Vimy 100th Anniversary Tour – April 6-16, 2017

VIMY_MEMORIAL_FOR_BROCHURE_EThe Americans called them “an inspiration … for a generation.” The British described what they did as “the greatest victory of the war.” The French declared their achievement an “Easter gift.”

What the world witnessed that Easter Monday morning – April 9, 1917 – was a near miracle of ingenuity, co-operation and courage among volunteers of the Canadian Corps. That day, 80,000 of them – fighting for the first time as a national army – swarmed up that strategic ridge in north-central France and in a matter of hours accomplished what no Allied army had, in nearly three years of blood-letting in Europe. They seized Vimy from an entrenched German army. Some say those young citizen soldiers also breathed life into a fledgling nation – Canada.

Behind.Jacket hlaThe year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. So, for 10 days next year, travellers will return to the scene of those historic four days in 1917. Ted Barris, author of the bestselling book Victory at Vimy, will lead his fellow travellers to the centennial observance at the Vimy Memorial on April 9, 2017. But in addition, the tour will visit other important First World War sites, such as Beaumont Hamel and Thiepval, Ypres, Passchendaele and the Menin Gate. As well, in the latter half of the tour, Ted will lead his group to Second World War sites at Dieppe and the Normandy beaches to recognize the significance of the D-Day invasion and beyond.

For the full itinerary, accommodation, travel details and pricing, visit the Merit Travel website http://www.merittravel.com

Or call Georgia Kourakos, Senior Manager, Product Development & Groups, Merit Travel, 416-364-3775 x4259, or 1-866-341-1777.

Secret War Tour to Britain – June 4-14, 2016

Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museum

We’re turning the clock back to the Second World War again this year. Only this time we’re returning to the centre of the war effort in Britain between 1939 and 1945.

As we did back in 2006, we will visit some of the most secretive locations in and around London, England, when wartimes in the British Isles were at their darkest and when people, places and events on the home front were turning the tide.

Among our stops this trip will be the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth, Winston Churchill’s war cabinet rooms under London, the Imperial War Museum, Bletchley Park where the Allies decoded the Germans’ Enigma transmissions, and the RAF Duxford Aerodrome home of the U.K.’s largest military aviation museum.

Decoding Enigma at Bletchley Park shortened the war by two years and likely saved 14 million lives, according to the postscript of the movie "The Imitation Game."
Decoding Enigma at Bletchley Park shortened the war by two years and likely saved 14 million lives.

Other attractions included on this trip: Stonehenge, a Shakespearean play at London’t Globe Theatre, Lady Diana’s Memorial, Westminster Abbey, and the secret wartime tunnels under Dover Castle. Not to mention a traditional pub meal, visits to wartime haunts of spies and on and on.

For the full itinerary, accommodation, travel details and pricing, visit the Merit Travel website http://www.merittravel.com/product/the-secret-war-tour-to-britain/

Or call Georgia Kourakos, Senior Manager, Product Development & Groups, Merit Travel, 416-366-5268 x4259, or 1-866-341-1777.

Hosting Holland Liberation Tour 2015

Citizens of Utrecht celebrate newfound freedom on May 5, 1944, with their British and Canadian liberators.
Citizens of Utrecht celebrate newfound freedom on May 5, 1944, with their British and Canadian liberators.

They said 2010 would be the last hurrah. The parades, the observances, the remembrances would never happen again. Officials claimed the vets and the community had acknowledged it all…  for the last time. Well, apparently not. For those who know anything about the Netherlands, the Dutch never say never. And so we’re going back – for the Holland Liberation Tour 2015.

Our plans are to join the 70th anniversary commemoration of Canada’s role in securing victory over Germany’s occupation army and liberating the people of the Netherlands.

The tour – organized by Merit Travel – includes visits to historic sites and attendance at commemorative events, including:

Canadian vets feted by Dutch during 2010 Apeldorn parade.
Canadian vets feted by Dutch during 2010 Apeldoorn parade.

“Bridge Too Far” site at Arnhem, National Liberation Museum and cemetery at Groesbeek, participation in Holland’s annual “Silent March,” attending Canadian commemorations of the surrender at Wageningen, travelling to Walcheren Island where Canadians completed the liberation of the Scheldt Estuary… And we’ll join the VE Day festivities at Apeldoorn, to celebrate the 70th!

It’s a springtime journey when tulips bloom and the Dutch pay homage to their Canadian liberators.

See more at the Merit Travel site for detailed itinerary and package prices.

 

70th Anniversary return to D-Day and Normandy

JUNOTRIP_CDNSSIGN2_JUN112014_EJoin CBC broadcaster and bestselling author Ted Barris and attend the 70th anniversary of D-Day at JUNO Beach in Normandy, France. We are pleased to have Ted Barris lead a unique tour to this historic Second World War region in France. Travellers will fly to Paris and arrive in Normandy in time for the 70th anniversary observances at Canada’s D-Day landing site – the new Juno Beach Centre.

