Vimy Ridge

The Canadian Memorial

The Canadian Memorial: 09 April 2007

After nearly two years of renovation work the Canadian Memorial looks gloriously pristine. The surrounding area was re-sown with grass and new entrance gates have been added.

For those of you who remember the old lay-out, the Visitors' Centre is now located in the car park adjacent to the trenches and tunnel entrance.

Thousands of Canadians joined local French people for the dedication ceremony on 9 April 2007 under an almost cloudless sky - a stark contrast to the snow driven day 90 years before.

Figures on the pylon

Figures on the pylon

 

Restored to its former glory: 2007

The Conservation Work

The Canadian Memorial: Summer 2005

The Canadian Memorial: Summer 2005

In the seventy odd years, since the monument's inauguration, time and in particular the weather took a severe toll on the stonework.

In 2005 the memorial was closed to further visitors and the entire edifice placed under wraps whilst Belgian craftsmen got to work on the cleaning process.

The Canadian Memorial: Summer 2005

Pieces removed for renovation

Those who have visited the ridge in all seasons will be aware that whilst the summer can be very hot, the winters are wet and cold and there is the all pervasive wind to contend with.

There is little doubt however that the biggest threat to the monument was/is: water.

The rain was getting into the stone, slowly dissolving it as it ran through crevices. As it resurfaced on the exterior it left lime traces and these in some places completely obscured the names on the Memorial to the Missing.

Although restoration work had been carried out in the past, it had never been sufficient to take on the enormity of the problem.

Damaged  blocks from the Memorial to the Missing

Damaged blocks from the Memorial to the Missing

The Memorial to the Missing has been re-worked and methods of combating the seasonal changes in temperature and humidity to the monument as a whole addressed.

The programme to restore Vimy to its former glory was part of the Canadian Battlefield Memorials Restoration Project. This was led by Canada's Department of Veterans Affairs in cooperation with other Canadian departments, the CWGC, consultants and specialists in military history.

In 1997 the Memorial was designated a Canadian Historic Site, and all due care will be taken to ensure that Walter Allward's original design and conception are honoured.

 

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