30 DEC 2013: War and peace is a big theme this year. Tour operators around the world will no doubt be busy especially companies specializing in memorials and pilgrimages. We mark the historic dates of several wars and meanwhile Christians think back to some pretty hefty sites of worship. Modes of public transportation will take a ceremonial bow. And let’s not forget there are acclaimed artists like painters, composers and authors who are getting feted. Welcome to 2014.

North America


First World War Centenary (1914-1918)
Former Minister of Veterans Affairs Daniel J. MacDonald once remarked on the First World War that our country with a population of only a few million saw 619,636 officers, men and women from all walks of life serve. Of them 66,655 never returned. Canada alongside other countries is honing in on commemorations of the 100th anniversary of The Great War. Expect a four-year event starting on November 11, 2014.

The federal government announced last year that Canada will participate in the Bastille Day Military Parade in France. Watch for landmarks across Canada and Europe like McCrae House in Guelph Ontario (now a museum and the birthplace of writer Col. John McCrae “In Flanders Fields”) the Canada War Museum and of course the many memorials in Europe.

To learn about some extraordinary events and how you might be able to participate see

75th anniversary of the Second World War (1939-1945)

It’s estimated that some 1.1 million Canadians served in uniform during the conflict. Some of the historic dates include the 75th anniversaries of the Dieppe Raid, Victory in Europe Day, the Italian Campaign and the end of the Second World War. In addition watch for events marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy on June 6, 2014.

For more information on Canada's role in the First World War and the Second World War, visit veterans.gc.ca.

PEI 150th anniversary of Charlottetown Conference

PEI’s rolling out the red carpet for the rest of Canada as this pretty Maritime province marks the 150th anniversary of the historic Charlottetown Conference. What’s the Charlottetown Conference? A bunch of men from various parts of what is now Canada got together to talk confederation stuff. PEI 2014 is 365 days of celebration with most festivities happening in summer. The huge highlight is planned the first week of September marking the 150th anniversary week of the original Charlottetown Conference

The 350th anniversary of Notre-Dame de Québec
A specially made Holy Door the first of its kind in North America was recently constructed for this Jubilee. Back in 1664 when Bishop François de Laval opened the cathedral Notre-Dame de Québec was the first cathedral built in North America, making it the first Catholic parish founded north of the Spanish colonies. Notre-Dame de Quebec is considered the “mother-parish” of all the other Catholic parishes of Canada and the United States.
Now to December 28 www.notredamedequebec.org

75th Anniversary Day: Mont Tremblant

So what’s it like to be 75 years at the top? Come celebrate Tremblant's big anniversary. Insiders aren’t saying much about the party yet but expect lots of thrills, frills and a birthday cake.
February 12


50th Anniversary Beatles Tour of US
In that ultimate phantasmagorical epic moment when the Fab Four landed at JFK Airport mayhem erupted. Welcome to Beatlemania as we know it. The Grand Hyatt in NYC is having a gala event including 60s British invasion types like Peter Asher of Peter & Gordon, Donovan, Billy J. Kramer, Chad & Jeremy and former Beatles Fan Club Secretary Freda Kelly. Spot current Ringo Starr All-Starr Band musical director Mark Rivera, the Smithereens and more.
The Fest for Beatles Fans Dates: Feb 7-9, Grand Hyatt NYC and other dates/locations The Chicago Fest Aug. 15-17 at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare; The Los Angeles Fest Oct. 10 -12 at the Airport Marriott.

250th anniversary of the founding of Saint Louis, Missouri

Like a lot of things historians can’t really agree on when the Gateway City started so that’s why the locals are preparing for a big birthday bash weekend Feb 14-16. Organizers are planning lots - from fibreglass cakes dotting the cityscape to a re-enactment of the city’s founding fathers.

Beverly Hills: 100 years young
Sure there might be some nips and tucks in this part of Tinseltown but the hills of Beverly Hills still shimmer brightly. Watch for year-round events but the big party is slated in January.
year round and Jan. 28

100th anniversary of first commercial flight
The Wright Brothers galvanized the age of flight back in 1903. That monumental feat paved the way for other significant aviation firsts. The first commercial flight happened in the US on Jan 1, 1914 with the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line from St. Petersburg to Tampa Florida. The whole scene attracted thousands of eager sightseers. Kermit Weeks hopes to recreate that flight at 10.am January 1, 2014 with his reproduction of that bi-wing seaplane, re-created down to the smallest details. FAA permission has yet to be received.

100 years of Greyhound Bus Co
Swedish immigrant Eric Wickman lands in Minnesota finds work with a new invention called the hupmobile and begins transporting fellow workers between small towns of Minnesota. This was the start of what later became America’s largest bus line renamed Greyhound in 1929.
May 21

25th Annual Pride Day LGBT Parade and Festival

Let the rainbow colours, party streamers and lots of pageantry fill the streets of Philly as it celebrates this milestone during International Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. phillypride.org
June 8

30th anniversary Miami Vice
Has it been that long since the white suited shoulder padded rolled up sleeve wearing Don Johnson graced the boob tube in the TV blockbuster Miami Vice? Yes. Insiders swear the 80s was the most decadent decade in Miami. Watch for hotels offering various Miami Vice packages like the Mayfair Hotel and Spa, the only Gaudi inspired boutique hotel in the US. The hotel known in the 80s for its decadent debauchery and downright extravagance recently completed $10-million in renovations, nice.


