Montreal, April 4, 2017 – VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) has partnered with the Vimy Foundation (the Foundation) to help commemorate the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge this week, in order to mark this pivotal event from World War I and honour the military community. Throughout the month of April, trains in the Québec City-Windsor Corridor will don a special logo created to commemorate the event, which includes the Vimy monument and the date of the Battle. From April 3 to 9 – VIA Rail will distribute Vimy monument pins to passengers onboard certain trains. This initiative affirms VIA Rail’s support for the Foundation, which has, among other projects, contributed to building a new Education Centre for Canadian First World War History and the 100th anniversary of victory at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France. The inauguration of the new Centre, built near the current Canadian commemorative monument, will be held on April 8 as part of the Vimy commemoration.
"April 9th will be the 100th anniversary of a moment that helped shape the Canada we know today: the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Commemorative ceremonies in Canada and in France will honour the courage and sacrifice of the Canadians who served in that conflict, especially of those who gave their lives."
- Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
“The Battle of Vimy Ridge has remained such a key part of our collective understanding as a country not only because it was a military victory, but because many of the core Canadian values were a contributing factor to its success: leadership, innovation, teamwork. So many Canadians across the country and the globe are coming together on April 9, to commemorate the Battle and the sacrifice. Through their commitment, Via Rail is helping spread awareness of Vimy, and Canada’s coming of age.”
-Jeremy Diamond, Executive Director of the Vimy Foundation.
“VIA Rail’s support for the Vimy Foundation reflects our continued commitment to pay tribute to the courage and determination of Canada's military community. By handing out these pins to our passengers and displaying the Vimy monument on our trains, we perform our duty of remembrance. Lest we forget!”
- Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail Canada
VIA Rail and the military community
Maintaining a long and proud tradition of supporting members of the military and veteran communities, VIA Rail has become involved with a number of military organizations. In addition to its involvement with the Vimy Foundation, the Corporation supports the military community through partnerships with the Royal Canadian Legion’s national Poppy Campaign, True Patriot Love, Wounded Warriors Canada, Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services and the Canadian Army Run. Over the past few years, VIA Rail has also entered into several partnerships with organizations that help former Canadian military members make the transition to civilian life, such as the Canada Company Military Employment Transition Program and the Commissionaire’s MISSION EMPLOI.
VIA Rail also offers a 25% discount on the best available fare to members of the Canadian Forces, as well as veterans and their families. Since 2010, over 160,000 military personnel have taken advantage of this offer and travelled on VIA Rail trains.
More recently, VIA Rail’s President and Chief Executive Officer accepted the appointment of Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the Régiment de Maisonneuve, as well as a mandate to strengthen the essential link between the military and Montréal's civilian community, and promote the esprit de corps.
On March 18, 2017, VIA Rail was honoured as the best employer in Québec by the Canadian Forces Liaison Council (CFLC). Over the past few years, VIA Rail has increased its efforts to support Canada’s Reserve Forces and encourage more veterans to join its staff. The Crown Corporation has, among other initiatives, worked with its reservist employees to implement a new leave policy allowing them to continue their military training or participate in temporary missions during military operations in Canada and abroad.
For more information on VIA Rail initiatives, visit its military community web site at: http://career.viarail.ca/en/why-choose-us/veterans-program.
About the Vimy Foundation
The Vimy Foundation is a charitable foundation whose mission is to preserve and promote Canada’s First World War legacy, best symbolized with the victory at Vimy Ridge in April 1917. The Foundation is dedicated to creating opportunities for young Canadians to learn about this legacy, and has developed education programs to help youth learn more about the sacrifices made by an entire generation 100 years ago. The Vimy Pilgrimage Award and the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize scholarship programs offer students the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Canada’s history, travelling to Europe each year to visit the important sites of Canada’s First and Second World War history.
On April 8, 2017, the Vimy Foundation in partnership with Veteran Affairs Canada will be unveiling of state-of-the-art Vimy Visitor Education Centre ($5 million raised by generous donations to the Vimy Foundation while $5 million was committed by the Government of Canada) near the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. The site will be open to the public on April 10.
The Visitor Education Centre at Vimy will give visitors context as to why Canadians fought and died there; why Vimy remains special to the Canadian soul; and how Vimy, and other First World War battles at which Canadians fought, forever altered Canada’s status on the world stage.
About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail (viarail.ca) and its 2,600 employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking over 400 communities across Canada, and many more communities through intermodal partnerships, and safely transports nearly four million passengers annually. The Corporation was awarded seven Safety Awards by the Railway Association of Canada over the last eight years. For more information, visit: www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail.