Regiments on the Ridge

Getting ready for war

The Battle of Vimy Ridge took place over 100 years ago. This battle was particularly important for Canadian troops, who were able to prove their resilience to the world. We invite you to browse through this virtual version of our Regiments on the Ridge exhibition to find out more!

What happened

The first to enlist were the sons of European immigration or were themselves from “the old continent.” The patriotic spirit inspired them to join the British in their fight. Some also saw the experience as an adventure in Europe at the expense of the crown.

As criticisms regarding the low rate of Francophone participation in the war effort started to become common, many Francophones wanted to prove the contrary. A delegation was formed and they sent a formal request for the creation of a French Canadian battalion to Prime Minister Robert Borden on September 28, 1914. The initiative quickly became highly publicized and was supported by French-Canadian philanthropists, including the doctor Arthur Mignault. Given the popularity of the movement, Borden accepted the creation of a French-speaking infantry battalion. On October 21, 1914, the unit was born under the name of Régiment Royal canadien-français. Since each battalion was given a number upon its integration into the Canadian Expeditionary Forces, the Regiment was assigned the number 22.

Army recruiting office in Toronto, August 1914
Toronto Star