Connection Tours Presents:
D-Day 70th Anniversary Tour June 3rd-13th 2014
As each passing year takes place, it takes us further away from the events that shaped our country and the world in which we live in today. The pivotal battle of Normandy which began on June 6th 1944 was one such event. The Allied forces including our own Canadian troops, fought desperately to gain a foothold on Nazi occupied Europe, in succeeding it paved the way for its eventual freedom.Seventy years have since past from what was known as operation “Overlord” or “D-Day” but its importance is strongly remembered to this day. 2014 also marks the 100th Anniversary of the beginning of World War One, the war to end all wars. In 1914 Canada responded strongly to the Commonwealths call to arms and placed our country on the world’s stage from its accomplishments on the field of battle. Sadly however, after four years of brutal static fighting it wiped out a generation and left scars on the earth that are clearly visible today. Both of these points in time will be revisited in great detail along with two days of touring in the Netherlands. There we will explore the Allies Military actions that contributed to this beautiful countries Liberation in 1945. Canadians can be proud of our military achievements that gave back freedom to so many. This special tour will focus heavily on the role Canada along with our allies played in both World Wars. If you have always wanted to walk in the footsteps of a serving relative or just come to witness where it all happened this is the tour for you! Please join us in remembering those who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice. This limited space tour will be memorable from start to end.
Day One- June 3rd:
Departing from Toronto’s Lester B Pearson International Airport you will begin your journey to Paris, France. Breakfast and dinner will be served on board.
Day Two- June 4th:
Upon your arrival in Paris you will be met by your tour manager (Glenn Edmonds) and coach driver. As we make our way through the historic city you be given a chance for photo opportunities at the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. We will then continue on towards the Normandy coast to visit the famous Pegasus Bridge. This important strategic position was assaulted by the British 6th Airborne Paratroopers with amazing precision in the early morning hours of June 6th. We will take time to view the glider landing zone and see the first house liberated in Europe, the Cafe Gondree. Tonight is our “welcome dinner” and a chance to get to know everyone. Overnight- Caen (D).
Day Three- June 5th:
Today we will explore the American sectors of the landings and other sites of interest. It begins with seeing Colleville-sur-Mer American War Cemetery. This cemetery overlooks “Bloody Omaha” beach and was featured in the 1998 film “Saving Private Ryan” by Steven Spielberg. It has many touching tributes dedicated to its countries war dead and an interpretation center filled with personal stories. Afterwards we travel to see the dramatic battle scarred landscape of Pointe du Hoc. The areas imposing 100 foot tall cliffs were daringly scaled by the 2nd Ranger Battalion in order to knock out the large gun emplacements on top. It sits virtually unchanged from 1944. La Cambe German War Cemetery is our next stop; this gives those the opportunity to see the distinct differences between Allied and German cemeteries and the losses taken by our then enemy. Our group will then have lunch in the historic town of Bayeux. While we visit Bayeux it will include a stop at the Battle of Normandy museum. This museum features a very impressive collection of weapons, vehicles and other original artifacts from the Battle. Before leaving we visit the Bayeux memorial and its monument dedicated to the 1,801 missing commonwealth soldiers from the Battle of Normandy. The last stop of our busy day will be the German gun emplacements at Longues-sur-Mer. These guns dueled with allied warships at sea on the morning of June 6th. Too large to move after the war they were left as a reminder to the fighting that occurred here by the French Government. Overnight- Caen (D).
Day Four- June 6th:
Throughout today we will witness the local French townspeople marking this special day in their history, D-Day. Times and events are TBA but we will start this morning by visiting the 11th century Abbaye D’ Ardenne and the memorial to the 20 Canadian soldiers murdered by SS troops in its courtyard while being held as prisoners in the opening days of the Battle for Normandy. We will then stop at point 67 to view Verrieres ridge, one of the most defended German positions in all of Normandy. It was here where the Black Watch of Montreal was virtually wiped out during “Operation Spring”. Next stop will be Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery. This immaculate cemetery contains the graves of predominantly men from the 2nd Canadian Division who lost their lives in the later stages of the Battle for Normandy. We shall then explore and enjoy the town of Arromanches in what was one of the British sectors codenamed “Gold Beach”. The massive artificial harbour Mulberry B or “Port Winston” as the troops nicknamed it is clearly visible from the beach and the surrounding area. Our day will then continue at a must see spot for Canadians, the Juno Beach center in Courseulles-sur-Mer. Located next to the sand dunes where the Royal Winnipeg Rifles landed on June 6th, its displays and literature tells the story of Canada’s military and civilian participation in WW2 and the post war era. After a stroll along the beach front to see the monuments and enemy bunkers we will stop at Bernieres-sur-Mer to look at the “Maison Queens Own Rifles”, the famous first house liberated by our troops early that morning. Our day will finish at Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery. This beautiful and hallowed plot of land holds 2,048 brave Canadians who gave their lives in opening weeks of the Battle. Overnight- Caen (B, D).
