People gathered under cloudy skies Wednesday morning to take part in a special tree-planting ceremony along the Legacy Trail in Chilliwack near the Vedder River.
The tree, a Vimy Oak (Quercus robar) that was planted that morning by Mayor Sharon Gaetz and councillor Chris Kloot, is a direct descendant from oak trees that once grew on Vimy Ridge.
April marked the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Since that time, the City of Chilliwack received the commemorative Vimy Oak tree which will provide a lasting memorial to the sacrifices made by Canada’s brave soldiers in the First World War.
After the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Leslie Miller, a Canadian solider, realized that Canada had accomplished something great and looked around for a souvenir. He collected a handful of acorns from a half buried oak tree and sent them home to be planted in Ontario at his family farm, which he called Vimy Oaks Farm. They grew into majestic oaks that still stand today.
The non-profit Vimy Oaks Legacy Corporation is repatriating offspring of these descendant oaks back to Vimy Ridge to be planted in Vimy Foundation Centennial Park, adjacent to the Canadian national Vimy Memorial site. In addition, they are distributing Vimy Oak saplings to qualifying organizations that will plant them at commemorative sites across Canada.
“The Battle of Vimy Ridge is a significant moment in Canadian history and it is important for us to remember the sacrifices made by Canadian soldiers during the First World War,” said Mayor Gaetz. “This Vimy Oak tree will grow and serve our community as a reminder of their sacrifices for years to come.”