Monthly Archives: April 2017

Vimy 2017 Day 2

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

Hey, hey kids! Sorry, I had to get a Krusty the Clown reference in there. Anywho, it’s Day 2! Thanks to the miracle of modern air travel and Sir Sandford Fleming all those years ago, it’s the next day. So I’m running on about 4 hours sleep, which means I have no idea how coherent my thoughts are, but whatever. I don’t get paid to write this.

Anyway, it’s 0700 local time, we’re just off the coast of Norway and 1100km from our destination. We certainly took a very adventurous route, not the usual more direct one. Normally we pass below Ireland, but this time our flight plan took us on a big sweeping arc to the north, over Greenland, Iceland and toward Germany from the northwest. I would assume the guys driving er flying the plane know what they are doing. I’m sure it’s not their first rodeo.


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Vimy 2017 Day 1

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

So here we are…Day One. Hours from departure. I’m at home getting all the last minute packing done before I head over to the airport.

I am so unbelievably nervous. If you know me, it’s nothing unusual and par for the course. Do you know how many times I have to “go” before a football game? It’s ridiculous! It’s just who I am; I’m a worrier. I was wake this morning just after 4am and could not fall back asleep. I think everything is ready and I’ve done my best to make sure all the “T’s” are crossed and the “I’s” are dotted. I just need to relax. I’ll check back in once we’re on our way to Toronto…maybe I’ll feel better.

Well, we’re sitting here in the secure area of the Thunder Bay airport, patiently waiting for our flight. The kids are just wired, as I’m sure I was…

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Vimy 2017 here we come!

It was Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific on parade. I thought then… that in those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation-Brigadier General Alexander Ross, Commander, 28th Battalion, CEF April 9th, 1917

So here we are, less than 48 hours away from a great journey. The excitement, and anxiety, is palpable. On Wednesday, 23 students and 3 teachers from St. Patrick will be departing for an 11-day trip to Europe, the highlight of which will be participation in the 100th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

The last week has been insanely busy for all involved; all the last minute planning and meetings tend to be very stressful. On top of that, we have had a lot of media attention on what will be a once in a lifetime trip. On Friday, March 31st, local MPs Patty Hajdu and Don Rusnak came by the school to present travellers from both St. Patrick and St. Ignatius will small gifts for the journey. Also present was Lieutenant-Colonel David Ratz, who is the commanding officer of the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment (LSSR). Our students will be visiting graves of soldiers from the 52nd Battalion and the Lake Superior Regiment in Europe, units that are perpetuated by the LSSR today. You can read more about the media conference on TBNewswatch, CBC and the TBT News.

MPs Hajdu and Rusnak visit students from St. Patrick & St. Ignatius, March 2017.

All of the travellers will come home with many great memories from the trip. They will also take home many physical reminders as well. Anyone who visits Vimy Ridge is presented with the Vimy Pilgrimage Medal, which honours not only the sacrifice of those that fought there, but also those who have travelled to pay tribute to the fallen. The medal features the central image of the Vimy Memorial, which is the Spirit of Canada, or Mother Canada, weeping for her fallen sons. The ribbon bears the colors of the 4 Canadian Divisions who fought together at Vimy for the first time; red for the 1st Division, blue for the 2nd Division, grey for the 3rd Division and green for the 4th Division.

Vimy Pilgrimage Medal

Wifi permitting, we will be posting a day-by-day account of our journey on this site. Please follow us as we weave our way through the Netherlands, Belgium and France on this one-in-lifetime journey.

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