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Webmatters : Vimy Visitors' Centre
Rough Map of Area

The Visitors' Centre

Interpreting the past

The Vimy Park Education Centre was opened to the public on 10th April 2017. It was realised by the Vimy Foundation through appeals to the public for funding. The shortfall of Cdn $5 million was made up by the government of Canada.

Vimy Visitors' Education Centre

The centre is located on the right as you enter the Memorial Park from Neuville Saint Vaast at the junction with the road towards Vimy village.

It is situated in what would have been the 3rd Canadian Division’s area on 9th April 1917.

GPS N E Wikimapia
Decimal 50.371772 2.769692 Map

There is parking space for cars and coaches. Toilets are available within the complex (others are available up near the monument).

Picnic tables are available but food and drinks are limited to some vending machines within the building — bring your own ! At the reception desk you will also find a small selection of books and souvenir items on sale.

Note that the car park entrance closes about half an hour before the centre does.

Opening TimesHoraires et jours d’ouverture
Monday Lundi
11:00 to 17:00 hours 11h00 à 17h00
Tuesday to Sunday Mardi — Dimanche
09:00 to 17:00 hours 09h00 à 17h00
Guided visitsVisites guidée
English/Français Ask at the desk/demandez à l’accueil
Duration/Durée: 45 minutes
Entrance FeeTarifs
FreeGratuit

 

Looking out

Looking out onto the trenches

The design of the centre ensure that whilst the visitor can gain a better understanding of Canada’s part in the war they are never far removed from the battle site itself.

Floor to ceiling windows offer a view of the trenches and the pockmarked ground created by the shelling. Tours of the tunnels, in either French or English, can be organised with the guides at the reception desk.

Vimy Visitors' Education Centre

The conception of the exhibits is based upon the idea of : We will remember.

Among the themes explored are :

  • The transition of young Canadians and Newfoundlanders from citizens to soldiers
  • Key Canadian and Newfoundland milestones, including the Battle of Vimy Ridge
  • The personal impact of war on Canadians at home and abroad
  • Conception, construction and meaning of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial
  • Canada’s enduring commitment to honour the sacrifices and contributions of those who served

The tourist entrance to the Grange Tunnel

The tourists entrance to the Grange Tunnel

Probably the highlight for most people is going to be the ability to visit the reconstructed trench systems amidst the craters. This can be done with or without a visit to the tunnels.

The preservation has been achieved by using sandbags filled with concrete and concrete duck boards. This does give an air of artificiality to the system, but even so, it is still more than possible to allow the imagination to reign and consider life amidst the falling shells and exploding mines. The hessian cloth has rotted away but if you look at the sandbags you can, often as not, make out the pattern of the material on the concrete shell.

The craters between the two front lines

Looking back towards the Canadian outpost line

The distance from one trench system to the other is frighteningly small in many places, and snipers would have been able to make out targets with deadly ease.

It should be noted that these trenches represent the forward posts for both sides. The front lines were further back — in the case of the Canadians, in the area of the centre’s car park

3rd Canadian Division advance

The attack by the 3rd Canadian Division, the PPCLI used the Grange Tunnel
3rd Division’s Memorial Cross is located near La Folie Farm, in the wood, off the main road — it is NOT sign posted

 

There are three cemeteries on or close to the site :