More than 20,000 people, a lot of them Canadians, attended a solemn ceremony Sunday to commemorate a World War I battle in northern France that remains indelibly etched on Canada's national identity 100 years after it happened.
Dozens of Orillia-area high school students are in France to attend the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Vimy was not the most strategically significant of Canada's World War One battles but was the first time that military units from across the country fought together for the first time.
The Prince of Wales described their efforts as "an extraordinary example of selflessness for our future generations". And we thank every Canadian who has answered the call to serve for their selflessness and sacrifice.
"The soaring monument at Vimy Ridge stands at the site of a decisive victory".
"He gave me his helmet and it got lost in all the moves but it had a ding in it and I asked him, "what happened, grandpa?' and he said "well, I got shot at" and I said 'well, what'd you do?' and he said, 'I had to kill a guy", said Wally Patterson, who's grandfather fought in the battle.
"As I see the faces gathered here - veterans, soldiers, caregivers, so many young people - I can't help but feel a torch is being passed", Trudeau said in his speech. "This being a hundred years, that's huge for everyone to remember", said Lloyd Cull, president of Branch 24. And we must believe it: "Never again".
Chilliwack paused to remember Sunday the sacrifices that were made 100 years ago on the muddy slopes of Vimy Ridge, in a victory that has come to define Canada.
France votes in the first round of the presidential election in two weeks time with the controversial politician expected to reach the run-off. Yes, Vimy's soldiers are telling us nationalism only leads to war and fundamentalism to destruction. "This victory forged the birth of a national Canadian identity".
The troops practised in dummy Germany trenches and a pinpoint British artillery bombardment allowed the men to advance behind the raining shells.
The sound of a bugler playing Last Post rang out from the steps of St. Catharines city hall Saturday morning.