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Next phase of “the tour”: Neil Orford holds open house for citizen battlefield tours

September 19, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Marni Walsh


Over the course of his teaching career, award-winning former Shelburne high school history teacher Neil Orford has escorted hundreds of Dufferin County students to Canadian Battlefields in Europe.

Now he says, “I want to do the same for their parents and the citizens of Dufferin and Caledon.”

Mr. Orford’s CanHist Battlefield Tour information open house will be held at the Alder Street Recreation Centre on Tuesday, September 19 from 7:30 pm to 9 pm to offer the public a free overview of the itinerary, costs and schedules.

“We have a few spaces left on this July 2018 Tour that I would, ideally, like to fill with Dufferin families or individuals,” says Neil Orford.

“As anyone who is paying attention to the current news knows, understanding our history is the most important subject dictating the world today,” says Neil.

And his battlefield tours have a proven track record – “years of success helping the students of Dufferin to appreciate Canada in a whole new way,” says the retired teacher. “Their experiences changed the way they understood Canada and our history.”

Neil Orford says he believes, “Canadians with even a passing interest in our history, never fail to be moved by seeing Vimy Ridge, Dieppe, Juno Beach or Passchendaele.” Unique to this tour will be a stop in Dunkirk, the battle story recently retold in this summer’s movie sensation Dunkirk.

“While the Canadians were not present at Dunkirk in significant numbers,” says Neil, “there are very important stories of Canadian heroism now coming to light thanks to the success of the movie.”

He says the story of Canadian Royal Navy Commander James Clouston, for example, featured in the Globe and Mail in late August, “is a story Canadians must learn, and one we should herald.”

By taking Canadians to Dunkirk, and dozens of other destinations, Neil Orford says his CanHist Battlefields Tour will reconnect Canadians with their family history.

“We really appeal to Canadians who have a family story of a parent, grandparent, Uncle or Aunt who served in WW1 or WW2.”

“We hope these families would join us on this tour and bring that story with them,” he adds. The tour visits many of the Commonwealth War Grave Cemeteries, where thousands of Canadians rest – providing travelers with “an eye-witness to history experience that one never forgets.”

The two-week trip starts and finishes in Paris, with time to visit and learn the stories of each stop along the way. Canadian Military and Medieval historian, Chris Evans, has been hired to help teach the travelers learn as they tour.

For travelers less passionate about history, Neil says the tour has “optional excursions that explore cities, offer shopping or dining experiences and even a visit to a Calvados Distillery for a special afternoon of ‘tasting’ the exquisite Norman Brandy.”


If you are interested in hearing more about the truly unique CanHist Battlefield Tours reply to to attend the free Open House at the Alder Street Recreation Centre on Tuesday, September 19 from 7:30 pm to 9 pm. Or visit:



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