This article is over 5 years old and may contain outdated information.


New educational resources highlight Canada's role in the First World War

Canadian Geographic Education and The Royal Canadian Geographical Society unveil new tools to help students explore the legacy of the Great War

  • Nov 02, 2016
  • 475 words
  • 2 minutes
Vimy Ridge giant floor map is displayed at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum Expand Image

As Remembrance Day draws near, Canadian Geographic Education and The Royal Canadian Geographical Society are proud to offer a suite of new resources to help students better understand Canada’s role in the First World War.

The resources, which include a giant floor map of the 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge and Wings of Courage, the second instalment of a documentary series commemorating Canada’s Great War aviators, were unveiled at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa November 1. 

“While many Canadians feel a sense of pride about the Great War and what it meant to us as a nation, the truth is 100 years have passed,” says Tim Joyce, President and CEO of Sound Venture Productions, which partnered with the RCGS to produce the documentary series, collectively called A Nation Soars. “With the launch of Wings of Courage, we are proud to be creating innovative learning tools tailored to 21st century students.”

Wings of Courage, which is narrated by Dan Aykroyd in English and Bernard Voyer in French, will premiere on CPAC Sunday, November 6 at 9 p.m. ET. A series of short vignettes titled “Stories of Courage” can also be viewed on YouTube

The Vimy Ridge giant floor map is available for booking by schools and organizations and comes with 10 learning activities that will have students read and interpret trench maps, explore the landscape and weather of Vimy during the battle, reflect on war poetry and war slang, and examine the location and significance of the Vimy Memorial. A smaller, tiled map of Canada during the First World War is also available for download and comes with lesson plans to help students understand the broader context and themes of the Wings of Courage project. 

Wings of Courage is a wonderful project that speaks to Canadian young people,” says Karen McCrimmon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence. “As we prepare to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday next year, marking the key events, battles and people of these wars will promote a deeper understanding of how they shaped our identity as Canadians and continue to resonate today.”

Earlier this year, volunteers and members of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets came together at the Canadian Museum of Flight in Langley, B.C. to build two replica First World War-era Sopwith Pup planes. The build, and the emotional connections the cadets forged with their peers of a century ago, are portrayed in a photo essay in the October issue of Canadian Geographic magazine. 

The two replica biplanes will be part of a historic flight next spring, joining up with a First World War biplane squadron that plans to fly over the Vimy Memorial in France on the 100th anniversary of the battle. 

Related: Never-before-published photos offer a glimpse at the life of a First World War flying ace


Are you passionate about Canadian geography?

You can support Canadian Geographic in 3 ways:

Related Content

Science & Tech

Elementary students find their sea legs with Canadian Coast Guard’s educational pilot program

The Adopt a Ship program took kids on a virtual behind-the-scenes tour with Coast Guard crews and staff

  • 1430 words
  • 6 minutes
York Redoubt, near the mouth of the Halifax Harbour in Nova Scotia


Parks Canada places commemorating the First World War

Sites across Canada honouring the war

  • 1412 words
  • 6 minutes


Robin Esrock swore he would never take his kids to Disneyland — and then he did

How to make the most out of your visit to Disneyland, plus all the tips and tricks needed to ensure you and your family have a positive experience

  • 1749 words
  • 7 minutes

Science & Tech

20 Canadian innovations you should know about

Celebrating Canadian Innovation Week 2023 by spotlighting the people and organizations designing a better future 

  • 3327 words
  • 14 minutes