Italian city commemorates Canadian military heroes who liberated it

TORONTO — Residents of Ravenna, Italy, spend a day every holiday season commemorating their liberation from Nazi control during the Second World War by Allied forces – something thousands of Canadians took part in.

Ravenna was taken by the Canadian Corps at the beginning of 1944, in an act that cost almost 6,000 Canadian soldiers their lives.

On Dec. 4, 75 years after the liberation of the city, the local population gathers for a traditional ceremony at the Ravenna War Cemetery, where 438 Canadians are buried.

“Many Canadian soldiers became honorary figures in the city of Ravenna, and also the memory of those days is very strong,” Ravenna Mayor Michaeli Di Pascali told CTV News.

Guido Ceroni, whose family took in a Canadian soldier for three months, told CTV News that the connections forged during that time remain deeply “linked.”

Canadian veteran William Stoker of Peterborough, Ont. was present during the liberation in 1944 and returned for the 75-year anniversary.

“We’re brothers, we’re friends, we’re allies,” he said, speaking of the connection between Italy and Canada.

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