OTTAWA, ON – Canadian Forces (CF) teams within the province of Ontario conducted a send off parade at the Canadian War Museum today, just two days prior to their departure to participate in the 94th annual International Four Days Marches Nijmegen, a prestigious long-distance marching event in the Netherlands, that Canadian military contingents have participated in since 1952. The send off parade marked the end of months of training and is an opportunity to bid the contingent a bon voyage.
Between July 20 and July 23, CF marchers will cover 160 km through the Dutch countryside and crowded streets of towns in the Nijmegen area – often walking the same terrain where many Canadians fell during the Second World War.
“This is a poignant year for the Netherlands and Canada. It was only a few months ago that we commemorated the 65th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands – one of the most significant events leading to victory in Europe and the end of the Second World War,” said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. “I am proud that Canada and the Netherlands continue to share a close connection and I believe that CF participation in the Nijmegen Marches is a great example of our friendship and co-operation.”
Led by Brigadier-General John C. Madower, this year’s contingent is comprised of 189 marchers. They are supported through their journey by a robust medical and logistics staff and accompanied this year by the the Air Command Band, for a total strength of 233 participants.
“Nijmegen may be a test of physical fitness and stamina, but the event also helps build morale, friendship, and camaraderie amongst the Canadian Forces, and other nations participating,” said Brigadier-General Madower. “We look forward to developing these principles and values with our allied nations, most notably with the Netherlands this year.”
The Nijmegen Marches consists of four days of marching while wearing standard combat clothing and carrying a military backpack weighing at least 10 kg. The contingent is also supported by Logistik Unicorp, the official CF clothing supplier. Logistik is providing a golf shirt and fleece embroidered with the JTF Nijmegen crest for each member of the contingent.