Prince William and Prince Harry at Anniversary of Vimy Ridge

The World War I battle was a costly victory for Canada, but one that helped shape the former British colony's national identity.

Canadian Pacific today commemorated the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the ultimate sacrifice made by more than 3,500 Canadians in a military victory that many consider a defining moment in the history of the country.

Today, one hundred years later, we honour their eternal sacrifice.

Among them are members of Liberation Tours, based in Georgina, who took in the moving and stark image of rows upon row of empty boots placed on the Vimy memorial to represent the almost 3,600 who died in what is considered a seminal moment in Canadian history.

Virtually every Canadian prime minister has appealed to the unifying power of Vimy Ridge over the past century, and Justin Trudeau did the same Sunday on the 100th anniversary of the historic First World War battle.

"These trees are direct descendants of acorns collected following the battle, and they will be planted in a circular pattern four deep to represent the four divisions".

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Francois Hollande arrived at the Cabaret Rouge cemetery, near Vimy Ridge, where they walked the rows of gravestones.

While many Canadians consider the victory at Vimy a significant step in their nation's development, some historians have debunked the state's official view of its significance. "So for the battle of Vimy Ridge, we say on behalf of all Canadians, thank you, you will not be forgotten".

Replica biplanes perform a flypast during a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge at the WWI Canadian National Vimy Memorial in Givenchy-en-Gohelle, France on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

"They are telling us peace is the most precious gift and it's the greatest merit of Europe to have realized that dream".

Vimy just one part of the larger Battle of Arras in April 1917, but also the most successful. That would come four months later, at Hill 70, when the Canadians fought under Currie.

On this day a century ago, as dawn broke over Vimy Ridge, the morning air suddenly exploded with an unholy roar.

"This is the first time, and it probably won't be done again", said Taylor. "We will never forget".

  • Salvatore Jensen