Canada 1914-1918 Ypres is made possible through the generous support of Veterans Affairs Canada.
The Vigil In Ypres On this page, starting November 4th, you can watch the vigil live streamed from the city of Ypres in Belgium. The vigil will be presented over seven consecutive nights in the centre of the city opposite the Cloth Hall. The vigil prologue will begin in Belgium each afternoon at 5pm Ypres time. The first of the 68,000 names will appear at 5:15pm Ypres time. Each night’s vigil will be 13 hours long. The last of the 68,000 names will appear in Ypres at sunrise November 11th .
The Names Each name will appear at exactly the same instant as it appears in each school in Canada. 9,700 names will be witnessed each night of the vigil. They will appear one by one simultaneously in Belgium and Canada. Each name will be seen for 25 seconds. Each individual name will be seen only once during the seven days. On quarter hours throughout the vigil the names will briefly pause and a photograph of one of the 3,400 cemeteries in Belgium and France where the Canadians are buried will be projected.
The names of the dead include those killed in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, the Canadian Merchant Navy and the Canadian Army medical Corps. The names reflect all the voices of Canada: anglophone, francophone, First Nations and the voices of recent immigrants from so many lands. Among the 68,000 are the names of 67 women. We are honoured to have Ypres host the vigil in their city.
Searching The Names It is important that the vigil be a personal moment for families who lost a relative in WWI. Therefore to find the exact day and time when a specific name will appear, use the Search Names tab located at the top of this page. Knowing the day, hour and minute when a particular name can be witnessed will allow families to either visit a participating school in Canada or log on to this site to see the appearance of their veteran’s name in Belgium. The names appearing in the seven days of the vigil will have no order or ranking. Each man or woman was equal in death.
Time Zones If you are resident in Canada and watching the vigil online, you must make the time zone adjustment necessary. All dates and times given on the Search Names page will be for local time in Belgium. Using the time zone chart on that page, you can determine the time correction you will need to witness a specific name.
The Vigil in Ypres, Belgium The vigil in schools across Canada will happen simultaneously with the vigil in Ypres . During WWI Canadians were stationed and fought in the area surrounding Ypres. Thousands of Canadian graves are located in the cemeteries in the surrounding fields and villages. At the centre of Ypres stands the Menin Gate. The names of 54,896 soldiers whose bodies were never found are cut in the stone of that Menin Gate - 6,940 of those names are Canadian.
For information about Ypres, its history and its historical ties with Canadians please use the History Of Ypres tab located at the top of this page.