• James Parry

Vimy Oak tree planted outside Hudson Legion for generations to come


PHOTO BY JAMES PARRY

MP Peter Schiefke (Rright) invited Peter Stephenson, whose father fought at Vimy Ridge during World War 1, to handle the first shovel of earth when the Vimy Oak was planted outside Hudson Legion Branch #115.

There’s a very special sapling now growing at Place Vimy outside Hudson Legion Branch #115 and the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre, an acorn's throw away from the recently redesigned Cenotaph, the only one of its kind in the entire Vaudreuil-Soulanges region.

It is a young English oak, a direct descendant of a tree growing on Vimy Ridge in northern France when on April 12, 1917, Canadian troops captured the ridge in what is considered to be one of the defining events in the history of our nation.

Together with local Veterans, it was planted last week by Vaudreuil-Soulanges Liberal MP Peter Schiefke who explained its origins. After the battle, Lieutenant Leslie Miller of Scarborough, Ontario, serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Force gathered up a handful of acorns from the partially buried tree. He sent them home to his family with instructions to plant them. He named his farm ‘The Vimy Oaks.’ And today, their saplings are being planted in the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park, adjacent to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial site, as part of centennial commemorations in France in 2017 and 2018.

Said Schiefke, “When I learned they were available for planting here in Canada, I immediately thought of the Hudson Legion and a way to honour those people who left this peaceful little town to serve in World War I and other wars in foreign lands. I acquired one and am honoured to help plant it here today.”

People like Pete Stephenson who was there on Vimy with the Cape's Battery, a Canadian siege unit, and whose son, 96 year-old Peter Stephenson, was invited by Shiefke to handle the first shovel of earth followed by 99 year-old Maxine Bredt in a moving and emotional ceremony.

See more photos on our Facebook page.

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