Echoes of Vimy at the Quebec Citadel Museum

Photo: Shirley Nadeau

Lt-Col Philippe Bourque, commander of the 2e Bataillon of the Royal 22e Régiment and the Quebec Citadel and president of the board of directors of Museum of the R22eR, Dany Hamel, director of the Museum, and Chief Warrant Officer Éric Poissan, the regimental sergeant major of the 2R22eR, stand before the model of the Vimy Ridge battlefield at the newly-opened Echoes of Vimy exhibit.

During the First World War, also known as the Great War, soldiers of the Canadian Corps fought against the German Army to take back Vimy Ridge, from April 9 to 12, 1917.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle, the Museum of the Royal 22e Régiment (R22eR) in the Citadel of Quebec has opened a new exhibit entitled Echoes of Vimy, which shows the different stages of the battle and the effects of it on Canadians. 

Period photographs, artefacts, eye-witness stories and a video montage show visitors the reality of a soldier’s life during the Battle. A model built for the exhibit by Michel Bergeron illustrates the organization of the Canadian troops before the assault. The heroes of Vimy and the repercussions of the Canadian victory in north-east France are also highlighted. 

The Canadians paid a heavy price for the victory at Vimy with 10,602 casualties, including 3,598 dead. On the German side, a total of 20,000 were wounded or killed. 

The Cross of Vimy, which now stands within the walls of the Citadelle, is a restoration of the original wooden cross which was built by the soldiers of the 2nd Canadian Division and 13th Infantry Brigade after the fighting ceased and placed on the Vimy battlefield in memory of their fallen comrades in 1917. 

Before the Vimy Ridge Memorial was built in France, the simple wooden cross was taken down, sent to Canada and installed at the Quebec Citadel, the home of the R22eR. Since 1927, an annual commemorative ceremony has been held at the Citadel on April 9 in honour of the sacrifices made by the Canadian Expeditionary Force.  

During the restoration of the cross in 1947, symbolic objects were placed within a brass shell in its cement base: the 22nd Battalion’s regimental insignia, the list of members who died in service, a story of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and Canadian coins. 

The Echoes of Vimy exhibit, developed and produced by the Museum of the Royal 22e Régiment, will be open to the public from April 6, 2017, to March 18, 2018. 

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(National Defence press release)  A 100-man guard from the 2nd Canadian Division, including members of the three Regular Forces battalions of the Royal 22e Régiment from Valcartier, commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge on Sunday, April 9, at the Quebec Citadel. Photo by Cpl Nathan Moulton, Imagery Valcartier