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France, Belgium & Holland

July 5-18, 2022

Canada’s history is built from many ‘defining moments.’
Be a part of that history and visit some of Canada’s legendary battlefields in Europe at destinations in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Travel in comfort on a well-appointed motorcoach to the iconic Juno Beach in Normandy, Beaumont-Hamel and Vimy Ridge, Col. John McCrae’s Flanders Fields in Belgium, and important sites where the long friendship between Canadians & the Dutch was born. Along with visits to historically significant destinations, this tour also allows you the opportunity to enjoy some of the cultural highlights of these three countries like the medieval city of Bayeux, beautiful Bruges, the unparalleled city of Amsterdam and the mercantile town of Zwolle. Join Defining Moments’ hosts Chris Evans and Neil Orford as they explore the stories and tour the European sites of Canada’s ‘defining moments’ on this unforgettable tour!

Ellison Travel & Tours is committed to planning travel for our clients based on the #SAFETRAVELS protocols set out by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).  For details visit

Note: It is the responsibility of all participants to be in possession of the correct documentation to travel out of the country and meet the entry requirements of your destination (e.g. COVID testing or vaccination, insurance, etc).  Failure to do so will result in participants being denied entry/boarding and returned home at the expense of the individual. Please check entry and transit requirements before you make a deposit.  You may be required to travel to another city or province to obtain the correct documents.

Restrictions and requirements for all destinations, as well as re-entry requirements for Canada, are subject to change at any time.

Covid-19 Requirements:  For the safety of all travellers and in accordance with the vaccination policy of many cities, provinces, and countries, all travellers 12 years of age or older must be FULLY vaccinated on all Ellison tours.  We will advise you of the specific requirements in your destination and for your return to Canada closer to your departure date.  Extra costs may apply.  Your destination may have restrictions in place that you will be required to follow, including masking and/or other protocols.

Canadian Citizens require a valid passport Authorities at your destination require that Canadian passports be valid for 3 months beyond your return date. Ellison Travel & Tours recommends passports are valid for a minimum 6 months beyond your return date.

Non-Canadian travellers:  Please contact Ellison Travel & Tours by filling in this request form .  We will provide information on the entry and transit requirements.  It is the responsibility of the traveller to have the correct travel documents for your trip.


**NEW – European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will be launched toward the end of 2022.  Many travellers including Canadian passport holders will be required to complete the ETIAS visa waiver in order to travel to the Schengen Zone (European Union).  Further details will be provided as they become available**

