Funding partners break ground on The Royal Winnipeg Rifles Memorial expansion project in Vimy Ridge Memorial Park
Winnipeg – Today, Mayor Brian Bowman, Council members and representatives from The Royal Winnipeg Rifles Foundation, Winnipeg Foundation and Veterans Affairs Canada broke ground in Vimy Ridge Memorial Park to recognize the start of The Royal Winnipeg Rifles Memorial renovation and expansion project.
“With over one hundred years of involvement in operations around the world, The Royal Winnipeg Rifles have a proud history and a lasting legacy in our city,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “It is an honour to recognize and commemorate our past, present and future through the expansion of The Royal Winnipeg Rifles Memorial in Vimy Ridge Memorial Park.”
“This Memorial will commemorate 135 years of service to Canada by The Royal Winnipeg Rifles and will serve as a legacy to those members of the Regiment and Canada’s military who gave so much for their country,” said Ray Crabbe, President, The Royal Winnipeg Rifles Foundation. “The Foundation is extremely grateful to all those individuals, corporations and organizations who purchased a Legacy Stone and made a contribution to support this project. The City Parks and Open Spaces Division has been outstanding and fully supportive and without their support and encouragement, this project would not have happened.”
“The Winnipeg Foundation makes grants across all parts of our city, and we are honoured to be part of preserving this important piece of our community’s history – today and for future generations – to know our collective past and the importance of recognizing it, through memorials such as this,” said Megan Tate, Director of Community Grants at The Winnipeg Foundation.
The Royal Winnipeg Rifles Memorial renovation and expansion project will see the existing Rifles Monument restored and placed on an elevated platform, surrounded by Legacy Stones. These stones were purchased by individuals, corporations and organizations as a fundraising initiative but also to allow purchasers to leave a legacy to a loved one, family member, or a veteran and to demonstrate their support for The Royal Winnipeg Rifles and Canada’s military. The Monument will be repositioned on a new granite plinth and will be the focal point of the new Memorial.
Funding partners for The Royal Winnipeg Rifles Memorial project include:
- City of Winnipeg - 2018 Capital Budget: $50,000
- Veterans Affairs Canada - Commemorative Partnership Program: $50,000
- The Winnipeg Foundation: $20,000
- The Royal Winnipeg Rifles Foundation: $86,000
City of Winnipeg Councillors also contributed to the project from their ward’s Land Development Reserve Fund (LDR). Councillor Cindy Gilroy contributed $30,000 from the Daniel MacIntyre LDR Fund and Councillor Ross Eadie, contributed $15,000 from the Mynarski LDR Fund. All other Councillors made $5,000 contributions from their respective LDR Fund.
Other improvements that will be installed as part of The Royal Winnipeg Rifles Memorial expansion project include upgraded fencing and lighting and will include The Royal Winnipeg Rifles regimental banners, and the expansion of the hard surface area around the Memorial to better accommodate public ceremonies. View a conceptual site plan of the project here.
Construction of the project will begin in early summer 2018 and will be completed by fall 2018. A commemoration service is scheduled for November 10, 2018. The original Rifles Memorial was installed in 1992.
Background - The Royal Winnipeg Rifles
The Royal Winnipeg Rifles is an Infantry Regiment, a unit of the Canadian Forces Primary Reserve. The Royal Winnipeg Rifles is under the command of 38 Canadian Brigade Group, a Brigade within the 3rd Canadian Division, which is responsible for all Army units from Northwestern Ontario to British Columbia.
Based out of Minto Armouries in Winnipeg Manitoba, The Royal Winnipeg Rifles are the premier Infantry unit in Manitoba, founded in 1883, with a long and proud history of service to Canada.
From service in the Nile Expedition, the Northwest Rebellion, the Boer War in South Africa, both World Wars, and more recently, Croatia, Sudan, Bosnia, the Balkans and Afghanistan, the Regiment continues to serve Canada.
Background - Memorial Expansion Project
In 1992, in cooperation with the City of Winnipeg, the Regiment erected a memorial in the north-west corner of Vimy Park as a tribute to the sacrifices and contributions of those members of the Regiment who gave their lives for Canada.
In 2018, the Regiment will commemorate 135 years of service to Canada and to mark the event, The Royal Winnipeg Rifles proposed the renovation and expansion of the Memorial including the placement of approximately 300 Legacy Stones. The individual stones have been purchased by the public and will bear the name of a veteran of the Regiment, current members, friends of the Regiment and others. Corporate Legacy Stones have been purchased by several Winnipeg corporations to show their support for The Royal Winnipeg Rifles and the women and men who serve our nation.
A Legacy Stone Record will be maintained in perpetuity in the Regimental Museum & Archives to provide a permanent record and short biography of those whose names appear on the legacy stones. The completion of the project and dedication of the Legacy Stones will coincide with the Commemoration Service planned for November 10, 2018.
The 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War will also be recognized in 2018. The Memorial will recognize this important date with the installation of a Tyndall Stone.
For more information on the First World War and the Battle of Vimy Ridge, please visit veterans.gov.ca.