Armistice 100: Edmonton & the First World War

Armistice 100: Edmonton & the First World War

When war was declared on August 4, 1914, Edmontonians rushed to join up.

By November 1915, more than 12,000 men from the region had enlisted.

Soldiers from the Edmonton region fought in many of the major battles of the First World War including the Somme, Vimy Ridge, and Passchendaele. 

By the end of the war in 1918, total enlistment from Alberta was 48,885 individuals,

35% of the province’s male population.

6,140 were killed in action and 20,000 were wounded.

On November 11, 1918, 11 a.m. Paris time, the Armistice of Compiègne was signed by the Allies and Germany resulting in a ceasefire.

In the next months, war-weary men returned home. But homecoming was bittersweet.

While the fighting was over, difficulties continued. Returning soldiers suffered from shell shock (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.) Communities grieved the lives lost and those dramatically changed. Spanish Flu swept through Canada as our country also entered an economic recession.

The Armistice of 1918 ended the First World War, but it continues to shape our society today.


Armistice 100: Edmonton & the First World War

Alberta was a young province when war was declared in August 1914. Many Edmontonians were involved in the First World War despite the action taking place abroad.

Thousands of Albertans fought and died on the front lines overseas. Others contributed to the war efforts on the home front, planting Victory gardens and sending comfort parcels to soldiers. The tremendous loss of life and social impacts of the First World War altered Alberta for generations.

The battle of Vimy Ridge was considered a great success for the Canadian military corps during the First World War. The victory symbolized the forging of Canadian identity through sacrifice and fulfilment of international military obligations. The Battle of Vimy Ridge helped many see themselves as Canadians.

When the end of the First World War was announced in local newspapers on November 11, 1918, an impromptu parade marched down Jasper Ave. Despite the blaring of car horns and shouts of joy from a relieved city, Armistice was not without a sense of loss. Each November, Edmontonians join the rest of Canada in remembering those who served and the sacrifices they made.

Explore the exhibition

Video: In Flanders Fields

A new voice has been given to John McCrae’s words with a modern interpretation connecting 1918 to 2018.

We Were There: Edmonton Soldier Stories

Young men from across Canada, including many from Edmonton, fought in the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

WW1 Memory Wall

Explore the stories that have been shared with us and submit your own story.