The tour will also include visits to one of Europe’s best war and peace museums, Le Mémorial de Caen, Canada’s D-Day cemetery at Beny-sur-Mer, the Pegasus Bridge museum, the Arromanches Mulberry harbour site, and home of the famous Bayeux tapestry. The Normandy tour will include a guided, day-long immersion into the life, diet and transport of the Canadian soldier 70 years ago, and a one-day side-trip up the coast to the site of Canada’s other history Second World War landing site at Dieppe to see the beaches, museum and cemetery.

 

In the footsteps of Canadians who liberated Italy – May 2013

This Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery is located near Agira, Sicily. Laid to rest here are more than 400 Canadians who died during the liberation of the island in July/August of 1943.

In the early hours of July 10, 1943, along the beaches of Costa Dell Ambra, about 25,000 1st Canadian Infantry Division troops joined nearly 450,000 other British and American soldiers in Operation Husky. It was D-Day in Italy and, up to that time, the largest amphibious military landing ever attempted. It would be the beginning of the end of fascist occupation of Europe.

On that Sicilian landing site, almost 70 years later, is where the Canadian Liberation of Italy tour with Ted Barris begins this May, 2013. You can join Ted Barris and his wife Jayne MacAulay as they lead about 50 travellers retracing the steps of Canadian troops who fought through Italy in WWII.

Highlights of the tour include the landing beaches at Pachino, Sicily, and historic Monte Cassino battlefield (including the abbey).

By Christmas 1943, Canadians have liberated Sicily and half the east coast of Italy. During the month of December and into the new year, they take on and defeat German paratroops in the Adriatic city of Ortona and break the Hitler Line.

You’ll explore the Canadian liberation route to the Adriatic coast including Ortona (Christmas battle site) and Rimini. You’ll also take in Taormina’s 3rd century BC amphitheatre, and War Graves Commission cemeteries in Agira, Cassino, Moro River, among others. You’ll end your tour in Rome with a guided tour of the ancient city. This will be the 10th sold out tour that Ted & Jayne have hosted for Merit guests.

More information – itinerary, booking details, etc. – at the Merit Travel Group website:

http://meritvacations.com/index/vacations/canadians-in-wartime-italy.aspx

Return to Vimy – April 2012

Tour leader Ted Barris at the Vimy Memorial during the 2007 90th anniversary observances.
Tour leader Ted Barris at the Vimy Memorial during the 2007 90th anniversary observances.

It was at Vimy Ridge, on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, that 49 battalions – nearly 100,000 Canadian troops – rose from the trenches in front of No Man’s Land and accomplished the impossible. Where, for two years, neither the British nor French Armies had succeeded in overcoming the German Army occupation of the ridge, the Canadians – in a matter of hours – managed to seize and hold the most strategic heights on the Western Front. Some say the even signified the birth of Canada as a nation.

On April 9, 2012, (the 95th anniversary of the battle) thousands will gather to pay tribute to members of the Canadian Corps who achieved this significant victory and proved to the world that citizens of a young nation could serve King and Empire and the spirit of Canada. For those who join Merit Travel Group’s Ted Barris “Return to Vimy – April 2012” tour, we shall attend that special ceremony.

In addition to attending these historic anniversary events, those joining this 10-day tour (April 5-15, 2012), will make other First World War stops at Ypres and Passchendaele (in Belgium) and the Somme and Beaumont Hamel (in France). Then, to the French coast for stops at Dieppe and the D-Day beaches of Gold, Sword and Juno, where 15,000 Canadians spearheaded the Allied invasion to liberate northwestern Europe.

More information – itinerary, booking details, etc. – at the Merit Travel Group website:

http://www.meritvacations.com/index/vacations/Merit-Hosted-Tours/Normandy-and-Vimy.aspx

Beyond the Wall – June 2011

Tour leader Ted Barris during a scouting trip through Prague, Czech Republic, in August 2010.
Tour leader Ted Barris during a scouting trip through Prague, Czech Republic, in August 2010.

Eastern Europe remains one of the least explored regions of the continent. Principally because of the Cold War (from 1945-1989), when nations such as East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Poland remained dominated by the Soviet Union, many of the Second World War stories and locations have not experienced the same exposure to battlefield tourism that France, Belgium, Holland and Italy have.

In response to many Merit Travel travellers’ requests, Ted Barris has drawn from his historical research and numerous contacts to organize a brand new wartime tour of Poland, Czech Republic and northern Germany. Our “Beyond the Wall” Tour will run from June 12 to 25, 2011, accommodating a limited number of seats…

For more information about this limited-seating tour, visit the Merit Group Travel site.