Last year was the centenary of many great Canadian victories in the First World War, helping to end the war in 1918.
The attention given to those battles, including a newly erected monument to commemorate the battle of Hill 70 by a privately funded group, has focused Canadians attention on the amazing contribution and sacrifice made in that terrible war.
VisitFlanders is the official tourism agency for the region. It noted that the number of Canadians who visited the World War I heritage sites has been growing in recent years and in 2017 visits by Canadians more than doubled to over 15,000 visitors.
Canadians have now become the largest “distance” market for visiting the Flanders region, overtaking Australia,
In addition to the first major Allied victory in the war at Vimy Ridge, a mostly Canadian victory, other famous victories include the taking of Hill 70 entirely Canadian, Passchendaele in which Canada was a major contributor and eventual victor. Canada’s 100 days, in which Canadians were the recognized Allied shock troops, winning every battle entered and the final, but controversial, Canadian liberation of Mons in the final days of the war.
The region and the war also holds a special place for Canadians thanks to one of the most famous First World War poems, “In Flanders Fields” written by Canadian surgeon, Col John McCrae, after losing a dear friend to enemy artillery.