Maple Leaf Route Webinar Series

May 19 - September 8, 2021

Hosted by the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies, and in partnership with the Canadian Battlefields Foundation and the Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society, the Juno Beach Centre Association is pleased to announce the Maple Leaf Route Webinar Series. Every two weeks from May to September, we will be following Canadian and British Commonwealth soldiers as they landed on D-Day in June 1944 and fought their way inland at the Battle of Normandy.

Registration is FREE and required for all webinars. Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing a link to the webinar. All webinars begin at 7:00pm Eastern Time (ET) and are approximately 90 minutes in length. The webinar series will only be available in English. We apologize for any disappointment.

If you have any questions about the Maple Leaf Route Webinar Series, please e-mail Eric at

We look forward to seeing you at one of our webinars! Scroll down to view past webinars.

Spring & Summer 2021 Speakers

A Woman’s Touch: Supporting Canadian Servicemen’s Resilience in Europe, 1943–47

Sarah Glassford, Leddy Library, University of Windsor

June 16th at 7:30 pm ET — Register HERE

In this talk, Sarah Glassford will explore the emotional dimensions of the Canadian presence in Europe during the later years of the Second World War. As Canadian servicemen amassed in Britain, then advanced through Italy, Normandy, and the Low Countries, 641 women of the Canadian Red Cross Corps Overseas Detachment followed close behind. Through food parcels, hospital visits, occupational therapy, ambulance-driving, canteen service, and the provision of comforts ranging from hometown newspapers and cigarettes to conversation and a listening ear, their job was to care for Canadian servicemen, shoring up the troops’ psychological resilience with a proverbial “woman’s touch.” Corps members’ letters, diaries, and oral histories provide a fascinating glimpse of how friendship, kinship, and romance helped both servicemen and Red Cross women cope with the physical and emotional traumas of wartime.

DR. SARAH GLASSFORD is a social historian of Canada who researches the intertwined histories of women, children, wartime, health, and humanitarian aid. She is the author of Mobilizing Mercy: A History of the Canadian Red Cross (MQUP, 2017) and co-editor with Amy Shaw of Making the Best of It: Women and Girls of Canada and Newfoundland during the Second World War (UBC, 2020). She works as the Archivist at the University of Windsor’s Leddy Library.

The View from Point 67: Canada’s Killing Zone in the Second Half of the Battle of Normandy

Lee Windsor, University of New Brunswick

June 30th at 7:30 pm ET | Register HERE

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians flocked to Juno Beach and Overlord historic sites in Normandy related to the famous June 1944 events. Fewer travelled inland in search of the Canadian Army’s experience in July and August when ground force commitments quadrupled and combat intensified. The Canadian Battlefields Foundation (CBF) viewing area and memorial site at Point 67 is the launch pad for Lee Windsor’s reflection on 26 years of visits there with veterans, students, soldiers, and teachers. The location fuels red hot discussions of how the second half of the Battle of Normandy matters in Canada’s history. The ground visible from that commanding lookoff is the epicentre of controversy and a place where both sides practiced savagely sophisticated, technologically-enhanced killing.

LEE WINDSOR is an Associate Professor of History and holds the Fredrik S. Eaton Chair in Canadian Army Studies at the University of New Brunswick’s Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society. He studied under Terry Copp for his MA and drove for him and his wife, Linda, during the first “experimental” CBF Study Tour in 1995. Publications include Kandahar Tour (with David Charters and Brent Wilson), Steel Cavalry, and Loyal Gunners (with Roger Sarty and Marc Milner).

The Air Support Rollercoaster: Canadian Soldiers’ Morale in Normandy

Alexander Fitzgerald-Black, Juno Beach Centre Association

July 14th at 7:30 pm ET — Register HERE

Soldiers’ morale on the frontline relies on many factors. Casualty rates, time spent in heavy combat, news from home, weather and terrain, food, and general health are all relevant. The role of air forces should also get our consideration. In this talk, Alex Fitzgerald-Black will tackle two questions. First, what did the Canadian soldier think about the air support he received in Normandy? Second, what were the consequences of this support for morale? Canadian war diaries and memoirs of the fighting on the ground – including George G. Blackburn’s classic The Guns of Normandy – contain myriad compliments and criticisms about what the Allied air force was doing during the Battle of Normandy. The compliments (peaks) and criticisms (valleys) present an undulating curve of Canadian soldiers’ morale in Normandy. Fitzgerald-Black’s presentation will examine this “rollercoaster” in a sweeping tour of Canadian army operations from Juno Beach to the Falaise Gap.

ALEXANDER FITZGERALD-BLACK is the Operations and Outreach Manager at the Juno Beach Centre Association, the charity that owns and operates Canada’s Second World War Museum on the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy, France. He holds a Master of Arts in military history (University of New Brunswick) and a Master of Arts in public history (Western University).

“J’irai revoir ma Normandie”: French-Canadian Infantry Units in Normandy

Dr. Caroline D’Amours, Parks Canada

July 28th at 7:00 pm ET | Register HERE

French Canada’s response to the Second World War is often reduced to questions related to its voluntary enlistment rates and its massive rejection of conscription. As a result, its contributions to Canada’s war effort are often marginalized. Still, like so many Canadian units, the Régiment de la Chaudière, the Régiment de Maisonneuve, and the Fusiliers Mont-Royal fought with determination and courage in Normandy. In this talk, Caroline D’Amours will examine how issues like casualties, reinforcements, morale but also identity and language specifically impacted the experience of French-Canadian infantrymen in Normandy. War diaries, censorship reports, memoirs, and oral histories help understand the way French-Canadian infantrymen cope with the realities of the Normandy battlefield.

