As we get closer to the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, our Product and Innovation Team is working hard behind the scenes to make this special event unforgettable. We’ve received a lot of questions from some of our Group Leaders and are answering your most common questions about your tour below. Subscribe to the Road To Vimy 100 mailing list to receive all our updates, and read on to learn more.
Safety & Security
What kind of security will be in place during the 100th anniversary celebrations? What type of plans are in place in case of a safety or security issue that may arise during this time?
Your safety and security is our utmost priority. The governments of Canada and France will be directing protocol and security for the official ceremony on April 9, 2017. Over the past decade, EF has developed a close working relationship with with Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), which manages the Canadian National Vimy Ridge Memorial, and EF will be working closely with VAC to help direct and inform security plans for EF travelers. Once more details are released, you’ll be the first to know.
What level of entry will my students be given to the actual Vimy monument, trenches and tunnels during our visit, due to security concerns?
Surrounding the dates of April 9, access to the Vimy memorial site, tunnels, trenches and monument will likely be restricted. The level of access groups will be granted is yet to be determined. EF will continue to work with VAC, responsible for site management, to maximize opportunity for groups, however, access to the tunnels, trenches, and proximity to the monument is not guaranteed at this time.
Hotels and Food
How can I get information about the hotels my group will be staying at? How will ground transportation take place during my tour?
If you are a Group Leader, EF can provide you with a list of sample hotels where you may be staying. As with all EF tours, we will release exact information about your group’s hotels closer to your departure date (around 60 days prior to departure). Please note that on and around April 9, 2017, all bus travel in and out of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial will be controlled by Veterans Affairs Canada and local French authorities. As with all elements of the Vimy 100th Anniversary Tour, EF is working closely with event organizers to help inform the processes that will be implemented and ensure logistics run as smoothly as possible. We will inform you about more specific details closer to your date of departure.
Given the volume of people at this event, how will EF ensure that everyone will be fed in a timely fashion? How will travelers with dietary restrictions have their needs met?
We work with expert, reliable and trusted food service suppliers that understand the needs of large groups and events. We have several plans in place to ensure groups have access to meals, snacks and water. Your Tour Director will work with each supplier to ensure that meals happen in a timely fashion, and that your travelers’ dietary needs are met. Please let us know as soon as possible if there are any dietary restrictions that have not yet been called to our attention so we can do our best to accommodate you.
What is the breakdown of activities on my tour?
Your Vimy tour will incorporate a variety of activities depending on the cities and places you’re heading to. In larger cities on your itinerary (such as Amsterdam, London or Paris), your tour will include a blend of guided sightseeings and entrances to different sites that relate to the overall theme of your specific tour program. In regions like Normandy and Vimy, your group will have a chance to engage with WWI and WWII sites, including museums, memorials and cemeteries. We’re also excited to announce exclusive EF-only sites in the Vimy region! In and around the city of Arras, EF will be offering not one, but two interactive hubs that will allow your group to explore, relax, learn and connect with other EF travelers. Stay tuned for the fall, when more details will be revealed.
How much free time will there be on my tour, and where will my group be during that time?
Your Vimy 100 tour has been designed to maximize your time in the Vimy region and account for the volume of people in the region at any given time and the variety of programming available to you. Depending on your tour program, there will be set blocks of time for self-directed exploration. Your Tour Director will give you recommendations on what to do and work with you to make sure the group is always safe and secure.
What duties are included in the role of Tour Director?
Your Tour Director will help engage travellers during the tour program and help them understand and process the things they’ll be seeing and doing. Our Tour Directors have been trained in Canadian History and historical thinking practices to further engage with teachers, students and cadets. Tour Directors will also be able to provide great youth-friendly suggestions about things to do in the area. One of the Tour Director’s main responsibilities is to make sure your tour flows smoothly by confirming and reconfirming the logistics of your tour, including: hotels, meals, entrances into specific sites and events/activities in the Vimy region. Please note that your Tour Director is not responsible for traveller discipline – it’s up to you and your chaperones to create a plan that works for your group.
Is it possible for my group to visit historic/significant locations during the course of our travel from place to place?
If there’s a specific site you would like to visit, please let your Tour Consultant know, and they will be able to add a note to your account. While it is possible to make slight adjustments to tour itineraries, much of the program is time-dependent, and given the significance of this event, time will be relatively tight throughout the tour. We will always do our best to accommodate your group; however, EF cannot make any guarantees that your request will be fulfilled, due to the time-sensitive nature of your tour.
When will information for soldier studies be provided? Will any of them be of soldiers from my city/town? Will we be able to visit the cemeteries and grave sites of all the soldiers that my students have the honour of researching?
If you have a specific cemetery in mind that you’d like to visit, please let your Tour Consultant know as soon as possible. Information on specific cemeteries that your group will visit as well as instructions and details for the basis for soldier pairing projects will be made available in September. We are working with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to help guide and facilitate soldier pairing for this tour program. We’ll try our best to match groups to cemeteries that represent their province, however, this may not always be possible given the logistics and volume of this special event.
Preparing for Tour
What is the best way for me to maximize the educational experience for my travelers?
EF’s tour program and our experienced Tour Directors will engage travelers with a wide-ranging variety of interests. The mere experience of traveling abroad can provide an unforgettable life learning experience for your students. They’ll get to visit places they’ve only ever seen in pictures, experience new cultures and walk in the footsteps of history during this incredible event. Prompted by our Tour Directors, your students will visit historical sites from all eras throughout your tour and be immersed in a variety of hands-on learning experiences. Is there something specific your group is interested in, whether it’s something as specific as a historical issue, or general interests like shopping or discovering something local? Please highlight your interests and desired educational outcomes with your Tour Consultant so that we can create the best tour experience for you. The more we know, the better we can help organize your tour. Around 90 days prior to departure, we’ll put you in touch with your Tour Director, where you’ll be able to communicate your interests and learning objectives more clearly in advance.
Are tour jackets and backpacks being provided as part of the tour fees?
Yes! EF backpacks and Vimy 100 commemorative jackets will be provided for you and your travelers.
What is EF doing to prepare for rainy days or bad weather? What sites are accessible to my group if it’s rainy or cold?
In the event of rain or inclement weather, the majority of sites will still be accessible. In and around the Western Front, there are numerous sites that are exposed to the elements. While these sites will still remain accessible during rainy weather, your group will also have the option to visit one of EF’s educational hubs in the city of Arras. These sites are weatherproof and will provide a warm, dry environment for your group, in addition to providing engaging educational programming.
Are there resources available to assist in preparing my students to travel?
As we move into the fall, you’ll be receiving frequent communication that will help you and your travelers prepare for this tour, as it pertains to the Vimy 100th anniversary and about travel in general. If you’re interested in learning more about preparing to travel abroad and visit our blog.
What is a suggested gear/pack list?
As we get closer to the actual tour date, we’ll circulate a suggested packing list for the event. Given the nature of weather in and around Northern France in the month of April, groups will be encouraged to wear warm, dry layers. You’ll also receive a commemorative tour jacket, which can provide a thin shell to layer under. We encourage you to bring your own wet/cold-weather jackets and gear as a backup in case.
We hope you’re as excited for the Vimy 100th Anniversary Tour as we are to take you there!