This is the big day – the move from Canada to France!!
Everyone is excited. The majority of our Veterans and caregivers are here now at the Southway Hotel. We are expecting another 20 Veterans and caregivers to arrive throughout the morning, so the Toronto EMS Team is going to be busy assisting the VAC’s Dr N and his team to do assessments, greeting and receiving new arrivals, and assisting Veterans to bring their bags down as we prepare for departure.
Breakfast is early for all at the Hotel, followed by a special presentation by the Royal Canadian Mint as they unveil a new Canadian $10.00 silver coin to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. This is a great ceremony with various dignitaries in attendance and speaking to the Veterans. There is also a couple groups of Ottawa area school children attending and they made quite the presentation to the Veterans.
Once the ceremony ended it was load the buses and head over to Ottawa Airport for the journey to France! First stop, Gander, Newfoundland, to refuel the aircraft. During the refueling stopover, the Veterans hop off the Canadian Armed Forces Airbus for some shopping in the terminal gift shop that was opened especially for the Veterans. Awaiting them is the Base Commander of CFB Gander, his wife and the Base Chief Warrant Offier to greet them. Lots of great stories and laughs are exchanged during the 1.5 hour stop.
Once we are off again, it is time to settle in for the overnight. We made it!! Finally in France….it is now 04h00 in Toronto, but 10h00 in France….many have said that it was “The Longest Day”! Of course, it is now 4 June 2014.
We land in Deauville and it is a morning filled with coaches, Customs, coach switching and luggage transfers and back on to buses to finally head towards the lodging. Deauville is a lovely little community, thousands of years of history, and very friendly people! The Veterans and our staff have had a long journey, but soon there will be time for rest and unpacking, then a lovely meal at a restaurant down town. And of course, the Toronto EMS Team is right there dealing with whatever comes up!