Tuesday night, the Explorica staff joined the Vimy Foundation and a number of Canadian philanthropists for the 2013 Inaugural Vimy Foundation Gala Dinner.
The fundraising event served to kick off the countdown to Vimy 2017 and gather contributions for the new Vimy Ridge education centre. The Foundation’s primary goal is to remind us all of Canada’s contributions during World War I, and the evening’s speakers and festivities accomplished just that in a night of both solemn reflection and laughter.
Speakers included General Rick Hillier, former Chief of the Defence Staff for Canadian Forces, former Premier Mike Harris, and a number of veterans and officials present to demonstrate their pride in Canada’s historical war efforts.
Also speaking was one high school student, Rushad Bharda, who discussed his eye-opening experience visiting Vimy Ridge on a student tour.
We were honored to support this philanthropic organization by attending, and are excited for the completion of the Vimy Ridge education centre and the 100th anniversary in 2017.
About the Vimy Foundation
Founded in 2005, the Vimy Foundation is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Canada’s World War I legacy. Amongst other philanthropic pursuits, the Foundation raises funding for and hosts events to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, promote Canadian war history awareness, and develop educational initiatives for students.
Remember Vimy Ridge with Explorica
We offer a number of tours to commemorate the heroic efforts of Canadian soldiers, at Vimy Ridge and other significant war history landmarks. Join us in Vimy Ridge, Normandy, Ottawa, London or Ortona to trace the contributions of the Canadian forces during the first and second World Wars.
In the first part of this two-volume series by Canadian historian Tim Cook, we follow Canada’s Citizen Soldiers through the first three years of World War I. Cook helps the reader understand almost 100 years later what made regular Canadian farmers and shopkeepers willingly leave their homes and families to take up arms for Britain.
In this volume, we follow Canada’s enlisted men from training at Valcartier and Salisbury Plain to their first combat at the Second Battle of Ypres, then through St. Eloi, Mount Sorrel and the Somme. Many British soldiers thought the Canadian men were unruly colonials, but the Canadians soon proved themselves as fierce warriors against their German enemies.
Cook not only follows the battles, but also gives the reader some insight as to what daily life in the trenches was like for the average soldier. The soldiers went days without sleeping, living in mud amongst rats, corpses and constant artillery barrages. From the innovations against chemical warfare to the introduction of helmets, the reader also learns how commanders and infantry needed to adapt to wage war on the Western Front. At the Sharp End is an important read for any Canadian wanting to understand the road leading up to the battle at Vimy Ridge that forged Canada’s national identity.
Welcome to Barcelona! An Ottawa soccer team just finished their own perfect tour with Explorica, squeezing in practices and international matches across Spain, France and Italy between visits to famous stadiums (like FC Barcelona‘s above), guided tours through historical sites, and relaxation hours at the beach. Read about the Spanish leg of their trip below, and flip through the group’s Tour Diary to learn more about their soccer tour.
Day 1: Bon voyage to Barcelona
If you’ve ever been on a ferry at home, your experience was probably boring to say the least. But ferry rides across the Mediterranean seem to be a little more exciting. This ferry from Rome to Barcelona was “more like a cruise ship,” with a pool, game room and more. Talk about traveling in style!
Day 2: City sightseeing and FC Barcelona visit
Between practices, the students took a break to explore the world renowned architecture of Barcelona and other tourist attractions: the 1992 Olympic stadium, Gaudi’s masterpiece the Sagrada Familia (to the left), the gardens of Parc Güell, and FC Barcelona’s home stadium, the Camp Nou (photo above).
Day 3: Practice with the RCD Espanyol
That’s right–this high school team was given a chance to play soccer with the world-renowned RCD Espanyol (yes, that’s the correct spelling). The soccer fans were excited to play with the pros, and playing with a Spanish-speaking team helped them to brush up their foreign language skills.
Day 4: Leave Spain
To top off the trifecta of Barcelona soccer fandom, the students practiced at the CF Cunit facilities before hitting the beach. The daily beach trips gave the soccer players the opportunity to unwind and take a break from the hard work of playing soccer with the Spanish futbolistas.
Read about the other stops in this trip in the team’s Tour Diary.
At Explorica, we’re always dishing up tours made specifically for your group. This particular team took a tour through Rome, Barcelona and Marseille, but you can create your own tour in Spain or elsewhere.
It’s the kind of life you may have glimpsed only in the movies. On the silver screen, the life of a desert nomad might seem romantic, adventurous, and enviable….Find out what it’s really like for a migrant member in a Moroccan Berber tribe and help preserve a way of life now threatened by desertification on our new volunteer tour to Morocco. As you learn about this unique culture through an enchanting voyage in the ochre-painted Valley of Roses, you’ll also have the privilege of helping to protect it. It’s an educational travel experience wrapped in unforgettable life lessons.
Berbers call themselves Amazigh, meaning “free men.” They roam the desert most of the year, traversing the majestic Atlas Mountains (which form the backdrop of your stay) for shade, water, and to grow vegetables. Except for the youth who travel into Moroccan cities for water or schooling, these warm and welcoming people have few contacts outside of their desert villages. But global warming combined with human practices is destroying the land that makes this ancient tradition possible.
Desertification, or when fertile land becomes barren and desert-like, happens partly due to lack of rainfall or drought. But another cause stems from human interference. When people clear away all the trees or allow their livestock to eat away all plants, there are not enough plants left to hold the soil in place and prevent wind and rain from carrying fertile topsoil away.
That’s where you come in. As part of this rewarding hands-on learning, you’ll help the Berbers fight against the effects of desertification. From building water dams to digging pathways, your efforts will provide running water to nurture Berber village life. While volunteering you might also help build schools—from constructing the roof to laying down water pipes or even painting murals for a classroom. You’ll be amazed to see what a difference you can make in a short time and feel proud that you’ve had a hand in protecting a two-thousand-year-old nomadic tradition.
Check out our complete list of student volunteer tours which include activities ranging from cleaning up the environment to volunteering at an orphanage and more. No matter which trip you choose your group will help a local community while still enjoying a fun-filled educational tour experience.