May 18, 2021Print | PDF
At a time when COVID-19 restrictions are preventing Canadians from travelling to Europe to learn about their national military history, the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies (LCMSDS) is creating a Second World War battlefield tour that can be safely experienced at home. Beginning on May 19, the Maple Leaf Route Webinar Series will chronologically follow Canadian and British Commonwealth soldiers from their D-Day landing on Juno Beach in June 1944 as they fought their way inland at the Battle of Normandy.
Presented in partnership with the Canadian Battlefields Foundation, the Juno Beach Centre Association and the Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society, the Maple Leaf Route series will present live 90-minute webinars every other Wednesday until September 8. Each webinar will be hosted by a leading Canadian military historian.
“This webinar series creates an exceptional virtual opportunity for people to walk in the footsteps of Canadian soldiers,” says Kevin Spooner, associate professor at Wilfrid Laurier University and director of LCMSDS. “It is a unique and accessible opportunity for Canadians to learn about their military history. We are really pleased that the webinar series will be launched with a talk by our very own director emeritus, Terry Copp.”
Copp, one of Canada’s foremost military historians and the founder of LCMSDS, will begin the Maple Leaf Route series with an overview of Juno Beach from 1944 to 2014, including how Canadian soldiers broke through the “Atlantic Wall,” an extensive system of German-built fortifications. Subsequent episodes will follow the soldiers’ progress chronologically, interspersed with discussions on themes such as the role of women in the Canadian Red Cross.
“In the past, LCMSDS has sponsored many on-the-ground battlefield tours of Europe thanks to the generous support of our key benefactors, John and Pattie Cleghorn,” says Spooner. “Of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic, these tours can’t happen right now. In the meantime, this webinar series is a great way for our centre to continue supporting the broader field of Canadian military history through our War and Society research collective.”
Registration is free and open to the public. All webinars will begin at 7 p.m.
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