DR. CAROLINE D’ARMOURS is a military historian who focuses on Canadian infantry training from 1939 to 1945 and on the participation of Quebec society in the Second World War. Her most recent contributions are featured in the Journal of Military History and Social History. She works as an historian at Parks Canada and is a research associate at the International History Institute, Boston University.

Canadian Army Officer Discipline and Martial Justice, 1944–45

Matthew Barrett, Canadian War Museum

August 11th at 7:00 pm ET — Register HERE

Of all the stories from Normandy during the hard fighting of summer 1944 few were stranger than the experience of Lieutenant Reginald Woods of the Lake Superior Regiment. After his platoon came under German attack on 17 August, Woods vanished. When he suddenly re-emerged two months later claiming amnesia Canadian military authorities needed to grapple with assumptions about combat leadership, mental responsibility and criminal culpability. Using an illustrated, graphic history approach, Matthew Barrett explores Woods’ medical diagnosis and eventual court martial to highlight the challenges of uncovering what happened and piercing through the fog of war. Using Woods’ fascinating story as a case study, this talk examines the topic of officer discipline more broadly to study the legal, medical, and administrative responses to perceived misconduct and failure on the battlefield.

DR. MATTHEW BARRETT is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow with the Canadian War Museum. His postdoctoral project explores the creation of graphic history scholarship as a visual form of historical interpretation and analysis. His forthcoming book, Scandalous Conduct: Canadian Officer Courts Martial, 1914-1945, will be published by UBC Press.

Remembering the Canadians in Normandy

Marie Eve Vaillancourt, Juno Beach Centre Association

August 25th at 7:00 pm ET | Register HERE

The Canadian presence in Normandy began on June 6, 1944 The subsequent ten weeks of fighting during the Battle of Normandy established a distinct presence, which informed in many ways how we remember Canadians in this part of the world today. My talk will focus on these underpinnings and will detail its evolution over the past seven decades since.

MARIE EVE VAILLANCOURT is the Exhibitions and Development Manager at the Juno Beach Centre Association and the Project Lead of MEV Museology Services. In 2016, she designed a special 100th anniversary exhibition commemorating the over 50,000 Canadians whose bodies lie in France. It was called From Vimy to Juno: Remembering Canadians in France.

The Canadians in Normandy: Another Go-Around

Geoff Hayes, University of Waterloo

September 8th at 7:00 pm ET | Register HERE

Despite years of debate, the view persists that “something appeared to be wrong” with First Canadian Army through the summer of 1944. This talk traces the Canadian path through Normandy to re-consider an ‘old’ narrative. It argues that, in the face of heavy casualties and enduring British criticism of the Canadians, the soldiers of First Canadian Army understood that they had earned a remarkable victory in Normandy. Finally, after over four years of war, the Canadians believed that they had won a Canadian victory, one that matched, even surpassed their fathers’ achievements a generation before.

Educated at Wilfrid Laurier University and Western University, GEOFF HAYES is a professor of history at the University of Waterloo. He was a student of Terry Copp when he wrote The Lincs: A History of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment at War (1986). Most recently his book, Crerar’s Lieutenants: Inventing the Canadian Junior Army Officer, 1939–1945 (UBC, 2017) won the 2018 C.P. Stacey Award. Geoff has learned a great deal from the many student tours he has joined on the battlefields of Northwest Europe, organized through the Canadian Battlefields Foundation.

Past Webinars

Juno Beach, 1944-2014: An Overview

Terry Copp, Laurier Centre for Military Strategic & Disarmament Studies

Terry Copp first visited the Normandy beaches in 1981 when researching Maple Leaf Route: Caen. Armed with the original 1:25,000 maps and air photos, reproduced in MLR: Caen, he studied the terrain, a key primary source for tactical and operational history. Copp has returned to Normandy many times since then usually leading study tours for The Canadian Battle of Normandy Foundation (today the Canadian Battlefields Foundation), the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies and True Patriot Love. The landscape has changed dramatically over the past 42 years as a result of new construction and efforts at memorialization. Copp will talk briefly about the nature of the “Atlantic Wall” in 1944 and the problem of breaking through it, then describe the changes to the terrain especially in the ways D-Day has come to be commemorated in the Juno sector.

TERRY COPP is the leading scholar of Canada’s military role in the Second World War and an influential advocate for military history in both military and civilian post-secondary education. His books on battle exhaustion, on 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade, and his two volumes on the Canadians in Normandy and Northwest Europe, Fields of Fire (2003) and Cinderella Army (2006) have led to a reinterpretation of Canadian soldiers’ effectiveness in 1944 and 1945. He was also the onscreen historian for the television series No Price Too High and a regular contributor to Legion Magazine.

Stopping the Panzers: Canada’s Forgotten Overlord Role

Marc Milner, University of New Brunswick

Historians have traditionally criticized the 3rd Canadian Division for its ‘slow’ progress after 6 June, for its failure to take Caen when it had a chance, and for succumbing to German counter-attacks and digging in on the Oak Line. But recent scholarship indicates that—Montgomery’s aspiration to get ashore and “crack about with tanks” notwithstanding—the Canadian role was to seize the Oak Line, dig in and kill the Panzer counter-attack on Operation Overlord itself.

DR. MARC MILNER served as Professor of History at the University of New Brunswick until his retirement in 2019. He was Director of UNB’s Military and Strategic Studies Program for two decades, Chair of UNB’s History Department for six years, and Director of the Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society from 2006 to 2019. Milner is best known for his work on naval history, his book Battle of the Atlantic (2003) winning the C.P. Stacey Prize for the best book in military history in Canada. His latest book, Stopping the Panzers: The Untold Story of D-Day (2014), won the BGen James Collins Book Prize by the US Commission on Military History.

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