War and the Canadian Experience in France & Flanders

A PD tour of France and Flanders for Educators

July 5-19, 2020. Apply now. Deadline for applications March 15, 2020.

Want a preview? Check out the virtual tour from France in 2017 or the Netherlands in 2015! 

The July 2013 Teachers Tour with the Falaise Gap in the background.

High School teachers, BEd, and MEd candidates are invited to apply for a study tour examining the Canadian battlefields and memorials of the Great War in Belgium and France as well as the Second World War in Dieppe and Normandy.

Participants may register for academic credit at the Masters' or senior undergraduate level or obtain a non-credit certificate. Some bursaries, up to $2000 per person, are available. 

The program cost is $3000 and covers accommodation, travel, and instruction costs while in Europe. Current teachers and BEd and MEd students may qualify for a reduced cost. Fees for course credit, travel to and from Europe, the cost of some meals and incidentals are additional but accommodations in Normandy all have kitchen space and are near grocery stores. Contact us if you'd like some recommendations for fundraising. 

The program includes visits with friends in Givenchy-en-Gohelle, at the foot of Vimy Ridge, and Rocquancourt in Normandy. For the centenary of the battle of Vimy, the town of Givenchy-en-Gohelle declared 2017 "The Year of Canada" and we will have a special visit to celebrate this connection in the course of the tour.

For questions about the tour or to learn how you can become a sponsor, please contact the Gregg Centre.

Dr. Cindy Brown, Blake Seward, and Dr. Lee Windsor will be the tour guides.

The history

This study tour builds on the program begun in partnership with Historica (2005-2008) and later the Historica-Dominion Institute and Veterans' Affairs Canada. 

Between 2007-2014, the Gregg Centre and the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies (LCMSDS) partnered to deliver a unique opportunity for Canadian history and social studies teachers. Held annually in July, the tour brings high school teachers from across Canada to important historic sites including Ypres, Vimy Ridge, and Amiens from the Great War and the Second World War battlefields of Dieppe and Normandy.

Between 2012-2014 the tour was supported generously by John and Pattie Cleghorn.

Many former participants have been inspired to organize study tours for their own students. Nearly all have reported that the program invigorated their teaching, exposing them to new ideas and methods that enhance relationships between school and community.

Practicing teachers as well as BEd and MEd candidates are invited to apply for the study tour and bursary. Participants may register for academic credit at the Master's level or senior undergraduate level or obtain a non-credit certificate. A limited number of $2000 bursaries and partial bursaries are available, thanks to private sponsorship.

Our sponsors

  • The Friends of the Gregg Centre
  • The RCR Trust
  • The Hill 70 Commemorative Group

Please contact us to become a sponsor!

Purpose and goals

The War and the Canadian Experience Teachers' Professional Development tour introduces educators to the history of Canada in two world wars and the potential for using the subject as a vehicle to foster critical thinking skills and "historical consciousness" in today's young people.

The tour visits the most important Canadian battlefields and memorials in Belgium and France. From the great Vimy pilgrimage of 1936 to the recent anniversary of commemorations of Vimy, D-Day and VE Day, Canadians have been drawn to these sites of memory which form important chapters in our nation's history. Participants will be exposed to the latest research and academic debate over Canada's wartime experience.

Past participants have said the tour was the best professional development experience they have ever had. See our virtual tour from France 2016.

Brief itinerary

The itinerary (but not the dates) are only tentative. The dates are July 5-19, 2020.

Day 1 (July 5) - Group meets in Paris before traveling to the northern end of the Western Front and working our way south.

Day 2 (July 6) - Drive to Ypres and Introduction to the Great War

Day 3 (July 7) - Canada's experience in the Ypres Salient in 1915-16

Day 4 (July 8) - Passchendaele 1917, Drive to Arras

Day 5 (July 9) - Vimy Ridge and the Arras Sector, 1917

Day 6 (July 10) - The Somme 1916, Beaumont-Hamel, The Hundred Days Campaign 1918, drive to Dieppe

Day 7 (July 11) - Introduction to Canada and the Second World War, The Dieppe Raid, drive to Bayeux. Our home for the next week is Le Moulin Morin, west of Bayeux in Calvados, Normandy.

Day 8 (July 12) - Wrap-up workshop on the First World War in the classroom, introduction to the Normandy region.

Day 9 (July 13) - Canada on Juno Beach, 6 June 1944

Day 10 (July 14) - British and American beaches and the wider Overlord plan

Day 11 (July 15) - Canada's Defence of the Normandy Beachhead, June-July 1944

Day 12 (July 16) - Verrières Ridge, July-August 1944

Day 13 (July 17) - The 'Falaise Gap' Climax to the Normandy Campaign

Day 14 (July 18) - Wrap-up discussion on the Second World War in the classroom.

Day 15 (July 19) - Return to Paris for return flights to Canada.

For further information, contact the study tour directors Dr. Lee Windsor or Dr. Cindy Brown