Day 1 – Tuesday, July 5  in flight                                                                                                                    M
4:15pm meet at Pearson International Airport to check in with Air Canada for your flight (groups are to check in at least 3 hours prior to departure)
7:20pm scheduled departure on Air Canada flight 872 to Paris
meals served at the discretion of the airline
Day 2 – Wednesday, July 6  to BAYEUX                                                                                                      M/D
breakfast served before landing
8:30am scheduled arrival time at Charles de Gaulle Airport
collect your luggage and meet your tour manager who will travel with you for the duration of the trip
make your way to where your coach is waiting
load the coach and transfer to Bayeux (approx. 3.5 hr drive)
a motorcoach safety briefing including the use of seat belts when available, will be completed prior to departure (always use seat belts when available and locate the emergency exits if your coach changes during your tour)
on arrival in Bayeux you will check in at the Churchill Hotel (or similar) for a 4 night stay
there is time to rest and freshen up
group dinner at a nearby restaurant
Day 3 – Thursday, July 7  BAYEUX                                                                                                                   B
breakfast included at the hotel
board your coach and depart Bayeux for Beny-Sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery
continue to Courseulles-sur-Mer – site of the Juno Beach Centre – Canada’s Second World War museum and cultural centre which pays homage to the 45,000 Canadians who lost their lives during the War, 5,500 of which were killed during the Battle of Normandy (359 on D-Day alone)
enjoy a guided tour of the beach & bunkers with a Canadian student guide
transfer to Courseulles-sur-Mer to purchase lunch (Hotel de Paris or other restaurant of your choice)
board the coach – a stop will be made at Abbaye d’Ardennes – Canadian War Memorial where 20 Canadians were executed
return to Bayeux
dinner and the evening at leisure
Day 4 – Friday, July 8  BAYEUX (day trip to D-Day beaches)                                                                              B
breakfast included at the hotel
board the coach and depart for a day visiting the D-Day Beaches including St. Aubin and the Gold and Sword Beaches
a stop will be made to purchase lunch in Arromanches
late afternoon stop for a Calvados tasting
return to Bayeux with dinner and the remainder of the evening at leisure
Day 5 – Saturday, July 9  BAYEUX                                                                                                                    B
breakfast included at the hotel
options for today
1- join Chris Evans for additional D-Day visits at Pointe-du-Hoc, Normandy American War Cemetery, Omaha Beach, St. Marie Eglise (any admissions not included)
2 – visit St. Malo and Mont St. Michel (hotel shuttle) (rates to be advised)
3 – walking tour in Bayeux and a visit to the Bayeux Tapestry (rates to be advised)
dinner and the evening at leisure
Day 6 – Sunday, July 10 to IEPER                                                                                                                  B/L
breakfast included at the hotel followed by check out
board the coach and travel to Ieper
stop for lunch at Ocean Villas Tea Room
after lunch visit Beaumont-Hamel
enjoy an independent walking tour of one of the best preserved WWI Battlefields in Europe, where on July 1st 1916 The Royal Newfoundland Regiment was decimated, only minutes after being ordered out of their trenches to “go over the top” – this was only one of the battles that contributed to the loss of a full generation of Newfoundlanders on the Western Front in World War I (student docents are located at various locations to answer your questions)
board the coach and continue to Ieper
on arrival check in at the Novotel Ieper (or similar) for a 3-night stay
purchase dinner at a restaurant of your choice
after dinner group members will walk over to the Menin Gate to attend tonight’s Last Post Ceremony – up to 3 members of the group, are invited to lay a commemorative wreath (pending approval)
The Last Post Ceremony begins: this ceremony has become part of the daily life in Ieper (Ypres) and the local people are proud of this simple but moving tribute to the courage and self-sacrifice of those who fell in defense of their town during the Great War
at the conclusion of the ceremony group members will have free time to spend the remainder of the evening as they wish before returning to the hotel on foot
Day 7 – Monday, July 11  IEPER (WWI focus)                                                                                                   B
breakfast included at the hotel
board your coach and depart for The Canadian National Memorial Park at Vimy Ridge, where the Canadian Corps accomplished a great victory using innovative combat techniques over a strategically important and well-defended sector
student led guided tours of the battlefield trenches and underground tunnels depart from the Education Centre every 30 minutes – availability is based on a first come, first served basis with each tour group numbering no more than 25 persons – pre-booked reservations are NOT available so suggest proceeding to the Education Centre / Tour Departure area immediately upon arrival to catch a tour and then proceed to the Memorial Site to pay your respects once the tours are completed
return to Ieper to purchase lunch and explore as you wish
for those who wish to cover the Battlefields more extensively an afternoon excursion will be included
visit The Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 keeping alive the memory of the Battle of Passchendaele, whereby in 1917 half a million casualties fell in one hundred days for only eight kilometres of territory.
stop at St. Julien Canadian Memorial at Vancouver Corner commemorating the Canadian 1st Division in action on April 22 to 24, 1915
visit Tyne Cot Cemetery, which is the burial site of nearly 12,000 casualties of conflict in the Salient, more than 8000 of which are unknown soldiers
dinner and the evening at leisure
Day 8 – Tuesday, July 12 IEPER (day trip to Bruges)                                                                                         B
breakfast included at the hotel
board the coach and journey to the beautiful city of Bruges
arrive in Bruges, also known as known as the “Venice of the North” which was liberated by the Manitoba Dragoons on September 12th, 1944
explore the streets of this UNESCO Heritage Site, which was left largely intact after the war
an option for today is a side trip with Historian Chris Evans to the Adagem Canadian War Museum (details and rate to be advised)
purchase dinner from one of the many fine restaurants located in the town centre of Bruges
board the coach and return to Ieper
arrive at the hotel with the remainder of the evening at leisure
Day 9 – Wednesday, July 13  to APELDOORN                                                                                               B/D
breakfast included at the hotel
board your coach and depart for a full day tour focusing on the Battle of the Scheldt Estuary
trace the steps of the Canadians at the pivotal battles of Woensdrecht, visiting the plaque commemorating the actions of the RHLI in the town, the Liberation Monument
the tour of the Scheldt Estuary continues…Woensdrecht October 16, 1944 – reconstructing the famous attack on and revisiting RHLI company positions with special focus on the position of Major George Pigott
time to purchase lunch
after lunch visit the Canadian War Cemetery of Bergen op Zoom to pay our respects to those who were killed in the Battle of Scheldt
continue to Apeldoorn and check in at the Fletcher Hotel for a 5-night stay
group dinner at the hotel
Day 10 – Thursday, July 14  APELDOORN                                                                                                         B
breakfast included at the hotel
board the coach and transfer to Het Loo Palace where you will visit the palace and gardens – the palace was built at the end of the 17th Centry by King-stadtholder William III as a hunting lodge and summer palace (pending re-opening of the palace after renovations)
the remainder of the day is at leisure in Apeldoorn to explore as you wish
Day 11 – Friday, July 15  APELDOORN (day trip to Amsterdam)                                                                    B/D
breakfast included at the hotel
board the coach and travel to Amsterdam
this is a free day for you to explore Amsterdam at leisure (you might wish to purchase a tram pass for getting around today)
Amsterdam Flower Market – the market stalls stand on the houseboats and you will find all types of flowers here
Anne Frank House – This is the hiding place Otto Frank found for his family, the van Pels family, and Fritz Pfeffer, during the Nazi Occupation of Holland…it kept them safe for 25 months, until it was raided by Nazi forces, tragically close to the end of the war.

