On April 9, 1917 in the midst of the First World War, the Canadian Corps in France moved against German defences on Vimy Ridge. The ridge was widely viewed as impregnable, but Canadian troops conquered it in one of the most spectacular Allied victories of the war. Today, that victory is widely embraced as a turning point in Canadian history, a major step in Canada’s evolution as a nation.
Canadian heroism in this battle helped convince the allies that Canada had matured as a political entity beyond the position of being a colony with some home rule autonomy. Canada was given a seat at the negotiating table that led to the Treaty of Versailles. This new status was the first significant step in a series of steps that eventually led to nation status with the autonomy over our foreign affairs.
The Young Citizens Foundation (then, The Encounters With Canada Support Foundation) is proud of the role that it played in subsidizing the registration fees for students from across the country so that they could attend the Encounters With Canada – ‘Vimy – Canada Becoming of Age’ theme weeks at the Terry Fox Canadian Youth Centre in Ottawa in both 2011 and 2012.