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Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

Apr 7, 2017

Tree plantingLieutenant Leslie H MillerVimy OaksOak treesVimy memorial

Lieutenant Leslie H Miller was a soldier with the 3rd Canadian Division and fought in the Battle of Vimy Ridge during the First World War. For four years, Leslie Miller called the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre home. In 1979, he passed away at the age of ninety but he left us an incredible legacy that will live on for future generations to come.

Today, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, we pay tribute to Leslie Miller and all those who served in the Great War by planting and dedicating a Vimy Oak in the Veterans Therapeutic Garden behind K-wing in his honour. Here is his story:

At the end of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Lieutenant Leslie Miller looked around for a keepsake that he could send home to his family in Canada. After four days of fighting, great loss of life and devastation, all that was left were some small acorns from the blasted oak trees that had once towered over the battlefields in France at Vimy Ridge. As a remembrance, he collected a few of the acorns and later sent them home to his family in Canada.

Miller's family planted the acorns on their fruit farm in Scarborough, Ontario. To his delight, when he returned home in 1919, he found that the acorns had grown into young oak trees. He appropriately named the farm, "Vimy Oaks."

Today, there are a total of 10 Vimy Oak trees thriving there, on what is now the property of the Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church.

In January 2014, a group of volunteers came together with the goal to repatriate offspring or saplings of the oaks back to Vimy Ridge in France.

Recently, 600 acorns were sent to a French nursery and once large enough, these small saplings will be planted in the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park near the Vimy Monument as part of centennial commemorations in 2017 and 2018.

For those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom that Canada enjoys today, this living legacy will keep the torch of remembrance alive for years to come.