For Grade 10 student Naythan Smith, the From Vimy to Juno Travelling Exhibition on display at Georgetown District High School helped him fully realize the sacrifices made in past wars.
“I learned more about the importance of remembering the people and what happened to them to create the future we have now,” he says.
The national exhibition, which ran at the Halton Hills school from October 7 to 17, provides an opportunity for Canadians of all ages to learn about Canada’s role in the First and Second World Wars through displayed placards. It draws parallels between the two wars and examines Canada as a nation from 1914 to 1945. The exhibit has been developed in a way that allows it to be mounted in a variety of accessible spaces such as museums, community centres, libraries and schools.
This project is a partnership between the Juno Beach Centre, Vimy Foundation and the Department of Canadian Heritage.
Randall Keast, teacher at GDHS, says this exhibit was brought to the school to remind students of the sacrifices made by soldiers, many of whom were the age of students at the school when they headed off to war.
“One of the questions on one of the panels is, ‘How will you remember?’ At any time of year, it is important for Canadians to remember that men and women gave their lives for our freedom to vote,” he says. “Especially at this time of year as the poppy season has begun, it is important to remember the sacrifices made by these soldiers portrayed on these panels to protect our way of life. The Vimy to Juno Travelling Exhibition engaged our community to remember those sacrifices.”
The objective of the Vimy to Juno Travelling Exhibition dovetails with the school curriculum, such as Grade 10 Canadian history, Civics and Social Science subjects.
And the knowledge gained from the exhibition goes even deeper, Keast explains.
“Two generations of Canadian youth that were just about the same age as the students currently attending GDHS went to war, endured incredible hardships, and their sacrifices changed Canada forever. In fact, 21 students and one teacher from Georgetown High School made the ultimate sacrifice and their names are mounted on our Memorial Wall in front of the office.”
Grade 10 student Nahawnee Blackbird says, “I think the exhibit was very interesting and contained a lot of things I didn't know about the Vimy War.”
Learning about previous military conflicts are vital to one’s education because these events are an important part of Canadian history, Keast says.
“Georgetown High School students rushed to enlist in 1914 and 1939. Some of these students would go on to fight at Vimy Ridge and/or Juno Beach. When trying to understand who we are as a people, it is necessary to examine the significant events that have shaped this country.”