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The Band of The Royal Regiment of Canada

The Band of the Royal Regiment of Canada is the oldest permanently organized band in the Canadian Forces. Based at Fort York in Toronto, Ontario, the band has continued to serve its Country, Province, and City in many different roles throughout the world since its formation in 1863.

The Regiment evolved from the 10th Royal Grenadiers and thus inherits British traditions. The Regiment was authorized to wear the distinctive scarlet uniform of the “Guards” on all ceremonial occasions by decree of Queen Victoria. The Royal Regiment of Canada is an active reserve unit in 32 Brigade and an integral part of the Canadian Forces. Its members presently serve in Croatia, the Middle East, Eritrea, and across Canada.

Some highlights from the band’s itinerary are:

  • Performances for the Queen Mother, Princess Anne, the Duke York, Prince Charles and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
  • International commitments include: performances for the United Nations in Cyprus; the Military Musical Pageant, held at Wembley Stadium, in London, England; a command performance for our Colonel-In-Chief Prince Charles, Prince of Wales in the Gardens of Buckingham Palace; and, being selected as the official band to accompany the veterans and the official party to the United Kingdom and France to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the raid on Dieppe August 19, 1942.

Recent years have seen the band travel from sea to sea, from Gander, Newfoundland to Victoria, British Columbia with many performances in between (including the launching of the ship the “Hector” in Pictou, Nova Scotia, The Summerside Tattoo in Prince Edward Island, and the 2000 International Military Festival of Music in Quebec City). In addition there have been numerous trips to the United States to participate in events such as the historic Fort Ticonderoga Tattoo and The Rochester International Marine Tattoo in New York State, the TRADOC Military Tattoo in Fort Monroe, Virginia, and the renowned Stone Mountain Highland Games Military Tattoo in Atlanta, Georgia.

The band’s recordings have been met with enthusiastic response and won wide critical acclaim.

Currently the various groups within the main musical organization are extremely active. Their wide ranging activities include live, televised and broadcast music, colourful marching displays, concert performances, ceremonial fanfare trumpets, opening ceremonies at many functions and conventions, and dance and reception music. The band looks forward to special performances from invitations received nationally and internationally in 2005.

The Director of Music is Lieutenant Kevin Anderson CD.

The Drum Major is Mike Morello CD.

The Band Sergeant Major is Sergeant Sheila Andrews CD.

The band appears by the kind permission of Lieutenant-Colonel Tom Payne, CD, Officer Commanding the Royal Regiment of Canada.

Band photo
The Royal Regiment of Canada Band – Photo taken at Scarborough Civic Centre in December 2004

Regimental History

The Royal Regiment of Canada was formed in 1936, with the amalgamation of two Army Reserve units: The Royal Grenadiers and The Toronto Regiment. The Royals can trace their roots back to March 1862 when a battalion of volunteers was formed in anticipation of an American invasion following the American Civil War. Called out in June 1866, the battalion marched from Toronto to Fort Erie to meet the invading Fenians, who withdrew before The Royals arrived. The Regiment gained its first battle experience in the North West Rebellion in 1885, after making a gruelling march from Toronto to 800 miles west of Winnipeg. At Batoche, in Saskatchewan, they led a bayonet charge that ended the rebel stand. Fifteen years later, the Regiment dispatched a company to serve with the Royal Canadian Regiment in the Boer War.

During the First World War, The Royal Grenadiers raised the 58th, 123rd, 170th, and 204th Battalions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, (CEF). The 58th served in the trenches from early 1916 to the end of the war. Corporal H.G.B. Miner, of the 58th, was as awarded the Victoria Cross. The other branch of The Regiment, (The Toronto Regiment) was formed in August 1914 as the 3rd Battalion CEF. It entered the trenches in February 1915. Two of its members, Cpl C. Barron and Lt G.F. Kerr won Victoria Crosses.

The Royal Regiment of Canada was called to active duty in September 1939 as a result of the start of the Second World War. During the summer of 1940, The Regiment was garrisoned in Iceland (a strategic submarine and airbase) against the possibility of Nazi attack and seizure. In 1940, The Regiment moved to England in anticipation of an invasion by the German forces. Two years later, The Royals were part of the raid at Dieppe. The Regiment suffered the highest casualties of any the participating units.

After considerable rebuilding and retraining, the Regiment landed again in France in July 1944. Fighting near Caen, the Regiment helped close the Falaise Gap, ending the Battle of Normandy. The Royals then fought up the Channel coast, assisting in clearing Holland and Belgium, and then fought its way into Northern Germany. During this period, at great sacrifice, The Regiment earned 20 Battle Honours.

The active service Battalion was disbanded in December 1945. At that time The Regiment reverted to Reserve status. As such, it is comprised of citizen soldiers from all walks of life including executives, students, police personnel and a range of other occupations. The Royal Regiment of Canada is based at Fort York Armoury in Toronto. Part of The Regiments raison d’être, is to train and provide soldiers in support of for the Regular Force. As an example, members of the Regiment have served with United Nations Peacekeeping Forces and with Canadian Forces Humanitarian Assistance Missions in Bosnia, Cambodia, Croatia, Cyprus, Haiti, Kosovo, Namibia, and The Golan Heights. In Canada, members of the Regiment deployed and provided assistance during the Winnipeg flood of 1997, over a 100 soldiers deployed to Eastern Ontario after the Ice Storm of 1998, and others during the Snow Storm that crippled Toronto in 1999. Currently, eleven soldiers are serving with the Canadian contingent that is part the NATO Stabilisation Forces in Bosnia.

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