In the Footsteps of John McCrae: Commemorating 100 Years of In Flanders Field

Information Night – March 30, 7 pm, at the Guelph Civic Museum

Ana Carias and Ingrid Nardella of Frederick Travel Waterloo will join us at the museum to present an overview of the trip and answer questions.

Tour Features:

• Escorted by Bev Dietrich, Curator, Guelph Museums and expert on John McCrae

• Services of a professional local tour manager

• Roundtrip transatlantic Air Canada flights from / to Toronto including all taxes as at October 2014

• 7 nights hotel accommodations with taxes

• Continental breakfast daily, 2 lunches and 5 dinners

• Private motor coach travel

• Sightseeing as listed with all local guides

• TGV one way train from Lille on last day

Not Included:

• Items of a personal nature

• Anything not listed in the itinerary

• Insurance

NOTE: Proof of medical insurance is required to participate on trip

Cost: $3,495 p.p. twin / double basis

$3,980 Single – On request / Very limited for this tour

Deposit: $500.00 at time of booking

Balance: Due July 31, 2015

All rates are in Canadian dollars based on double occupancy.

In The Footsteps of John McCrae

Commemorating 100 years of In Flanders Fields 

Friday October 2 Toronto – Paris (in-flight meals and entertainment)

This evening we board our non-stop flight to travel from Toronto to Paris.

Saturday October 3 Paris (D)

Arrival in Paris airport. Meet with your bus driver and transfer to our central Paris hotel. Hotel check-in and time to freshen up. This afternoon meet with our English speaking local guide for a 3-hour city tour of Paris. Paris has numerous magnificent buildings and statues but also modern buildings like the Centre Pompidou or the glass pyramid in the center court of the Louvre. Each quarter has its special charm and attractions and we will enjoy an overview of many of these during our tour. 17.00 Return to the hotel. This evening we will enjoy a welcome dinner in a typical Parisians restaurant

Sunday October 4 Versailles – Paris (B)

Breakfast at our hotel. This morning we meet with our local English speaking guide and depart for a half-day tour to visit the Versailles Castle. The castle of Versailles was planned for the “sun king“ Louis XIV and built by the leading architects and designers of the 17th century. The giant gardens are planned symmetric and decorated with many fountains. More than 1000 servants used to attend to the king. The glamour of the pompous saloons are only surpassed by the famous mirror hall. Mid-day return to Paris and an open afternoon and evening for individual exploration.

Monday October 5 Paris – Ovillers-La-Boisselle – Vimy (B, D)

Breakfast at our hotel and check-out. This morning we transfer to Ovillers-La-Boisselle and, at approximately 10am, visit the Lochnagar Memorial Crater. On July 1, 1916, 27 tons of high explosive was detonated in two chambers dug in a mine by Royal engineers from the 34th Division – 101st and 102nd Brigades (The Tyneside Scottish) and 103rd Brigade (The Tyneside Irish). The aim was to tunnel under the German trenches and explode the mines. Many thousands were killed and the biggest man-made crater of WWI was opened. Open for lunch in the region. In mid-afternoon we will continue to Vimy where we will visit the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. The memorial site is dedicated to the memory of Canadian Expeditionary Force members killed during WWI. It serves as the place of commemoration for WWI Canadian soldiers killed or presumed dead in France but with grave. The monument is the centrepiece of a preserved battlefield park. Following our visit here we continue to Ypres (now known by its Flemish name of Ieper). On arrival we check-in to our hotel for a five night stay. Dinner this evening on our hotel.

Tuesday October 6 Ieper (B, D)

Breakfast at our hotel. This morning we will walk (or transfer) to the IFF Museum and the square. Visitors are invited to reflect on the major historical events but also experience the personal stories of historical importance. The Museum shows how the First World War affected the lives of the thousands of people of different nationalities. We then will have time to visit of the bell tower. The balance of this afternoon is left open for individual exploration and reflection. We will have dinner prior to departing for the Menin Gate where our group will lay a wreath. The memorial bears the names of 54,389 officers and men from United Kingdom and Commonwealth Forces (except New Zealand and Newfoundland) who fell in the Ypres Salient before 16th August 1917 and who have no known grave. A further 34,000 names of the missing after this date are commemorated on the panels of the Tyne Cot Memorial in Passendale. At 7:30 pm we will gather at the Gate as each evening at 8.00 pm the Last Post is sounded. This evening may be changed as we wish to lay a wreath during the Extended Ceremony and we need to ensure that the Extended Ceremony is the one we participate in.

