• Vimy Ridge giant floor map is displayed at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum

    Canadian Geographic Education's Vimy Ridge giant floor map is displayed before guests at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa November 1. The map was among several new Great War education tools unveiled at the museum. (Photo: Colin Rowe/Canadian Geographic)

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