A type of oak tree that once flourished on Vimy Ridge in France will soon be sending down roots in Chilliwack.
A Vimy oak will be the focus of a ceremonial planting Wednesday in the Canada Education Park to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
City of Chilliwack has taken reception of a commemorative Vimy Oak tree so members of the public are invited to attend the tree planting event, along the Legacy Trail on November 1 at 10 am.
The tree will provide a lasting tribute to Vimy, the battle won with the technical and tactical proficiency of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, in what some consider a nation-cementing engagement.
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 picked up a handful of acorns from a half-buried oak tree and sent them to be planted in Ontario at his family farm, which he called, Vimy Oaks Farm.
Those souvenir acorns grew into majestic oaks that still stand.
The non-profit Vimy Oaks Legacy Corporation is repatriating some of the 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. They are also distributing Vimy saplings to groups willing to plant them at commemorative sites across Canada, the way Chilliwack is.
“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.”
The Vimy Oak (Quercus robar) that will be planted along the Legacy Trail is a direct descendant from oak trees that once grew on Vimy Ridge. It is one being grown especially to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and in remembrance of all Canadians who fought in the First World War.
Tree planting Wednesday, November 1 , 10 a.m. along the Legacy Trail, parking at 45450 Petawawa Road, and to find the location of the trail, go here.
“Meandering through Garrison Crossing and The Canadian Educational Park and terminating at the Vedder River Rotary Trail, the Legacy Walk or trail commemorates the men and women who lived and worked at the former Canadian Forces Base Chilliwack from its inception in 1942 to its closure in 1995. Visitors and residents can walk the pathways and learn about the base’s history and the vital role it has played in Canada’s military.”