Ottawa, Ontario — When it comes to keeping Canadian history alive, the Army Reserve is a force to be reckoned with.
“The Fenian Raids, where Americans of Irish descent decided to invade parts of Canada in order to convince Britain to release Ireland from British rule seems really farfetched [today, but] all those recently returning veteran soldiers of Irish descent from the American Civil War were a huge threat to the Canadian colonies,” explained Second Lieutenant David Pampe, Quartermaster for The Queen’s Own Rifles (QOR), an Army Reserve unit in Toronto.
Some Canadian historians argue that 2016, which is the 150th anniversary of the New Brunswick and Ontario Fenian Raids and the 10 regiments created in response to that threat (and then augmented with professional regiments in 1866) , deserves to be as significant a date as 2017 – Canada’s 150th birthday.
And that the role played by those New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Upper and Lower Canada volunteer militia can been seen as important as that played by the politicians then negotiating Confederation.
“The Canadian Constitution refers to ‘Peace, order and good government.’ Before good government could be established with Confederation, there needed to be peace and order. The Canadian volunteer militia achieved this during the Fenian Raids,” explained Jane Davies, historian and manager of Fort Erie Museum and Cultural Services.
The museum is located in Fort Erie, Ontario, which includes the village of Ridgeway – the site…