Day Five- June 7th:
This morning we will travel to the Seaside port of Dieppe. The picturesque beaches of Dieppe are also the scene of the Canada’s darkest day in World War Two. On August 19th 1942, 907 men died in a space of a few hours. Operation “Jubilee” as it was called was an attempt to amphibiously land troops in occupied France in a rehearsal raid for D-Day. The catastrophe that unfolded is the main reason harsh controversy surrounding Dieppe still lingers today. We will explore all three landing zones, the cliffs, gun emplacements and the many memorials to our Regiments that bravely fought here in a hopeless situation. Our day will end with a visit to the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery close by. Overnight- Arras (D).
Day Six- June 8th:
This morning will start by visiting the Vimy Ridge National Historic Site of Canada. On April 9th 1917, Canada’s volunteer army fighting together for the first time accomplished what no other army could previously; take Hill 145 and the surrounding area from the Germans. We will tour the restored trenches, go underground into the tunnels and view Walter Allwards masterpiece monument, our World War One National Memorial. Other places of visit will include the preserved battlefield of Beaumont Hamel, the Thiepval memorial to the missing of the Somme, the Courcelette memorial and the Trench museum in the famous town of Albert among others. Overnight- Arras (B, D).
Day Seven- June 9th:
Today we will head towards to coastline to view the La Coupole V2 ballistic missile launch site. This immense underground bunker system was Hitler’s idea at striking back at London in an effort to change the course of the war. The museum offers great insight to the complete history of the area including these devastating Vengeance weapons. The remainder of our day will be spent exploring into Belgium and the Ieper Salient where so many ferocious battles were fought. We will see The Brooding soldier monument at St. Julian, the location in which Canadians suffered through the first gas attacks of the war. We will also tour the area surrounding the horrific battle of Passchendaele and discuss the appalling conditions men were told to fight in. It was a battle that cost Canada 16,000 causalities in 25 days. Our day will finish with a stop at Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth War cemetery in the world. It was first used in 1917 to bury those recently killed in the fighting and quickly swelled in size. Many of Passchendaele’s victims lie peacefully forever here. Overnight-Ieper (B, D)
Day Eight- June 10th:
Today we site see at Essex farm where John McCrae composed the now world famous poem “In Flanders Fields”. Afterwards we shall stop at the sombre German cemetery of Langemark. Once visited by Hitler himself it is the final resting place of over 44,000 individuals. After lunch the group will be given the afternoon to browse through the beautiful, historic town of Ieper and all it has to offer. Local foods, gift shops, museums and landmarks can be taken in by all. After dinner we will walk the short distance to the Menin Gate Memorial. Here we will attend one of the most moving events in the world, The Last Post Ceremony at 8pm. Overnight- Ieper (B, D)
Day Nine- June 11th:
Today we will depart early and make our way to the Netherlands. This countries grateful population shares a very close bond to Canada due to our sacrifices in liberating them from German occupation during WW2. Near the 2000 year old city of Nijmegen we will visit the Canadian War Cemetery of Groesbeek. This cemetery contains the graves of over 2,300 men who died in fighting around the area. It is also the final resting place of 23 year old Victoria Cross recipient Sgt. Aubrey Cosens. Much Focus will be placed on “Operation Market Garden”, the largest airborne operation in history that took place in Holland. We will visit the Hartenstein Hotel which was used by the British 1st Airborne as a headquarters for 9 days in September of 1944, now it stands as a museum dedicated to Market Garden. Nearby we will view Oosterbeek War Cemetery, also known as the “Paratrooper Cemetery” due to the high amount buried here from the fighting. Close to Arnhem we will visit the renamed “John Frost Bridge” in honor of the commander who fought against overwhelming odds to hold it in the battle. This famous landmark was featured in the 1977 film “A Bridge too far” by Richard Attenborough. Overnight-Arnhem (B, D)
Day Ten- June12th:
Today gives us the opportunity to visit one of the most impressive and largest war museums in the world, the Liberty Park/Marshall Museum in town of Overloon. This massive complex contains some of the most rarest and intact military hardware on display anywhere. Much of it was found in the surrounding area where the fighting took place in 1944. The quiet forested grounds on the outside display plenty more. We also will take time and travel to the Holten Military Cemetery. This secluded, peaceful piece of land is another reminder of our countries sacrifice during 1944/45. It holds men mostly from the 2nd Division who died in operations aimed at driving the Germans out of Holland and in the push into Germany. It has been the spot of many of our countries ceremonies over the years in remembrance of our war dead. Tonight is our final and farewell dinner at our hotel. It is always a great time enjoyed by all! Overnight-Arnhem (B, D)
Day Eleven- June 13th:
This morning you will be transferred to Amsterdam airport by coach for your return flight home. (B), lunch and snacks served on board.
$ 4375 CAD | per person based on twin occupancy including air from Toronto
$ 3575 CAD | per person land only
$ 810CAD | Single supplement
|• Round trip air transportation from Toronto
• Superior Tourist Class Hotels
• Breakfast & Dinner Daily
• All Entrances as per your itinerary
• Executive Coach equipped with
washroom / video / tea /coffee
• Experienced Tour Manager
|• Lunches and drinks
• Air Transportation taxes
( approx. $650 )
• Travel Insurance
• Gratuities to tour manager / driver