The Canadian National Vimy Memorial (photo: Arterra Picture Library/Alamy)

Canadian War Memorials in Europe

By Lea Currie

It has long been said that, while Canada was officially “born” in 1867, the country truly came of age in the early 20th century—when Canadian soldiers fought on the battlefields of two World Wars. A trip to Western Europe presents many opportunities to pay your respects, especially when visiting Belgium, France and the Netherlands, where Canadian war memorials abound.

FRANCE
Canadian National Vimy Memorial
Arguably the world’s most striking war memorial, the twin structures rise up from lush countryside to commemorate the legendary Battle of Vimy Ridge, which was fought here during the First World War.

Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial
A regal caribou stands guard, symbolizing the sacrifice of Newfoundlanders during the disastrous Battle of the Somme. The Newfoundland Regiment was virtually wiped out during World War I’s largest battle on the Western Front.

Square du Canada
This World War II memorial park in Dieppe marks the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the war. The stone memorial in the park pays tribute to the 900-plus Canadian troops who lost their lives in an effort to liberate the town.

Canadian War Memorials Groesbeek Cemetery Netherlands Holland
Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery (photo: Brian Harris for the CWGC/Alamy)

THE NETHERLANDS
Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery
Thousands of Canadian troops died on German battlefields in WWII. Many were transported to this Dutch cemetery during and after the war—more than 2,300 Canadians are interred here.

The Man with Two Hats
This surprisingly whimsical tribute in Apeldoorn is a bronze sculpture raising two chapeaus: one symbolizing the Netherlands, the other Canada, which helped liberate the Dutch from German occupation.

MORE TO READ
Connecting with Canada’s WWI history in Belgium

Liberation Forest
Near the town of Groningen, this living monument to Canadian liberators contains some 30,000 maple trees. They were planted in 1995, the 50th anniversary of the town’s liberation from Nazi occupation.

Canadian war memorials passchendaele museum belgium trenches
Recreated trenches at the Passchendaele Memorial Museum (photo: Stuart Black/Alamy)

BELGIUM
Passchendaele Memorial Museum
About nine kilometres east of Ypres, visitors can walk among recreated trenches and peer into the dugout, constructed using original materials from the era.

Tyne Cot Cemetery
The largest cemetery devoted to Commonwealth war dead: It’s filled with nearly 12,000 headstones, about 1,000 of which are marked with a maple leaf to signify their Canadian roots.

The Brooding Soldier
A towering 11-metre-high stone statue erected in 1923 to commemorate Canadian casualties suffered during 1915’s Second Battle of Ypres. The looming stone soldier, with downward-cast eyes, marks the four-day skirmish during which one in every three Canadian soldiers died.

BOOK WITH AMA
AMA’s trained agents will find a European experience that’s perfectly suited to your interests and travel style:

WWI and WWII Battlefields (Trafalgar)
Depart May–Aug. 2017
12-day guided tour of memorials in the Netherlands, France and Belgium; from $3,825
Call a travel specialist: 1-866-667-4777

Paris to Normandy for WWII Historians (Avalon Waterways)
July 7–14, 2018
8-day river cruise with onboard lectures by a WWII expert; from $5,243 (AMA benefit: Save $100/couple)
Call a cruise specialist: 1-866-989-6594

WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED
Before heading to Europe, remember some travel basics and enjoy perks from AMA:

• Enjoy peace of mind while abroad. Purchase travel medical insurance prior to departing. AMA members save 10% on premiums.

• Make sure your passport is up-to-date. AMA Plus and Premier members get one free set of passport photos per year.

• Belgium, France and the Netherlands use the euro. Pick up euros at any AMA centre.

• Consider getting an International Driving Permit, available exclusively at AMA centres.

• Save up to 20% and earn up to $25 in reward dollars on Hertz car rentals.