Vernon’s Vimy Lane attraction will celebrate the 101st anniversary of the First World War this evening, and pay homage to a select group.
A light will shine into the air from dark (around 7:30, 7:45 p.m.) to 11 p.m. to commemorate Vimy Ridge and the First Canadians.
“It’s in honour of the Okanagan Indian Band,” said Vimy Lane’s Andy Wylie. “In 1914, every eligible man volunteered to fight for Canada.”
Vimy Lane is located in the 4000 block of 29th Street.
The light will also commemorate the First World War efforts of Parry Sound, Ont. soldier Francis Pegahmagabow, who became known as The Sniper of World War I.
Three times awarded the Military Medal and seriously wounded, he was an expert marksman and scout, credited with killing 378 Germans and capturing 300 more. Later in life, Pegahmagabow was chief and a councillor for the Wasauksing First Nation, and as an activist and leader in several First Nations organizations.
Wylie began creating Vimy Lane in 2016 as a shrine to Vimy Ridge, one of the most historic battles of the First World War, fought on April 9, 1917. It’s the day, Wylie said, Canada became truly independent.
“Vimy Ridge was the turning point of the First World War, from trench stalemate to the first Allied victory,” said Wylie in an interview with The Morning Star in 2016. “It was the First World War’s D-Day and it was Canadian. The Canadian corps that stormed Vimy Ridge on that Easter Monday in the fields of northern France was unrivaled, unbeaten and absolutely unstoppable.”