Vimy Ridge, 2005

Peter MacCallum

The First World War brought together millions of soldiers from every part of the world to fight and die on the Western Front, many believing that their sacrifice would cure the world of barbarism. The capture of the strategic Vimy Ridge by Canadian forces on April 9, 1917 was one of the greatest military feats of this war. Today, the rural landscape of northern France and Belgium is dotted with thousands of cemeteries and memorials. Toronto-based photographer Peter MacCallum documented the great Canadian memorial park at Vimy Ridge, near Arras in France – its preserved battlefield landscape, tunnel system and cemeteries. His photographs reflect the sublime beauty of this unique park, whose shell-pocked topography is cited by historians as the birthplace of Canadian nationalism. MacCallum has captured restoration work progress on Toronto sculptor Walter Allward’s towering limestone monument to the missing, which bears the names of the 11,285 Canadians killed in France who have no known graves.