Riga European Capital of Culture

The Latvian capital is crowned as the cultural capital of Europe. Who knew caraway cheese, pickled mushrooms and the curl-your-chest-hairs Riga Black Balsam okay and the splendid art nouveau architecture are some of Riga’s claims to fame. Sometimes dubbed the Paris of the North now’s your chance to see it in its full glory. The party starts with a human chain transferring books from hand to hand starting from the old National Library to the new Gaismas Pils (Palace of Light) on Jan. 18.

450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth

Join Britain’s national celebration and get ready for the first ever Shakespeare Week March 17-23 across Britain. It promises ample renditions and a splendid homage to the world’s most famous playwright. Locations are plenty from Stratford-upon-Avon to The Globe Theatre in London. The actual anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth is 26 April.
www.rsc.org.uk www.shakespeare.org.uk

Centenary of the First World War 1914-1918
Margaret MacMillan’s brilliant book The War That Ended Peace offers an in-depth overview on events leading up to the Great War plus factors that stretched the war that was supposed to end by Christmas. Countries across Europe are preparing a four year event on the 100th anniversary.

In England watch for a group of attractions led by the Imperial War Museum which will host a four-year commemorative programme. The Imperial War Museum London will open new First World War Galleries this summer, a £35 / $57 million project which will tell the story of the 16 million people whose lives were claimed by the First World War. www.iwm.org.uk

August 4 2014, the day England entered the war, will be marked with a candle-lit vigil of prayer at Westminster Abbey For more information, visit www.1914.org.

In Belgium watch for battlefield tours and memorial events at WWI sites and in Ypres.
In France watch for battlefield tours and memorial events with the biggest one taking place in Vimy Ridge. The federal government is building a permanent visitor centre in time for the 100th anniversary in 2017.

See the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for other details http://www.cwgc.org/

75th Anniversary start of the Second World War
Commemorations are taking place in England, France and Italy. In Italy there’s the 70th anniversary of the Italian Campaign and the Liberation of Rome. A few select folk will embark on the Italian Job 2014 which sees participants pedal on a massive cycle ride.

125th anniversary of The Savoy Hotel, London

Back in 1899 when electric lights and lifts were making a big debut it was the guests of one fine luxury hotel known as The Savoy Hotel that got into the thrills of this newfangled technology. Luxury bathrooms, hot and cold running water and all the top innovations of the day were part of the big WOW factor.

Christopher Marlowe's 450th birthday

Sometimes overshadowed by that other famous English playwright, Christopher Marlowe a brilliant playwright and poet gets feted this year as the world celebrates his 450th birthday. Born in Canterbury, the son of a shoemaker, his classic plays include Dido, Queen of Carthage and Doctor Faustus. The University of Cambridge Marlowe Society is organising a year-long program. See http://www.cam.ac.uk/news/marlowe-a-year-long-celebration-of-a-brilliant-playwright-and-poet#sthash.XeerNWVW.dpuf
Feb 26 is the birthdate plus there are events year-round

Dylan Thomas 100, Wales

Wales’ greatest poet and writer gets feted with ample special events. Experience the landscape a huge source of his inspiration. The actual centenary of Thomas’s birth is 27 October but events will take place year-round.

Homecoming 2014, Scotland

Oh, to be a Scot – this is the year Scots and those who wish/want to be a Scot are heading 'home' to celebrate an exciting culmination of the past four years where the country has tipped its hat to several annual themes: Food and Drink, Active, Creative and Natural Scotland. The year-round Homecoming festivities kick off with the not-to-be-missed New Year’s Eve celebrations – Hogmanay. Stirling will be at the heart of Homecoming.
All year

Glasgow hosts the Commonwealth Games

London might have hosted the 2012 Summer Olympics but Glasgow’s the city, sports enthusiasts will set their sights on for this mega sporting competition. Picture athletes from 71 nations and territories ready to butt heads in the 20th games. Eleven days of competition Glasgow will be at the centre of the sporting world.
July 23 – August 3 http://www.glasgow2014.com/

700th Anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn

The Scots are gearing up for a humungous battle re-enactment led by none other than (a laddie posing as) legendary Robert the Bruce. This medieval battle saw the Scots as victors over the numerically-superior English forces. Long story short Scotland had 400 years of independence after this victory. Watch for the opening of a new visitor centre on June 24. Cool factoid: The re-enactment will be the largest-ever hosted at the memorial battlefield and the National Trust for Scotland. Battle re-enactment scheduled for June 28-June 30

National Gallery of Ireland’s 150th anniversary
Back on a wintery day in Dublin, the Earl of Carlisle opened the National Gallery of Ireland on Jan 30 1864 to a wondrous crowd who came to see the entire collection of 112 paintings including 39 purchased in Rome. Things have come a long way since, bigger collections and more event surprises are in the works.

