FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is paying tribute to Canadian and New Brunswick veterans who took part in the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917 by supporting the creation of a park in their honour.

The Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture provided funding of $25,000 to the Vimy Foundation to support the Vimy Centennial Park in France.

“The New Brunswick combatants who played an important role in the Battle of Vimy Ridge fully deserve our recognition for their courage and determination,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister John Ames. “They contributed to pave the way for a victory of the Allied countries and therefore strengthened the status of Canada as an independent nation. The provincial government is proud to support the creation of this park honouring Canadian combatants and is honoured that the support from the province is acknowledged on one of the benches in the park and on the wall dedicated to the main donators.”

The Vimy Foundation is a Canadian charity, and its mission is to preserve and promote Canada’s First World War legacy.

“During the First World War, New Brunswick supported the war effort in great numbers and facilitated the raising and mobilization of at least nine separate battalions, with Camp Sussex a common training ground for many before they went overseas,” said the foundation’s executive director Jeremy Diamond. “Thus many of the 100,000 men who fought at the Battle of Vimy Ridge were either from or had trained in New Brunswick. The Vimy Foundation Centennial Park, with this support from the Province of New Brunswick, will help ensure that the honour and memory of the New Brunswickers and Canadians who fought on the ridge at Vimy will never be forgotten. The Centennial Bench of the Province of New Brunswick will provide a quiet space for reflection and remembrance for visitors to Vimy for years to come.”

In gratitude for the sacrifices made by Canada, which suffered 60,000 fatalities during this war, France gave Canada the 107 hectares of land around Vimy Ridge to build and maintain the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, which is today considered one of Canada’s most important war memorials. Located beside the memorial, the park will feature benches and places to reflect, as well as 100 Vimy oaks, marking the centennial of this battle.

The official opening of the park is scheduled for this November, in time for the 100th anniversary celebration of the end of the First World War.