Scouts Canada’s World War One Remembrance Day Program

One hundred years ago, Canada was at war. Canada entered the First World War in August of 1914 when Britain officially declared war on Germany. At that time, Canada did not have the independence that it does today. If and when Britain declared war, it meant that Canada was at war as well.

The Canadian government immediately offered its troops to support the war effort, and the declaration of war was widely supported in our country. Many Canadians at that time had been born in Britain, or their parents had been born there.

Newfoundland, not yet a part of Canada at the time, was also at war with the same declaration. On October 3, 1914, the first Canadian troops set sail for Europe. 32,000 soldiers headed to war. 500 troops from Newfoundland also went to Europe at the time.

From 1914 until the war’s end in 1918, approximately 620,000 Canadians served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. More than 60,000 were killed, and another 172,000 were wounded.

In 1919, Canada signed the Treaty of Versailles — an act that symbolized Canada’s growing sense of nationhood in the wake of the war. After all, Canada had not independently declared war. Canada joined the League of Nations following the war as a nation in its own right.*

*Source: Canadian War Museum; warmuseum.ca

Download the Program Booklet

Scouts Canada encourages its youth to learn about the sacrifices Canadians made a century ago to protect others overseas. Cubs and Scouts are encouraged to have a look at the World War I Trail Cards (part of the Citizenship Program Area) for their Sections.

These Trail Cards represent stimulating and educational activities that will foster an appreciation of this important period in our nation’s history, and an understanding of the ongoing sacrifices members of the Canadian Armed Forces make to this day.

TRAIL CARDS

  • The Somme area of France was chosen in 1916 as the site for the “Big Push” across No Man’s Land”. It was on the first day of this battle that the 1st Newfoundland Regiment, forming part of the 29th British Division, would enter action. On July 1st, thousands of troops began traversing No Man’s Land in broad daylight. Of the 801 Newfoundlanders who went into battle that morning, only 68 were able to answer the roll call the next day.

    Download the Trail Card
  • The Battle of Passchendaele took place in the Ypres area of Belgium in the fall of 1917. It was the last portion of Belgium that was not in enemy hands after the German advance. The Canadian soldiers sent to the Ypres front took the previously impregnable objective of Passchendaele on November 5, 1917, suffering 15,000 casualties in the process.

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  • Vimy Ridge is remembered as one of the greatest Canadian military victories. Many say that Canada came of age as a country on those hard April days in 1917. On April 9, 1917, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps, working together for the first time as one formation, captured the German occupied Vimy Ridge, which had withstood all attacks for two years. The battle was a great, distinctly Canadian success but came at a great cost with 10,000 Canadians losing their lives.

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  • Before the war, the position of women in society was one that was subservient to men. According to British Law, the husband or the father indirectly owned women and children. When WW1 broke out, women’s roles changed from mothers to munitions workers. Women were needed to help with the war effort by filling the gaps left by the men who went to fight in the war. In 1917, the government extended the right to vote to married women of soldiers fighting overseas. On May 24, 1918, in honour of their sacrifice and proven competence during the war, women “citizens” over the age of 21 were given the right to vote.

    Download the Trail Card