Beaverbrook Vimy Prize
This past summer I had the opportunity to participate in a historical program organized by the Vimy Foundation, which is based here in Montreal, and as the name suggests it is a charity dedicated to spreading awareness and educating people on Canada’s contributions to the World Wars, through interactive programs, educational campaigns, and other methods. I was selected, along with sixteen other students, to receive the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize, which included ten days of travel to France, Belgium and the Netherlands visiting important historical sites related to the First and Second World Wars. Prior to leaving we were organized in groups to discuss various war topics and also had to individually select a soldier or nurse who served during either of the wars to research on our own. Our research was presented to the rest of the group at the different sites that we visited.
This past summer I had the opportunity to participate in a historical program organized by the Vimy Foundation, which is based here in Montreal, and as the name suggests it is a charity dedicated to spreading awareness and educating people on Canada’s contributions to the World Wars, through interactive programs, educational campaigns, and other methods.
I have been passionately interested in history, particularly military history, since I was nine years old; so, this was an amazing opportunity for me and one that I will never forget. Many people say that seeing a battlefield brings a whole different perspective about the place than simply reading about the battle, and I can definitely say this is true for me. We visited many different places, such as: Vimy Ridge, Juno Beach, Dieppe, Beaumont-Hamel and Ypres. I will never forget the sight at Beaumont-Hamel, where the Newfoundland Regiment advanced on the first day of the Battle of the Somme; seeing the flags placed to mark the spot where of the 780 men who participated in the attack, only 110 made it back unscathed, was very memorable. We also participated in a few events such as the Last Post Cemetery at the Menin Gate in Ypres, the 80th Anniversary of the Dieppe Landings, and the Sunset March along the Wall Crossing bridge. One of the most memorable experience I had was the memorial ceremony at of the Dieppe Landings.
Walking into the water on Juno Beach and collecting rocks, gazing up at the Vimy Memorial and reflecting across the thousands of tombstones at the different war cemeteries was an awe inspiring moment for me because it really made me feel grateful for the sacrifice that was made so that a I could live free. Being part of this program reaffirmed the importance for all of us to never forget and not just on November 11th of each year. I will also never forget my grade 10 history teacher, Ms. Chantal Clabrough, who told our class about this unique experience and supported me throughout the process.
For a fuller understanding of the Beaverbrook Prize experience the blog written by our group is still available on the Vimy Foundation website: https://vimyfoundation.ca/news/bvp-2023-recipients-blogs.