The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston
Role and Responsibilities
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Visit to France

Governor General to Attend Commemorations for the
100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France 

OTTAWA—Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston will attend the commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, in France, from April 7 to 10, 2017.

“Sharon and I are deeply honoured to attend commemorative events related to this momentous occasion with Prime Minister Trudeau, President Hollande, and Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry,” His Excellency said. “On April 9, a century after the Battle of Vimy Ridge, we will stand with Canadians and with many of our friends to pay tribute to Canadian soldiers who bravely served in the hopes of building a better world. As we do so, we will rededicate ourselves to learning the lessons and significance of Vimy, and to remembering why, following the war, the world joined in peace to pledge ‘never again’. Lest we forget.”

Below is Their Excellencies’ detailed itinerary. All timings indicated are in local time zone.

Friday, April 7
Lille, France

9 a.m.
Arrival in France

Upon arrival, Their Excellencies will be greeted by Mr. Patrick Kanner, Minister of Urban Affairs, Sports and Youth, and by Mr. Graeme Clark, Minister Plenipotentiary and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Canada to the French Republic, and representatives from the French government.
Lille-Lesquin Airport
OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHERS ONLY

Friday, April 7
Arras, France

Their Excellencies attended a sound and light show, projected onto the Town Hall in the Place des Héros, in Arras, and presented by the Government of Canada to commemorate the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

5 p.m.
Viewing of Witness
Fields of Battle Through Canadian Eyes Exhibition
Upon arrival at the Musée des beaux-arts d’Arras, Their Excellencies will be greeted by Mr. Fabien Sudry, Prefect of Pas-de-Calais, Mr. Frédéric Leturque, Mayor of Arras; the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence; Mr. James Fleck, Acting Chair of the Canadian War Museum and Canadian Museum of History Board of Trustees; and Mr. Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian War Museum and the Canadian Museum of History.

In the presence of First World War historians Dr. Tim Cook and Dr. Melanie Morin-Pelletier, Their Excellencies will view Witness Fields of Battle Through Canadian Eyes, a travelling exhibit that features over 60 works of art, including masterpieces by Canadian artists A.Y. Jackson and Frederick Varley. It also portrays personal works created by soldiers posted in l’Artois in 1917 and sent to their families back home. Following the visit, the Governor General will deliver remarks.

Witness – Fields of Battle Through Canadian Eyes is developed by the Canadian War Museum  in collaboration with the Musée des beaux-arts d’Arras and the City of Arras, France, and is on display from March 18 to June 11, 2017, free of charge. For more information, visit www.warmuseum.caand www.warmuseum.ca/witness.
Le Réfectoire, Musée des beaux-arts d’Arras
OPEN TO ACCREDITED MEDIA
MEDIA CONTACT: Yasmine Mingay, Director Public Affairs, Canadian War Museum, 613-614-1195 (cell),
yasmine.mingay@warmuseum.ca

8 p.m.
Military Concert Given by Canadian and French Armed Forces
Their Excellencies will attend a military concert featuring the Canadian Armed Forces Band and members of La musique de l’Infanterie, during which musicians from both bands will perform a selection of military-style music.

This concert is hosted by the Government of Canada and the City of Arras to honour and remember our Canadian soldiers’ achievements and sacrifices during the First World War.
Place des Héros, Arras
OPEN TO MEDIA
MEDIA CONTACTS: Zoltan Csepregi, Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 343-998-9895 (cell), zoltan.csepregi@vac-acc.gc.ca, or Jennifer MacLeod, Communication Manager, Veterans Affairs Canada, 902-314-1166 (cell), jennifer.macleod@vac-acc.gc.ca

9 p.m.
Sound and Light Show
Their Excellencies will attend a sound and light show, presented by the Government of Canada to commemorate the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

The show, which will be projected onto the Town Hall in the Place des Héros, features key figures, events and achievements in Canadian history. It honours the sacrifices and success of all Canadian men and women who served or are currently serving our country. It also conveys the spirit of friendship and shared history between Canada and France, and reflects Canada’s cultural diversity.
Place des Héros, Arras
OPEN TO MEDIA
MEDIA CONTACTS: Zoltan Csepregi, Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada,
343-998-9895 (cell), zoltan.csepregi@vac-acc.gc.ca, or Jennifer MacLeod, Communication Manager, Veterans Affairs Canada, 902-314-1166 (cell), jennifer.macleod@vac-acc.gc.ca

Saturday, April 8
Vimy, France

6:50 a.m.
Indigenous Sunrise Ceremony

Their Excellencies will attend an Indigenous sunrise ceremony, which will feature ritualistic acts such as smudging, singing and dancing. It will be carried out mainly in Ojibway, with some elements presented in English and in French, by Knowledge Keeper Ed Neveau and his helper Madelain Hardisty-Neveau, both of the Hollow Water First Nation, in Manitoba.

