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Battlefields Tour

PoppyApril 9, 2017 is the centenary of Vimy Ridge, the most significant WWI battle for Canadian troops and a defining moment in our nation’s history.  Thousands of Canadians will visit Flanders and the Vimy Ridge Memorial to commemorate Canada’s military victory.  If you are considering leading a school trip, a battlefield tour combined with a selection of European capital cities is a tour that will generate excitement with your students and within your school community.

Look ahead to March Break and Spring 2016 & 2017 with a superbly designed set of inspiring itineraries that can be customized to your unique educational travel needs.

Day 1: Belgium: Ypres & Sanctuary Wood

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Ypres is the site of one of the most significant battles fought by Canadian soldiers during the Great War.  It was in this small town in Flanders where German forces first used mustard gas, and the St. Julian Memorial marks the spot where Canadians first encountered this terrible new weapon of war.  Totally destroyed during the WW1, Ypres commemorates the terrible tole on human life at the Menin Gate.  Designed as a war memorial to those soldiers who fell and have no known grave, since 1928 the Menin Gate hosts an incredibly evocative ceremony every night at 8 pm where traffic comes to a standstill and the local fire brigade sounds the Last Post as a tribute to and honour to all British Empire soldiers who fought and died defending Ypres.  Not to be missed is the Sanctuary Wood Museum (Hill 62), one of the last sites on the Ypres Salient where original trenches and tunnels can be experienced.  Students can get a sense of the living conditions that soliders had to endure as they waited to “go over the top” and rush the German trench line.  Not far away is the Canadian Hill 62 (Sanctuary Wood) Memorial, that commemorates the successful Canadian battle, but also the 8,430 casualties suffered in the process.

Overnight: Ypres
Sites visited: St. Julian Memorial, Ypres, Menin Gate, Last Post Ceremony, Sanctuary Wood Museum, Canadian Hill 62 Memorial

 

 

Day 2: Belgium & France: Ypres to Vimy

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Passchaendale is synonymous with the horror of war and for good reason.  Today’s programme will start with a visit to In Flanders Fields Museum, located in the landmark Cloth Hall in the heart of Ypres.  Virtually destroyed by artillery fire in the war, the Cloth Hall was reconstructed with German reparation funds and today houses the museum dedicated to exploring and exposing the horrors or war.  Afterwards, leave the town of Ypres and travel the short distance to Passchaendale, scene of one of the most terrible and futile battles of WW1. In 16 days of fighting during the Second Battle of Passchendaele, Canada had 15,654 casualties with over 4,000 dead.  The Canadian Passchendaele Memorial commemorates the heroic fighting and is a reminder of our country’s significant loss.   In the afternoon, travel south through the same French countryside that experienced destruction during both World Wars to Vimy Ridge and the town of Arras. Enroute if time permits, stop at the Louvre Museum in Lens, the only outpost of Le Louvre and home to many important works of art from Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Modern Era.  Of particular note is Delacroix’s famous painting of “Liberty Leading the People”, the allegorical representation of France’s fight for freedom from oppression.

Overnight: Arras
Sites Visited: Flanders Fields Museum, Canadian Passchendaele Memorial, Louvre Lens

 

 

Day 3: France: Vimy Ridge and the Canadian National War Memorials

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Vimy Ridge holds a solemn importance in Canadian military history and played a pivotal role in the development of the Canadian identity in the early 20th century.  The Vimy Ridge Monument is the most iconic war memorial in all of France; the land was gifted by the French people in gratitude and perpetuity to Canada for the country’s heroic sacrifice and 10,602 casualties suffered over 4 days of fighting in April 1917. Canadian troops proved themselves to be a formidable and effective fighting force with a stunning victory under demanding circumstances.  It’s for this reason that Vimy Ridge was chosen as the site for Canada’s most important memorial.  Visit the Vimy Interpretive Centre and followed by a guided tour of the underground tunnels and front line trenches will provide a context in which to understand the military feat of the Canadian troops. Return to Arras for lunch and take a trip beneath the city via the Wellington Quarry.  A veritable underground city that housed thousands of allied troops in 1917, the Quarry was dug to connect with an existing labyrinth of 10th Century tunnels 10 meters below the city.  Later, visit the Beaumont Hammel Newfoundland Memorial commemorating the extraordinary bravery of the Newfoundland Regiment during the Battle of the Somme and is the largest memorial on the Western Front.  Tragically, in 30 minutes of fighting the regiment was wiped out.  Transferred to Canada when Newfoundland became part of the country in 1949, the Beaumont Hammel site together with Vimy Ridge are the only two National Historic Sites of Canada located outside Canada.

Overnight: Arras
Sites Visited: Wellington Quarry, Vimy Ridge Memorial, Beaumont Hammel Memorial

 

 

Day 4, France: WW1 to WW2

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Depart the WW1 battlefields this morning and drive southwest to Normandy and the incredible D-Day landing beaches.  Enroute visit Dieppe and Omaha Beach. The Dieppe Raid was one of the most devastating and bloody chapters in Canadian military history, with Canadian casualties numbering 3,362. Learn how the Germans successfully defended the beaches and the impact the Dieppe Raid had on the Allied Forces’ future landing operations. Visit the incredibly moving Canadian cemetery, created by the occupying German forces with the headstones of the deceased placed back-to-back in the German tradition, a unique layout unlike any other Commonwealth War Grave. Continue along the coast to the Arromanches Museum, where on June 6, 1944 the area became internationally significant as the site for the WW2 D-Day Landings. See an exposition that highlights the engineering feats and the heroic bravery of the Allied soldiers. Visit the innovative Juno Beach Centre and the Canadian and American cemeteries at Courseulles-Sur-Mer. Late in the afternoon, travel the short distance to the medieval city of Caen, which was founded by William the Conqueror in 1060 and where he built the impressive Abbey, Cathedral and Castle. Caen was pivotal in the Battle of Normandy in 1944, when much of the town was destroyed before being liberated by British and Canadian forces. The Caen Memorial commemorates WW2 and its aftermath the Cold War with educational exhibits.

Overnight: Caen
Sites visited: Dieppe & Omaha Beach, Arromanches Museum, Juno Beach Centre, Canadian dan American Cemeteries, Memorial de Caen/ Musee Memorial de la Bataille de Normandie

 

 

© 2017 Georgia Hardy Tours
20 Eglinton Ave. West, Suite 1104
Toronto, Ontario M4R 1K8

416-483-7533   |   1-800-813-4509

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Pre and Post Battlefield Tour Options:

                 
  London   Paris   Amsterdam   Brussels  
 

Option 1: London

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Option 2: Paris

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Amsterdam

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Brussels

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  Munich              
 

Munich

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