Vimy

10 Aug

The highlight of my trip to Ottawa was visiting the Canadian War Museum. It  presents Canada’s military past and how it shaped the country.The exhibits explain Canada’s rich military history from earliest times to the present, featuring the experiences of people on the battlefields and at home.

It was extremely well done and made me cry more than once.

The weekend I was there marked the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI, so being there was especially poignant. I was especially touched by the display of the Vimy War Memorial.

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If you don’t know much about the Vimy War Memorial, I recommend reading The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart, who happens to be one of my favorite Canadian authors for adults.

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The book was originally published in 2001, but really captures the passion and heartbreak of war and the power of art to transform.

From the publisher: Set in the first half of the twentieth century, but reaching back to Bavaria in the late nineteenth century, The Stone Carvers weaves together the story of ordinary lives marked by obsession and transformed by art. At the centre of a large cast of characters is Klara Becker, the granddaughter of a master carver, a seamstress haunted by a love affair cut short by the First World War, and by the frequent disappearances of her brother Tilman, afflicted since childhood with wanderlust. From Ontario, they are swept into a colossal venture in Europe years later, as Toronto sculptor Walter Allward’s ambitious plans begin to take shape for a war memorial at Vimy, France. Spanning three decades, and moving from a German-settled village in Ontario to Europe after the Great War, The Stone Carvers follows the paths of immigrants, labourers, and dreamers. Vivid, dark, redemptive, this is novel of great beauty and power.

If you’ve never read anything by Jane Urquhart, I highly recommend that you do. She is a beautiful writer.

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