The Netherlands / Landmark

Little Canada in Wijchen




A large Allied army camp was located in Wijchen from 1944 to 1945. It was know locally among the population as 'Little Canada'.

The story of Little Canada is unknown even to many Wijchen residents and concerns an army camp established on Leemweg, near Alverna, in 1944. This followed Operation Market Garden, in which thousands of paratroopers were dropped over several cities in the Netherlands to capture the bridges over the Waal, Maas and Rhine rivers. They managed to capture the bridges at Nijmegen across the Waal, but the Arnhem bridge proved to be a bridge too far. This left the Rijk van Nijmegen at the front, and many soldiers in the region who needed to be accommodated somewhere. A large army camp was therefore also established in Wijchen.

From November 1944, mainly Canadian soldiers were stationed in and around Nijmegen, and the army camp was soon named Little Canada by its residents. For about six months the soldiers went in and out of here, which was very convenient as the headquarters of the Canadian army command was also located in the village.

In February 1945, many of the soldiers left in connection with the Rhineland offensive, leaving behind the army camp consisting of several barracks and alcove huts. By then a lot of refugees from the villages east of Nijmegen had come to Wijchen, so these buildings were useful. Out of a population of 8,000, almost 6,000 evacuees and refugees arrived there. Little Canada's barracks were used as emergency housing and refugee shelters until 1955. After this the camp was demolished. Today, nothing of the army camp remains.

Leemweg, Wijchen