Bruce Power helped send a group of Métis youths and veterans to Ottawa to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, one of the defining battles of the First World War.
“This was an excellent opportunity for Métis youths to witness and honour the great contributions to Canada by Métis veterans,” said Joseph Paquette, Métis Nation of Ontario Veterans Council President. “We appreciate Bruce Power’s support to assist us in taking part in this important event.”
Bruce Power contributed $25,000 to the trip from its Indigenous Community Investment fund.
“We commend the Métis Nation of Ontario for its role in honouring the sacrifices of our military veterans and we are pleased to offer our assistance for this worthy endeavor,” said James Scongack, Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Environment.
The events in Ottawa included an overnight vigil on April 8 to honour the Canadian soldiers who waited in the cold, wet tunnels and trenches on the night of April 8, 1917, for the Battle of Vimy Ridge to begin. On Sunday, April 9, the official commemorative ceremony took place with sentries being posted at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was followed by musical and theatrical performances, as well as an Indigenous smudging ceremony.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge began at 5:30 a.m. on April 9, 1917, when the first wave of Canadian soldiers attacked through snow and sleet into the face of deadly machine gun fire. Canadian battalions suffered great numbers of casualties, but two days later, the Germans were forced to withdraw and the Battle of Vimy Ridge was over. Canadians would act with courage throughout the battle and four Canadian soldiers would earn the Victoria Cross, the highest medal for military valour.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge came at a heavy cost as the 100,000 Canadians who served there suffered more than 10,600 casualties, nearly 3,600 of which were fatal. Regiments from coast-to-coast saw action together in a distinctly Canadian triumph, helping create a new and stronger sense of national identity in our country. Métis soldiers were among those who gave their lives in this conflict.