoria, WWI was met with enthusiasm, with nearly 497 Victoria High School alumni volunteering for service. 97 of those individuals would never come home.

This is a particularly important Remembrance Day for Canadians. It marks a century since Canada’s Hundred Days, when Canadian troops were the vanguard of the final Hundred Days Offensive of the First World War.

Of the 650 000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders to serve in WWI, 66 000 lost their lives. WWII, the first war that Canada joined independently of Britain, claimed 45 000 of the one million Canadians who served.

Canadian troops have served in the Korean war, the Gulf War, and in Afghanistan. There are also Canadians involved in the ongoing fight against ISIS.

Victoria has a rich military history. The 5th (B.C.) Field Artillery Regiment, Canadian Scottish (Princess Mary’s) Regiment, and 39 Service Battalion are still located at the Bay Street and Ashton Armouries, and the Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt is home port to Maritime Forces Pacific and Joint Task Force Pacific Headquarters.

For those who wish to observe two minutes of silence at a public Remembrance Day ceremony, Victoria has several options:

  • B.C. Legislative Assembly Remembrance Day ceremony, 10:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m. The ceremony is held at the Cenotaph in front of the Parliament buildings, and is preceded by a parade on Wharf, Government, Belville, and Menzies streets.
  • Remembrance Day at Royal Roads University, 10:40 a.m. The Vancouver Ex-Cadet Club is hosting a service in the Italian Garden. The service is open to the public and will conclude with refreshments at Hatley Castle.
  • Remembrance Day ceremony at the Oak Bay Cenotaph, 10:55 a.m.
  • Esquimalt Remembrance Day service at the Memorial Park Cenotaph, 10:45 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
  • Another event, following the traditional morning ceremonies, is the CapriCCio Vocal Ensemble’s In Remembrance concert at Christ Church Cathedral at 2:00 p.m.

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