Topic: Vimy Pilgrimage
to the Unveiling of Canada's Memorial
and to the Battlefields
of France and Belgium
July – 1936
The above image shows a souvenir envelope made available to Canadians on the Vimy Pilgrimage in July, 1936, a trans-Atlantic trip undertaken by 6000 Canadian for the unveiling of the Vimy Memorial. This was example mailed from the S.S. Montrose, one of five liners carrying the Pilgrims to Europe, at Quebec on the day of her sailing (16 Jul 1936). The envelope contained an insert card, the text of which follows:
Canada's National War Memorial
Canada's National War Memorial measures 200 feet square and is 125 feet in height. It occupies the central position on Vimy Ridge in France.
This magnificent structure was designed by Mr Walter S. Allward, Canadian Architect and Sculptor, in 1921, under whose supervision the erection has been completed.
His Majesty King Edward VIII will unveil the Memorial at the ceremony, which will take place on July 26th, 1936, in the presence of 6.000 Canadians who will participate in a solemn pilgrimage to Europe to pay homage to those who made the supreme sacrifice.
Symbolism of Vimy Memorial
At the base of the strong, impregnable walls of defence are the Defenders, one group showing the breaking of the Sword, the other the Sympathy of the Canadians for the Helpless. Above these are the mouths of the guns covered with olive and laurels. On the wall stands an heroic figure of Canada brooding over the graves of her valiant dead. Below is suggested a grave with a helmet, laurels, etc. Behind her stand pylons symbolizing the two forces Canadian and French, while between at the base of these is the Spirit of Sacrifice who, giving all, throws the torch to his Comrade. Looking up they see the figures of Peace, Justice, Truth and Knowledge, etc., for which they fought, chanting the hymn of Peace Around the figures are the shields of Britain, Canada and France. On the outside of the pylons is the Cross.
On the walls are inscribed the names of 11,285 missing Canadians. That is, those known to be dead but having no known graves.