110th anniversary of Abbey Theatre

Ireland’s national theatre founded by William Butler Yeats and Lady Gregory in 1904 has showcased groundbreaking often controversial productions. The theatre’s mantra is “bring upon the stage the deeper thoughts and emotions of Ireland’

Limerick City of Culture
Limerick’s made history. The first ever Irish City of Culture in 2014 is an ambitious plan to establish Limerick as an international city of culture. Watch for year-round events that promise to recognize incredible infrastructure. Begone the tired clichés and misconceptions.

Dubliners (1914) by James Joyce. (100th anniversary)

The legendary author whose epic tome was published around WWI no doubt coined many literary terms and also introduced the short story as we know it. Watch for a series of workshops and events around this significant literature arguably some of the finest stories in the English language.
Year round plus Jan 4-6 The Dead Weekend http://jamesjoyce.ie/the-dead-weekend/

Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864) by Jules Verne. (150th anniversary)

Truly an epic journey required reading for all travel lovers this classic tale has inspired countless afflicted souls with wanderlust plus sci-lovers curious about what lies in the earth’s core. Since its first publication many spin-offs (movies, TV shows, comics, theatre and video games) have resulted. Expect special commemorative events around the work and the sci-fi pioneer novelist Jules Verne sometimes called the Father of Science Fiction.

175th anniversary of the birth of Paul Cezanne

You know when a tiny oil rich nation nabs a rare Cezanne painting for $250 million (reportedly the highest ever paid for artwork) some years ago things would be different. You’ll have to visit Qatar to see Cezanne’s The Card Players. Only five exist and the other four are in leading institutions like the Musée d’Orsay and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Closer to home you can head to the AGO to see Interior of a Forest (1885). The French post-Impressionist artist was born in Aix-en-Provence in1839. Expect retrospectives and special events on this extraordinary artist around the globe.

125th anniversary of the opening of the Eiffel Tower
Paris in 1889 was having a field day with the opulent World’s Fair and of course the completion of a brash iron lattice tower, the fair’s signature piece designed by Gustave Eiffel. The gossip of the day was how an ugly eyesore was this temporary structure but my how has the now permanent piece, a beautiful symbol, weathered finely over the years.

25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall

No one in my lifetime would have ever believed the Berlin Wall would ever fall but fallen it has. It’s been 25 years already. The harrowing time of uncertainty had the world on pins and needles as we watched the first crossings of East Berliners into the west. Only a small stretch of the Berlin Wall has been preserved but what it represented will always serve as a reminder. The German National Tourist Board has put aside 2014 and 2015 for the 25th anniversary commemorations of the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification. Watch for a tagline '25 Perspectives on Destination Germany'. The campaign emphasizes the wide choice available to visitors in all parts of Germany: from the iconic landmarks and the rich cultural scene to the diverse natural scenery.

600th anniversary of the Council of Constance

The region surrounding Lake Constance in Germany was a huge epicenter for religious figures, politicians and scholars in the Middle Ages who gathered for The Council of Constance thought to be the largest meeting of its time. Watch for the slogan “Middle Ages brought to life.” Constance sister cities Fontainebleau, Richmond, Tabor, and Lodi will be participating as well as other European cities and regions associated with the late medieval congress. The region today is considered a holiday paradise.

150th anniversary of Richard Strauss’s birth (1864–1949)

The romantic composer’s hometown of Munich plus cities across Germany as well as abroad will be staging anniversary concerts year-round. The renowned Canadian pianist Glenn Gould once described Strauss in 1962 as “the greatest musical figure who has lived in this century.”
year-round + June 9 Bavarian State Opera will be performing a Jubilee concert

FIBA Basketball World Cup

The first-ever FIBA Basketball World Cup will take place in Spain. Folks might have known it as FIBA World Championship its previous name. Watch for host cities Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Bilbao, Gran Canaria and Granada when the FIBA Basketball World Cup takes centre court.
Dates: Aug 30-Sept 14

and elsewhere...

250th anniversary of the Hermitage Museum
Catherine the Great founded this iconic institution in St. Petersburg in 1764. It was her personal art collection. Later the public started to venture inside this palace to see the masterpieces. Expect a restored church inside the Winter Palace and a massive new wing in the General Staff building with 800 rooms featuring art from the 19th to 21st centuries.

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics
Described as the most expensive Games in Olympic history the blockbuster winter competition has been in the news these days for other reasons.
Feb 7-23

20th anniversary of Freedom: South Africa
Insiders report all the stops will be pulling out to commemorate this freedom anniversary with the biggest tribute taking place during Freedom Day on April 27. It marks the first democratic election of 1994.

Dakar Rally 35th

Expect around 450 vehicles from different categories to race a route of the Andes region, the northwest Argentina’s canyons, the dunes of the Atacama Desert with a stop in Bolivia. The entire 16 day journey travels through Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.
Jan 5-19

Brazil: FIFA World Cup
Brazil wanted a world event and got it!! A list of official sites, sponsors and everything World Cup from Brazil can be found at their website http://www.fifa.com
June 12-July 13


Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

Read more from Ilona Kauremszky

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