Flanders Fields Calls Canadians Back to Belgium
TORONTO, July 9, 2018 /CNW/ - As the World Cup draws to a close with a historic performance to date from the Belgian Red Devils, this week will also mark National Flemish day on July 11. Expat Belgians and Canadian colleagues will gather in Toronto to celebrate this success which is indicative of the century old bond between Canada and Flanders in particular. VISITFLANDERS will mark this National Flemish day in Toronto with a toast to the region and as a tribute to the storied relationship between the people of Flanders and to remind Canadians that they continue to be revered in Belgium for their service and sacrifice in the Great War.
"Visiting the West Flanders region in particular is one of the most unique and profound experiences you can have as a Canadian," said Janice Ruddock manager of travel trade for the Canadian Representative Office of VISITFLANDERS in Toronto. Commemorative events throughout 2017 resulted in very strong year for Canadian visitation to the region. "While these events are great drivers we are also seeing a continued curiosity and an uptick in packages from Canadian tour operators beyond 2018." Ruddock added, "we see that interest has not waned because the connection between Canada and Belgium has deepened with people tracing their roots in the century since the Great War and we do anticipate activation into 2019 for the centennial of Peace Year".
Ongoing points of interest for Canadians in Flanders include "The Canadian Battlefield Tour" which is an immersive way to experience the magnitude of Canada's contribution to the Great War. From Flanders Fields Museum to the Menin Gate and Essex Farm where John McCrae wrote his famous poem In Flanders Fields, there are a great many poignant places to visit across the region for Canadians.
Another new and helpful resource for those tracing their own family connections to Flanders is the Common Wealth War Graves Commission information centre in Ypres. The Commission has a wealth of digitized records has made it easier than ever before to find family and community members service records.
While it still is officially the commemorative period there are a series of events commemorating Great War anniversaries and programs which will roll out over the next five months in the lead up to the centennial Armistice events in November, 2018.
The official Armistice program in West Flanders includes a special Last Post ceremony on Nov. 11th and an art installation "Memorial Chairs" by Val Carmen representing 104 regions that participated in the First World War, public concerts and special ceremony at the Crest Farm Canadian Memorial on Nov. 10th.
For further information: Corinne MacLellan, VISITFLANDERS, T + (1) 902 209 3234, Corinne@Groupatn.ca