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https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/edmonton-teen-builds-replica-wwi-trench-in-mom-s-vegetable-garden-1.3863231#_gus&_gucid=&_gup=twitter&_gsc=UGa1Sxb




While some of his peers take cover in the digital trenches of video games like "Call of Duty," Dylan Ferris will be in his very own.

The Grade 10 Edmonton teenager dug a replica First World War trench over spring break in his mother’s vegetable garden. He plans to spend 24 hours in it beginning Wednesday night.

He spoke with CTV News Channel from inside his trench about his efforts to learn what life was like for soldiers.

“I’m going to be spending all night in the trench,” he said -- weather permitting. “My mom doesn’t want me in the trench when it’s muddy because this is an original uniform.”

Standing in the trench in the replica uniform, on loan from the Edmonton Regiment Museum, he looks like a re-enactment actor. He’s aiming for as close a “re-enactment” as a backyard vegetable garden can provide. He says he’ll “go to bed” in the trench around midnight and stay there until midnight the following day. Though he’ll be sure to leave markers of the 21st century inside, like his smartphone, he might bring a book with him.

Ferris chose to build the trench for a social studies class instead of opting for an “easy” assignment like learning Morse code. He thought digging a trench sounded like a fun idea, but he hit some parental roadblocks initially.

“Right off the bat (my mother) said no. But I convinced her,” said Ferris, who has a passion for the Canadian Armed Forces, and is an Air Cadet with the 570 Sir Winston Churchill Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron in Edmonton.

It took him a few weeks to construct the trench using a shovel at first before switching to a diesel heater and boiling water to help speed up the process. Though he says it is not entirely historically accurate -- it is only six feet long and three feet deep -- it’s lined with sandbags and features a wooden ladder. Plus, he has the uniform to match.

“If I was being accurate to the day, I wouldn’t have to dig a trench as I would move into a trench previously occupied by the 58th Battalion,” he said.

He’s pretty sure that his teacher likes his work, but he hasn’t been graded yet. Whether he makes the A-grade or not, he plans on maintaining his project for as long as possible.

“It is my mom’s vegetable garden so she probably wants it filled up before planting season,” he said.

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