Vimy Ridge app by Smiths Falls students accepted by Apple

Posted on: April 13, 2017


An app developed by students at Smiths Falls and District Collegiate Institute (SFDCI) that allows users to learn about the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the Canadians who died there has been accepted by Apple for distribution.

The app “Vimy Ridge,” developed by Grades 11 and 12 computer science students, was accepted April 7 for distribution through the App Store on its first submission, a rare accomplishment for app producers. The mobile app is part of the school’s larger Lest We Forget initiative, conducted in partnership with Library and Archives Canada.

“I think the acceptance was fantastic for the students,” said Mason Black, the computer science teacher who led the project. “It really goes to show the capabilities of high school students from the Upper Canada District School Board.”

The app, which took 2 ½ years to develop, can be used with iPads, iPhones and iPods. It honours the soldiers who fought and died at the famous WWI battle. The iOS app allows users to discover information regarding the background and history of the battle itself, and to look into the life stories of the men who died there.

The app can show what battalion the soldier was from, who died alongside him, and other details such as the exact house he was raised in and the hospital where he was born. It is based on the historical research conducted by students in nearly 100 elementary and high school classes across Canada.

“We really wanted to focus on the lives of the individual soldiers more than the entire event because we feel this is often the piece that is overlooked (in historical accounts).”