The ceremony is a sacred ritual in First Nations culture and is used to express gratitude at the start of a new day, and a period of personal reflection or prayer to ask for strength, to reflect and to communicate with one’s Creator.
Canadian National Vimy Memorial, Vimy
OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHERS ONLY

Saturday, April 8
Souchez, France

10:30 a.m.
Opening of Vimy 1917: Canadians and the Underground War Exhibition
Their Excellencies will participate in the opening of Vimy 1917: Canadians and the Underground War. In honour of this inauguration, the Governor General will deliver remarks in the presence of French local authorities.

Presented by Le Département du Pas-de-Calais and created in partnership with Library and Archives Canada, the exhibit sheds light on a little-known aspect of the Great War: the underground war fought by Canadian soldiers. The three-dimensional model depicts the underground cavities dug in Artois and Picardy by some 800 Canadian soldiers trying to shield themselves from the deadly force of the artillery. While they waited between assaults, the soldiers left their mark in the form of graffiti and sculptures etched into the chalk walls.
For more information, visit www.lensvillehote.fr/vimycommemoration2017/canadien-traces-of-the-great-war-exhibition/?lang=en.
Lens 14-18 Centre d’Histoire Guerre et Paix, Souchez
OPEN TO MEDIA ONLY
MEDIA MUST CONFIRM THEIR ATTENDANCE: Luc Charpentier, Chief of Media Relations, Conseil départemental du Pas-de-Calais, +33 3.21.21.91.27, +33 6.67.29.21.58,
charpentier.luc@pasdecalais.fr

Saturday, April 8
Loos-en-Gohelle, France

As patron of the Hill 70 Memorial, the Governor General inaugurated this important monument, which pays tribute to the more than 9 000 Canadian soldiers who became casualties during the 10 days of fighting at Hill 70 and Lens in August 1917.

1:30 p.m.
Hill 70 Memorial Dedication Ceremony
Upon arrival, Their Excellencies will be greeted by Mr. Fabien Sudry, Prefect of Pas-de-Calais, Mr. Jean-François Caron, Mayor of Loos-en-Gohelle, the Honourable Harjit Singh Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, Mr. Nicolas Chapuis, Ambassador of France to Canada, General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, and Mr. Mark Hutchings, Chair of the Hill 70 Memorial. Their Excellencies will then proceed with the official ribbon-cutting to inaugurate this important monument. As patron of the Hill 70 Memorial, His Excellency will deliver a speech and lay a wreath on behalf of the people of Canada.

The Hill 70 Memorial stands on a former battlefield in Loos-en-Gohelle, and is the last piece of land donated by France for battle recognition. It pays tribute to the more than 9 000 Canadian soldiers who became casualties during the 10 days of fighting at Hill 70 and Lens, from August 15 to 25, 1917. Canadians played a key role in this particular battle by seizing the trenches around Hill 70 in a pre-dawn assault. The attack, which was to relieve pressure on allied forces at Passchendaele and to seize a high point of land, known as Hill 70, near the city of Lens, France, was among Canada’s most significant contributions to the First World War. Six Canadian soldiers earned the Victoria Cross in recognition of their most exceptional bravery displayed in the presence of the enemy.
Hill 70 Memorial,Loos-en-Gohelle
OPEN TO MEDIA
MEDIA MUST CONFIRM THEIR ATTENDANCE: Don Richardson, Communications, Hill 70 Memorial Project,
343-363-0737, donretired@hotmail.com

Saturday, April 8
Vimy, France

4:30 p.m.
Opening of the Visitor Education Centre at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial
Their Excellencies will attend the official opening of the new, state-of-the-art Visitor Education Centre at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial—a project of the Government of Canada supported by the Vimy Foundation. His Excellency will deliver remarks on this occasion.

The Visitor Education Centreprovides visitors with comprehensive and meaningful information about Canada’s contributions to the First World War, including the Battle of Vimy Ridge. For more information, visit www.vimyfoundation.ca.
Visitor Education Centre, Canadian National Vimy Memorial, Vimy
LIMITED GROUP OF ACCREDITED MEDIA
MEDIA CONTACTS: Zoltan Csepregi, Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 343-998-9895 (cell), zoltan.csepregi@vac-acc.gc.ca or Jennifer MacLeod, Communications Manager, Veterans Affairs Canada, 902-314-1166 (cell), jennifer.macleod@vac-acc.gc.ca

Saturday, April 8
Gosnay, France

10 p.m.
Dinner Hosted by the Vimy Foundation
Their Excellencies will attend a dinner hosted by the Vimy Foundation. The Governor General will deliver remarks on this occasion.