Its occupants were deported to concentration camps where all but Otto Frank, the father, perished, but, it was in this house that his daughter Anne, whose ambition was to be a writer, kept her famous diary, (which she nicknamed “Kitty”) as a way to deal with both the boredom of being hidden and her youthful array of thoughts, which had as much to do with personal relationships as with the war and the Nazi terror raging outside – (book your tickets online 2 months in advance)

Rijksmuseum – This museum features art and history from the Middle Ages to present day.  The grounds are also lovely to enjoy a walk.  (The Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum are all together in the same area)
Van Gogh Museum – This museum features the works of the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh and his contemporaries.  It has the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings in the world.
The Stedelijk Museum – this museum is dedicated to modern art and contemporary design
National Maritime Museum – Located in the original shipping storehouse dating back to 1656, there is a large number of artefacts in the museum and an interactive section as well.
late afternoon meet as a group for dinner before returning to Apeldoorn
Day 12 – Saturday, July 16  APELDOORN (Operation Market Garden)                                                              B
breakfast included at the hotel
board the coach and depart for a day to explore the areas of the Operation Market Garden (some of you may wish to return to Amsterdam or explore as you wish at your expense)
stop in Schaarsbergen to visit the Arnhem War Museum which gives an accurate picture of what happened in Arnhem and the surrounding area during the years of war
board the coach and continue
a stop will be made in Oosterbeek to visit the Airborne Museum which is the former headquarters of British command during the battle
depart the museum and a stop will be made to purchase lunch in Arnhem
continue to Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery
there will be an opportunity for a short commemoration ceremony at the cemetery
board the coach and return to Apeldoorn
arrive back at the hotel with remainder of the day is at leisure
Day 13 – Sunday, July 17  APELDOORN (Zwolle)                                                                                           B/D
breakfast included at the hotel
board the coach and travel to Zwolle
arrive in Zwolle – This is a mercantile town with a medieval centre which developed into a powerful Hanseatic town in the Dutch Golden Century.  The main landmark is the Peperbustoren, or Pepper Mill Tower, the 75-metre-high tower of the Basilica of Our Lady.  You can climb the tower for a breath-taking view of the city.
board the coach and travel to Holten
arrive at the Holten Canadian War Cemetery where 1300+ soldiers killed in the very latter stages of the war in Holland are buried.  This is the second major Canadian war cemetery in Holland.  There will be an opportunity for a short commemoration ceremony at the cemetery.
continue to Apeldoorn
stop to see the National Canadian Liberation Memorial (the man with 2 hats) which symbolizes the historic bonds between Canada and the Netherlands
farewell dinner to reflect on the trip and share stories of your experience
Day 14 – Monday, July 18                                                                                                                           B/M
breakfast included at the hotel followed by check out
7:00am board the coach and transfer to Schiphol Airport (approx. 1.5 hrs)
9:00am on arrival bid farewell to your coach driver and tour manager – check in for your flight home
11:55am scheduled departure on Air Canada flight 827 to Pearson International Airport, Toronto
meals served at the discretion of the airline (set your watches to local time before landing)
1:50pm scheduled arrival time in Toronto
on arrival clear customs and collect your luggage
welcome home

