After the Battle at Vimy Ridge was won, in April 1917, Lieutenant Leslie Miller, born in 1889 at Milliken, Ont., looked around for a souvenir on the Ridge, which was completely devoid of structures or vegetation due to shellfire. What Miller found was a half-buried oak tree, and from it he gathered a handful of acorns.
Those acorns were planted by him on farmland which is now home to the Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church. Today, several of the original oaks survive, but it is feared they will not survive much longer because of urban sprawl and related construction. Through the efforts of the Vimy Oaks Legacy Corporation, saplings have been grown from those remaining oaks and they are being distributed to Canadian communities.
Merrickville will have its very own Vimy Oak through the efforts of the Merrickville and District Community Health Centre, the Merrickville branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 245), and the Village of Merrickville-Wolford. A planting ceremony will take place at the Merrickville-Wolford Cenotaph, 400 St. Lawrence Street, Saturday, May 13, at 10 am. A plaque honouring three soldiers from Merrickville who died during the battle, Private T. J. Irvine and brothers Lance Corporal W. Knowles and Private H. Knowles, will be unveiled on Saturday, July 1, Canada Day, at 10 am.
Our Vimy Oak will stand as a symbol of the strength and determination of those who gave their lives for Canada in many wars and conflicts and will serve as a living memorial to the three men from Merrickville killed at Vimy Ridge.
The Merrickville Vimy Oak Committee.