|Postcard from the Guelph Public Library Archives|
The Canadian Forces 11th Field Regiment has a storied history in the Royal City, 150 years of history to be precise. Yes, the regiment turns 150 years old this year, and this calls for a parade and an open house. This Saturday!
The 11th Field Regiment will celebrate '150 years of Artillery in Guelph' with a 'Freedom of the City' Parade at Old City Hall, which will be followed by an Open House at the Guelph Armoury. What is a 'Freedom of the City' parade? According to Wikipedia, "The Freedom of the City, in military terms, is an honour conferred by a city council upon a military unit, which grants that unit the privilege of marching into the city 'with drums beating, colours flying, and bayonets fixed.'"
According to lore (and their website), in 1866 a group of Irishmen in the U.S. declared their intent to attack Canada for payback for the British occupation of Ireland, so Guelph was turned into one of many "Gunner's Towns" to be ready for the eventual attack of the Fenian Brotherhood. But even though the Irish didn't strike out at Canada for vengeance, the 11th has taken part in almost every combat mission this country has taken part in, from the Boer War to Operation Impact in Iraq. Lt. Col. John McCrae was also once a member.
So what does the 11th have planned for Saturday? The parade begins at 10 am at Old City Hall, where dignitaries like Mayor Cam Guthrie and Police Chief Jeff DeRuyter will be there as the regiment marches up Wyndham St to the Cenotaph on Woolwich St and back down Wyndham St to the Guelph Armoury for the Open House, which will take place from 12 to 4 pm.