The mandate of the Canadian Battlefields Foundation is to remember, through educative and commemorative events, Canada’s role in wars of the 20th Century
- To commemorate the service and the sacrifice of all Canadians who have served their country in the cause of freedom.
- To educate the public with respect to Canada’s role in the wars of the 20th century, particularly in the Battle of Normandy and the liberation of Western Europe 1944-45.
- To provide bursaries to Canadian military historians, students of military history, and university students and to encourage the participation of such persons in study programs, colloquia, publishing ventures and through other means or fora to disseminate information about Canadian military history and to commemorate those Canadians who served their country and the cause of peace and freedom.
- To carry on research into Canada’s role in the wars of the 20th century.
- To act together with Le Mémorial, a museum founded in 1988 in Caen, Normandy, and devoted to the study of war and peace in the 20th Century.
- To receive and maintain a fund or funds and other property and to apply, give, devote or distribute from time to time all or part thereof and the income therefrom in furtherance of the above objects by such means as may from time to time seem expedient to its directors.
- In furtherance of these charitable purposes, to carry on ancillary and incidental activities which may be agreed upon by the directors of the Foundation.
Activities of the Canadian Battlefields Foundation are primarily educational and informative in nature. These are:
· organizing and conducting battlefields tours, under the guidance of one or more of Canada’s foremost military historians, that will provide Canadian’s the opportunity to visit battlefields of Europe and learn about Canada’s role in the First and Second World Wars;
· supporting group tours to Canadian battlefields in Europe conducted under the auspices of the Wilfred Laurier University Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies;
· organizing in-depth annual study tours for Canadian university students to study land, sea and air operations and visit European battlefields, memorials, museums, and military cemeteries;
· maintaining in perpetuity the Memorial Garden which it has created at Le Mémorial museum in Caen, France as a tribute to Canada’s role in the Battle of Normandy and other campaigns of the Second World War;
· sponsoring, young Canadians, every summer, to provide guided tours of the Memorial Garden and elaborate on Canada’s role during both world wars; and
· producing historical material in both printed and audio-visual form.
· Selected and sent Canadian university architecture and landscape design students to Caen to design a Canadian Memorial Garden in Normandy.
· Commissioned the writing of Normandy 1944 by Jack Granatstein and two guidebooks to the battlefields of Northwest Europe written by Terry Copp for a Canadian audience. Both are distinguished Canadian military historians.
· Unveiled a commemorative plaque in Caen recognizing the Canadian role in liberating this city.
· The Memorial Garden at Le Mémorial officially opened by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.
· Sent the first group of 12 Canadian university students to Normandy and Northwest Europe to study the campaigns.
The Normandy Scholarship fund-raising campaign is launched to ensure the program’s continuation in perpetuity.
Produced a short video portraying the Foundation’s activities.
· Produced In Their Footsteps, a short documentary based on the student study tour of that year for Veterans Affairs Canada.
· Began the campaign to bring the Bursary Fund up to $1 million to ensure annual sponsorship of the 12-student study groups in perpetuity.
· The creation of seven student bursaries in the names of their benefactors.
· The expansion of the student tour to include Italy.
· The creation of two more student bursaries in the names of their benefactors.
· The inclusion of the United Kingdom in the student tour.
· Co-operation with the Canadian War Museum to enhance Canadian content in the expanded Le Mémorial museum in Caen.
- The guides program at Le Mémorial Caen-Normandie was increased from one guide to three, with financial support from Veterans Affairs Canada
- Further expansion of the guides program, to cover the period from May to March, was made possible with increased financial support from Veterans Affairs Canada
- A “belvedere” was constructed, with associated signage, highway by-pass, parking area, pathway and landscaping near St. Lambert-sur-Dives. Visitors can now view the site of the closing of the Falaise Gap in 1944.
- Design, manufacture and installation of a plaque in remembrance of Le Régiment de Maisonneuve near St. Martin-de-Fontenay. It was unveiled by Colonel Jacques Ostiguy of the Regiment.
- Focus on the Italian Campaign for the 2003 Study Tour, which followed Canadian participation in the campaign through Sicily and mainland Italy.
- Expansion of the Study Tour to sixteen students, to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
- Design, manufacture and installation (scheduled for June 2004) of a plaque at Omaha Beach to commemorate the work of a Canadian minesweeper flotilla that cleared its approaches in the early morning hours of 6 June 1944