B – Breakfast / pB – Packed Breakfast / L – Lunch / pL – Packed Lunch / D – Dinner /

M – Airline Meal / S – Snack – denote meals included in tour cost


*Itinerary is tentative and subject to final confirmation*

  • airfare from Toronto to Paris, and return from Amsterdam, including all airline, airport and security fees
  • Transportation via private air-conditioned motor coach for the duration of your tour
  • 12 nights’ accommodation – 4 in Bayeux, 3 in Ieper, and 5 in Apeldoorn
    (based on twin/double accommodations)
  • Breakfast daily, 1 lunch and 4 dinners
  • Guided tours in Ieper, Scheldt Estuary and Zwolle
  • Visits and admission costs (where fees exist) to the following: Juno Beach Centre, Abbaye d’Ardennes, D Day beaches, Calvados tasting, Beaumont-Hamel, Last Post Ceremony and wreath laying, Vimy Ridge, Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, Bruges, Canadian War Cemetery of Bergen op Zoom, Het Loo Palace and Gardens, Amsterdam, Arnhem War Museum, Airborne Museum, Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, Zwolle, Holten Canadian War Cemetery, National Canadian Liberation Memorial
  • Hotel luggage handling
  • Gratuities for your tour manager, coach driver and local guides
  • Includes all applicable taxes and service charges
  • Insurance has not been included as part of your tour package. Ellison Travel & Tours highly recommends that all travellers ensure they have Travel Insurance. These products, including Cancellation and Medical coverage, can be purchased through Ellison Travel & Tours.
  • Costs associated with vaccination, testing and other entry/exit requirements for your itinerary
  • Visa or passport processing, passport photos & other government processing fees
  • Meals other than mentioned above
  • Drinks with group lunches or dinners
  • Additional taxes, fuel surcharges or service charges levied by the governments or our suppliers
  • Any luggage fees introduced or altered prior to travel
  • The tour details and airline tickets are processed in the names you provide and must match the name per the legal travel document (eg. passport). An administration fee up to $100.00 plus applicable airline charges and taxes will be charged per name change or correction.

$5,999CAD per person double occupancy
Based on a minimum of 20 passengers
Single supplement $850CAD (limited availability)

1st payment $2,250.00CAD per person due – March 23, 2022
2ND PAYMENT $1500.00CAD PER PERSON DUE – April 11, 2022

Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination (as accepted in Canada) is required at least 2 weeks prior to travel. If this can not be provided, full cancellation penalties will apply. Passengers will be asked to sign our ‘Commitment to Health’ form and comply with all health & safety protocols for the safety of our passengers as well as individuals in the communities we visit.

Please note that an average/moderate level of fitness is required to enjoy the various activities of this tour. Passengers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs and step on and off a bus to participate on this tour.

Living Standards and practices at the destination may differ from those in Canada and the standards and conditions at the destination with respect to the provision of utilities, services, and accommodation may differ.

Neil Orford

Neil Orford – Neil is a retired History Teacher, from Dufferin County, Ontario. A winner of both the Governor General’s and Ontario Premier’s Award for History Teaching, his Digital Historian Project© won the 2015 Government of Canada History Award. He has been featured on CBC’s “The National”, TVO’s “The Agenda”, and in numerous articles across Canada. He has written for major Canadian publications and is a regular presenter at Conferences and workshops. He has worked extensively with the Juno Beach Centre and has led a Summer Institute for History teachers in Normandy. Neil is the owner and president of Defining Moments Canada, Ltd.

Chris Evans

Chris Evans

Chris Evans – Chris Evans is a military historian with degrees in English/History, Political Science, and a Masters with Distinction in History specializing in 20th century conflicts. He has served as the historian for 11 tours to Europe studying the battlefields of the First and Second World War. The tours ranged from those for students, veterans, and the general public. He was the historian for a television documentary on the Battle of Vimy Ridge, and has written multiple articles. He is also a published author.