In those few minutes, I witnessed the birth of a nation."
– Brigadier-General Arthur Edward Ross
Launched in the spring of 1917, the Battle of Arras in northern France was an attempt to break the bloody stalemate on the Western Front, where the Battle of the Somme had yielded few gains. One of the most important components to this Allied offensive was the capture of Vimy Ridge, a heavily fortified escarpment that provided sweeping views of the flat landscape below. The previous attempts to storm this enemy stronghold had failed—until those fateful four days in April 1917, when all four divisions of the Canadian Corps came together for the first time in history to fight as one in a methodically planned operation that became a defining moment for our nation.
Canada's soldiers emerged from the hard-fought battle as an offensive force to be reckoned with, and a surging sense of national identity—on the battlefield and at home. Nearly 3,600 Canadians were killed during the intense four-day operation, and 7,000 more wounded. Four Canadians earned the Victoria Cross for their actions at Vimy Ridge; as for Byng, the future Governor General of Canada was promoted to the Third British Army shortly after. In his place, 41-year-old Arthur Currie took up command of the Canadian Corps—the first Canadian to ever lead his nation's army in battle.
Composition 99.99% pure silver
Finish proof with selective gold plating
Weight (g) 31.39
Diameter (mm) 38
Face value 20 dollars
Artist Pandora Young (reverse), T. H. Paget (obverse)