Wednesday October 7 Ypres region (B, L)

Breakfast at our hotel. Following breakfast we will transfer to Essex Farm. Here we will have a guided visit of Essex Field Dressing Station and Essex Field Cemetery. Essex Farm got its name from a small cottage nearby. From 1915 through 1917 the concrete bunkers found here comprised a dressing station. The Canadian Medical Officer John McCrae served here. In 1915 he wrote possibly the war’s most well known poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’. Here 1,200 servicemen (103 not identified) are buried or commemorated in the Essex Field Cemetery. Lunch locally. Following this afternoon we transfer to Sanctuary Wood and Hill 62. Hill 62 lay within the Ypres bow the frontline that hardly moved in 4 years in the Sanctuary Wood on the top of Mount Sorrel. It was held by the Canadian Expeditionary Force defending the southern stretched of the Ypres Salient but captured by the Germans in 1916 after the 2nd battle of Flanders. During the 3rd and 4th battle it also played an important role. Today it is a Canadian memorial which we will visit beside Sanctuary Wood on the top of Mount Sorrel. Return to Ypres and an open evening.

Thursday October 8 Ypres – Poperinge (B, D)

Breakfast at our hotel. Visit to St. George Memorial Church. The church was built between 1927 and 1929 to remember the 250,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers who died in one of the four Flanders battles. The construction followed a call from the veterans, The Ypres League and their chairman Sir John French. We then transfer to Poperinge where we will visit Talbot House. Talbot House, known as ‘Toc H’, was a very special place during WWI. It was established by the Reverend ‘Tubby’ Clayton in December 1915 as an ‘Everyman’s Club’ for soldiers and officers of the British Army. Now it is a ‘living museum’. Early in the evening we will enjoy dinner in a local brewery restaurant. The west Flanders region is very well known for its high density of breweries providing Belgium beer specialities. Return to Ypres for the evening.

Friday October 9 Calais – Boulogne – Ypres (B, D)

Breakfast at our hotel. This morning we meet with our English speaking guide and depart to the North Sea (Channel) and along the coast to the Boulogne region. On the way we will have many photo stops – by example at Calais where we can see the white cliffs of Dover. Today we will visit Wimereux Cemetery. Wimereux was the headquarters of the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps during the First World War and in 1919 it became the General Headquarters of the British Army. From October 1914 onwards, Boulogne and Wimereux formed an important hospital centre and until June 1918, the medical units at Wimereux used the communal cemetery for burials, the south-eastern half having been set aside for Commonwealth graves, although a few burial were also made among the civilian graves. By June 1918, this half of the cemetery was filled, and subsequent burials from the hospitals at Wimereux were made in the new military cemetery at Terlincthun. Wimereux Communal Cemetery contains 2,847, Commonwealth burials of the First World War, two of them unidentified. Buried among them is Lt.-Col. John McCrae, author of the poem “In Flanders Fields.” There are also five French and a plot of 170 German war graves. Return to Ypres via Hazebrouck. This evening we will enjoy a Farewell dinner and have an opportunity to reflect on the historical importance of the tour we have enjoyed.

Saturday October 10 Lille – Paris (B)

Breakfast and hotel check out – transfer to Lille for our fast train to Paris Airport (CDG) and our return to Ontario. You may also elect to extend your stay in Europe. On arrival at CDG, check-in and board our non-stop return flight to Toronto.


Bev Dietrich is the Curator of Guelph Museums which includes the Guelph Civic Museum and McCrae house, birthplace of First World War poet John McCrae of In Flanders Fields fame.

Bev graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a B.A. in history and attended the Museum Technology Program at Algonquin College. She has completed the Ontario Museum Association’s Certificate in Museum Studies of which she is now a course director for the Collection Management course. Bev was recently honoured with the Award of Excellence for Lifetime Achievement from the Ontario Museum Association for her outstanding contribution to the Ontario museum community.

Bev was special guest in Belgium in 1995 for the 80th anniversary of the writing of the poem “In Flanders Fields” and is looking forward to sharing her expertise on John McCrae during celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the writing of the poem in 2015.

Tour land cost includes

• Tour escort and Lt. Col. John McCrae expert Bev Dietrich, Curator, Guelph Museums

• Return air flights with Air Canada to / from Paris and all air taxes

• Professional Tour Manager throughout the tour in Europe

• 7 x Night in a double in a good middle-class hotel, all taxes and service charges

• 7 x Breakfast in the hotel

• 2 x Lunch

• 5 x Dinner

• Guided city tour in Paris (half day)

• Guided visit at Versailles (half day)

• Special guides at each visit in our itinerary in Belgium (7 visits)

• Entry IFF Museum and bell tower Ypres

• Entry Talbot House

• Bus transfer in a modern coach

• Transfer TGV Lille-Paris CDG

• 1 day English speaking guide North France

Extra day cost p.p. Paris B+B basis: CAD $60

Extra day cost p.p. Ieper B+B basis: CAD $55

Accommodations are based on very good mid range hotels in both Paris and Ieper and include breakfast daily and all local taxes.

Posted by Dawn Owen on March 9, 2015