Category Archives: Vimy 100

Notre Dame

In October 2017, cadets, staff, and members of our squadron sponsorship committee took a trip to the UK and France, particularly Vimy Ridge. While we were there, we learned how deeply and personally our history as Canadians is tied to these places.

On our last day, we visited Paris and Notre Dame. We saw Paris’ mourning of Canada’s First World War soldiers immortalized in the stone of the cathedral and were humbled.

Today, it is our turn to mourn Notre Dame herself. We still hope to see her rise again from her ashes, but she will be always be remembered as she was in her glory.

#809Immortal

This Week

Thanks to all of the cadets and staff who participated in the flurry of pre-Remembrance Day activities on the weekend. Between the various Royal Canadian Legion events (the Poppy Campaign, and the Veterans’ Dinner and Luncheon) and the Grace United Church Remembrance Service, the complements on the cadets’ contributions were almost non-stop. Well done!

We have one more week to go before the November schedule relaxes somewhat. This week’s training details, parades, and community events have been posted to the calendar and can be found below.

Wednesday: Training Night
Friday and Saturday: Remembrance Day Vigil and Parades
Sunday: St. Mark’s Church Service (for cadets who attended the Vimy 100 Trip)

In other good news, we now have the training schedule with instructors posted for the remainder of the calendar year and are committing to have the first three months of 2018’s schedule posted by the beginning of December.

Remember that you have to be signed into the web page to see instructors’ names in the training schedule and to have access to the signup sheets.

Vimy 100 Trip: Day Seven (Late)

A day of sightseeing in Paris finished our trip. We hopped onto a tour bus, visited Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, rode past the Musée du Louvre, and spent some time at La Tour Eiffel before collecting our vans and leaving town.

We visited a mall near the airport to give the cadets some shopping time, grabbed a pasta dinner (with an oversized dessert in there somewhere), and called it a night.

A big thank you goes out to the trip staff, without whom this wouldn’t have been a success.

Vimy 100 Trip: The Return

Last day. We’re getting ready to board our flight (AC 881) and everything looks to be running smoothly for an arrival time of 1:00pm EDT in Toronto.

We all had a great time and an amazing experience, but please be understanding if your cadet (or spouse) isn’t terribly energetic over the next few days.

Great personal thanks go out to OCdt Couroux, CV Gowans, and CV Lett. Without their help and understanding, this trip would not have been the success that it has been.

See you all when we arrive!

 

Vimy 100 Trip: Day Six

We put our uniforms on and left Rouen for Bernières-sur-Mer, Courseulles-sur-Mer, and Bény-sur-Mer on the northern coast of Normandy. We visited the Canadian D-Day Memorial at Canada House, various monuments along the beach, the Centre Juno Beach / Juno Beach Centre, and the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery before carrying on to Paris.

Tomorrow, we end our trip with a relaxing day of shopping and touring various attractions in Paris. The cadets and staff had a great trip, but we’re all exhausted and looking forward to finally coming home and telling our stories.

Vimy 100 Trip: Day Five (A Day at The Beach)

We started later today and drove north to Dieppe, the site of the 1942/8/19 Operation Jubilee Raid. The day was left largely unstructured in order to recharge after four days of packed schedule.

We began by walking the beach at low tide, continued on to visit the Dieppe Canadian Memorial and a few other regimental monuments, have lunch at a local cafe, and do some shopping. We visited the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery on our way out of town, and finished the day with pizza Rouen-style at Le Marégraphe near our hotel.

Tomorrow, we leave Rouen to explore the Centre Juno Beach / Juno Beach Centre and finish the day in Paris, so look for more updates then.

Moments:

OCdt Couroux ordering beef tongue for lunch and •really• enjoyed it. The portion was a bit large and he wasn’t able to finish it, which led to a semi-awkward exclamation of “Come over here and eat my tongue!” when his cadet indicated that he was still hungry.

Apparently the GPS considers closed roads and small footpaths to be valid routes for a large passenger van. Each time this sort of routing occurs, the laughter from the second van intensifies. I can’t be absolutely sure there’s a correlation there, but I’m beginning to suspect.

Vimy 100 Trip: Day Four

After getting the vans and picking up the cadets and remaining staff at the hotel, we drove to Wizernes to visit La Coupole, learning about the occupation of France by Nazi Germany and about the V1 and V2 weapons projects.
 
From La Coupole, we moved on to the key destination of our trip, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, where we spent the rest of the day. Between the sheer joy on the faces of our Canadian guides (pictured are Kate Harder, Alexandra McKinnon, and August Sobers) when we delivered their Kraft Dinner care package, the cadets’ fascination with the tunnels and trenches tour, and the glory of sunset on the monument itself, we shared an amazing experience today.
 
Today, the high-speed pace of the trip winds down dramatically as we spend the day in Dieppe, visit the memorial on the beach and explore the town. More to come then.

Vimy 100 Trip: Day Three

We began the day by catching the Thameslink train from Blackfriars to St. Pancras station. After making a quick stop at the Platform 9 3/4 Shop at King’s Cross, we rode the high speed rail most of the way to Dover. There was some track work, so we had to get a bus for the last leg of the journey.

The afternoon was spent at Dover Castle where we immersed ourselves in the WWII history of the Secret Wartime Tunnels before looking further back to the reign of the Plantagenet Kings of England. The mediaeval history •may• not have exceeded the simple fun of fun of castle exploration for the cadets, but I’m happy with the result either way.

To close the day, we crossed the English Channel to Calais, France. Tomorrow, we’re heading to La Coupole, and the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, with a •possible• stop at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial. More pictures and updates to come.

Funny Moments:

Between CV Lett accidentally stepping on OCdt Couroux’s toe and CV Ross-Gowans inadvertently tripping him, he was certain that the ladies were trying to kill him at one point. CV Lett’s final comment of “We’ll finish you off!” may not have helped.

Despite my driving the van that carried all of the cadets’ luggage, the fact that I did not join them in their arduous hike up the hill to the castle earned me some flak. This evapourated when I offered to let them haul their luggage down to the ferry themselves.