All aboard: Government of Canada launches cross-country train trip to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Second World War’s D-Day and the Battle of Normandy

News release

March, 29, 2019 – Vancouver, British Columbia– Veterans Affairs Canada

D-Day and the ensuing Battle of Normandy was one of Canada’s most significant military engagements of the 20th century. We recognize and remember the more than 90,000 Canadian soldiers who volunteered to serve our country and saw action in the Normandy Campaign.

Today, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, launched the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy at VIA Rail’s Pacific Central Train Station in Vancouver, joined by Normandy Veterans, youth, honoured guests and Canadian Armed Forces members.

Special guests Richard Tilley, whose late father Captain (N) (Ret’d) Harold (Hal) Tilley is featured on the poster, and Master Warrant Officer (Ret’d) George Chow CD and Norm Kirby—Veterans of the Normandy Campaign—helped Minister MacAulay unveil the official 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy poster. A pair of combat boots, symbol of the many Canadians who took a similar journey during the Second World War to serve our country, was placed on The Canadian to begin their train voyage to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where so many troops departed for Europe 75 years ago.


“It is an honour to launch these events as we lead up to the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. I want to encourage all Canadians to connect with the stories of Canadians during the Second World War, follow this commemorative train as it journeys across Canada, and take a moment to reflect on the tremendous sacrifices made for our freedom.”

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

“VIA Rail is honoured to join forces with Veterans Affairs Canada in commemorating this historic event. The Normandy landings on D-Day marked the beginning of a decisive battle for the Allies during the Second World War. Ceremonial combat boots are to travel aboard our trains across Canada in the coming days. They will follow the same route our soldiers took so many years before, with the final destination being Halifax. This is one of the ways through which we pay tribute to the soldiers who so bravely fought in this campaign in 1944, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice in battle. Lest we forget!”

Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and Chief Executive Officer, VIA Rail Canada

Quick facts

  • On June 6, 1944, some 14,000 Canadians stormed the beaches of Normandy with Allied troops to breach Nazi Germany’s “Fortress Europe.” On that day—known as D-Day—three hundred and fifty-nine (359) Canadian soldiers were killed.

  • In the months leading-up to the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy on June 6, 2019, Veterans Affairs Canada will be partnering with VIA Rail Canada, Parks Canada and community organizations to hold events in communities across Canada.

  • Explore stories from D-Day and the Battle of Normandy—the Faces of Freedom—some of whom volunteered to bravely defend our freedom in Europe. Their faces tell the story and their legacy will live on.

  • Government of Canada delegations will participate in signature events on June 6, 2019—at the Citadel in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and at Juno Beach in France—to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

  • All aboard! Join us on the #DDay75 journey of remembrance with Veterans in Canada and in France. Explore the stories of Faces of Freedom. Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtags #CanadaRemembers and #DDay75, or visit

  • As well as the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, 2019 marks the 5th anniversary of the end of Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan, and the 75th anniversaries of the Battle of the Scheldt and the Italian Campaign during the Second World War.

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Media Relations
Veterans Affairs Canada

Alex Wellstead
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs

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