The Vimy Foundation, founded in 2006, is a Canadian charity. Its mission is to preserve and promote Canada’s First World War legacy as symbolized with the victory at Vimy Ridge in April 1917. This battle is widely regarded as a defining moment in our history, where Canada first stepped forward onto the world stage. For more information, visit www.vimyfoundation.ca.
Castle Chartreuse du Val de Saint-Esprit, Gosnay
OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHERS ONLY

Sunday, April 9
Arras, France

6:30 a.m.
International Commemorative Ceremony of the Battle of Arras
Their Excellencies will take part in the international commemorative ceremony to acknowledge allied countries involvement in the Battle of Arras. As part of the ceremony, The Earth Remembers, a bronze sculpture outlining the figure of a New Zealander wearing a characteristic “lemon squeezer” hat, will be inaugurated in memory of the hundreds of  New Zealand tunnellers who dug a network of tunnels beneath Arras in the run-up to the Allies’ spring 1917 offensive in northern France. As commander-in-chief of Canada, the Governor General will lay a wreath on behalf of the people of Canada in memory of the Canadian soldiers who lost their lives in this battle.
Memorial to the Battle of Arras, Wellington Tunnels, Arras
OPEN TO MEDIA ACCREDITED WITH THE CITY OF ARRAS
MEDIA CONTACT FOR ACCREDITATION: Christophe Tournay, City of Arras, ctournay@ville-arras.fr

Sunday, April 9
Vimy, France

Their Excellencies attended the ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

3:15 p.m.
Visit of Vimy Tunnels and Trenches
The Governor General will tour the preserved trench and tunnel systems of Vimy. He will join Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry,  The elaborate tunnel systems and trenches  were once equipped with train tracks, piped water, lights and underground bunkers to stockpile supplies and arms during the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Tunnels and Trenches , Canadian National Vimy Memorial, Vimy
PHOTO OP FOR ACCREDITED POOL MEDIA ONLY

4 p.m.
100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge Ceremony
Their Excellencies will attend the ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The battle began on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, during which the four divisions of the Canadian Corps, consisting of regiments from coast to coast to coast, fought together for victory.

The Governor General, The Prince of Wales and the President of the French Republic will review the Canadian Armed Forces Contingent, which is made up of soldiers from the Regiments that hold the Battle of Arras, Vimy and Hill 70 Battle Honours. During the ceremony, Their Royal Highnesses The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry will lay the last pair of boots symbolically representing the 3 598 Canadian soldiers who fell during the battle. Later on, the Governor General, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Prince of Wales (on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen) and the President of the French Republic will address the thousands gathered for this commemoration. Lastly, the Governor General and The Prince of Wales will, together, lay a wreath in memory of the Canadian soldiers who lost their lives during the battle. They will be followed by the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the French Republic.

The 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge Ceremony, structured in four parts, tells the story of Canada’s experience in the First World War and at Vimy. It showcases those who served in battle, behind the lines and on the home front, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Each part of the ceremony will be presented by well-known Canadian performers, actors and musicians, and will be built on the strong symbolism associated with the history of the battle and the Canadian values that are carved into the monument and that remain relevant today. For more information, visit Canada.ca/vimy-100.
Canadian National Vimy Memorial, Vimy
OPEN TO ACCREDITED MEDIA ONLY
MEDIA CONTACTS: Zoltan Csepregi, Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 343-998-9895 (cell), zoltan.csepregi@vac-acc.gc.ca or Jennifer MacLeod, Communications Manager, Veterans Affairs Canada, 902-314-1166 (cell), jennifer.macleod@vac-acc.gc.ca

6:15 p.m.
Reception Hosted by the Governor General and the Prime Minister of Canada
Following the ceremony, His Excellency and the Prime Minister of Canada will host a reception attended by Their Royal Highnesses and the President the French Republic, dignitaries, war veterans, youth, First Nations representatives, and members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Visitor Education Centre,Canadian National Vimy Memorial, Vimy
PHOTO OP FOR ACCREDITED POOL MEDIA ONLY

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Media information:

Marie-Ève Létourneau
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-998-0287
613-302-0912 (cell)
marie-eve.letourneau@gg.ca

Annabelle Cloutier
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-301-2764 (cell)
annabelle.cloutier@gg.ca
  

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