Remembrance Day Destinations
Places to Honour Canada's Vets
Like many in the British Commonwealth, Canada celebrates its veterans and the sacrifices they have made at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in a tribute to the signing time and date of Armistice Treaty at the end of World War I. This year at 11am, Canadians across the country and around the world will mark Remembrance Day at ceremonies and in their hearts. Here we suggest five particularly meaningful locations both at home and abroad for Canadians marking this solemn but important tradition.
National War Memorial, Ottawa
The national Remembrance Day celebration in Ottawa each November is an extensive and moving ceremony. Starting with the tolling of the carillon in the Peace Tower, this event features a parade of Canadian Force members entering the National War Memorial in Confederation Square followed by a host of diplomats, ministers of the Royal Crown, the Royal Canadian Legion and, finally, with a trumpet flourish, the Governor General of Canada. Two minutes of silence at exactly 11 o’clock are bookended by guns salutes. Other highlights include a fly over from the Royal Canadian Air Force and a chorus’ rendition of the World War I poem, “In Flanders Fields”. As the ceremony ends, the public comes forward to lay poppies, the symbol of Remembrance Day, on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which was dedicated in the year 2000 to honour all Canadian service members past, present and future who have or may sacrifice their lives in the name of their country. Search and compare cheap flights to Ottawa.
The Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon spends most of the year playing host to hockey games, bull riding competitions and events like Disney Live! However, on November 11, thousands stream into the sports and entertainment centre in the heart of Saskatchewan to pay homage to the Canadian armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Now in its 80th year, the Saskatoon event has become the largest indoor Remembrance Day ceremony in Canada. The pomp and circumstance starts at 9:30am with band and chorus performances, followed by bag pipers and an extensive military parade leading up to 11 o’clock chimes and two minutes of silence, punctuated by a bugler’s rendition of the “Last Post”. Search and compare cheap flights to Saskatoon.
Canadian National Vimy Memorial, France
During World War I, the four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, all serving as part of the British command, came together for the first time as a unified corps for the Battle of Vimy Ridge, beginning their tradition as one of the most effective fighting units on the Western Front. Their efforts on this battlefield became a symbol of Canadian solidarity as well as sacrifice and, after the war, France turned over use of a parcel of Vimy to Canada to honour those who were killed during the war. Visiting the memorial site brings home the experience and emotion of the time. It is one of the few places where the trenches from the war are still visible. The surrounding fields still carry live, buried munitions. The expansive memorial itself sits atop the highest point of the ridge, a prime vantage point in battle, and features tributes to peace, sympathy, mourning and sacrifice as well as the partnership between Canada and France. The outside wall is inscribed with the names of the 11,285 Canadians killed in France whose final resting places are unknown. Search and compare cheap flights to France.
Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery and Memorial, Netherlands
While battle raged in Germany at the end of World War II, according to records, only one Canadian soldier wound up buried in Deutschland. More than 2,000 Canadians, many who died in the Battle of the Rhineland, were later carried across the border to be reinterred in a cemetery in Groesbeek, Netherlands, where their graves continue to by tended by local children. Alongside the graves stands the Groesbeek Memorial, which honours by name the 1,000 Commonwealth land forces who died fighting as the Western Front moved across the Seine through to the end of the war in Europe and whose grave sites are unknown. Canadians seeking history and a connection to World War II may find this Dutch site an important place for Remembrance. Search and compare cheap flights to the Netherlands.
Korean War Memorial, Meadowvale Cemetery, Brampton, Ontario
While it was being fought, the Korean War was officially considered a police action. Nonetheless, more than 26,000 Canadian troops joined the battle as part of the United Nation’s forces. In 1996, their efforts were honoured with the Korea Veterans’ National Wall of Remembrance, a 61-metre-long, polished granite monument built in Meadowvale Cemetery, about a 45 minute drive northwest of Toronto. This national landmark offers a great education on Canada’s contribution to the war, with a listing of all the military units who served as well as 516 bronze plaques, one for each Canadian killed in the war. The Meadowvale Cemetery is also home to The Ontario Field of Honour, where the Last Post Fund of Ontario offers veterans a dignified funeral and burial. Search and compare cheap flights to Toronto.