The military is marching on Nanaimo this Sunday (Sept. 16).
The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s), an Island-based infantry regiment based out of Victoria, Nanaimo and Courtenay, is celebrating its centennial year by conducting a Freedom of the City parade downtown followed by an open house at the Brigadier B.C. Sargent Armoury on Nanaimo Lakes Road.
The parade will start around 1 p.m. at City Hall and members will march downtown to the Nanaimo Cenotaph, where the regiment will present the city with a plaque commemorating the unit’s service to the community.
From 3:30-5 p.m., members of the public are invited to an open house at the Nanaimo military camp at 709 Nanaimo Lakes Rd.
Capt. Stephen Green, a retired member in charge of public relations for the 100th anniversary celebrations, said about 250 members, including retired members of the reserve unit, will participate in the parade, all in full ceremonial attire.
“It’s one of those elements that all regiments do from time to time,” he said. “It announces we are still in Nanaimo and have a history in the community. It also announces we are appreciative of the community and their support for our regiment. The regiment is made up of civilians – men and women in the community of Nanaimo who have day jobs.”
The tradition of granting Freedom of the City to a military goes back several centuries and means, in the physical sense, the granting of the privilege for a specific military unit to march through the city with “drums beating, colour flying, and bayonets fixed.”
Green said the regiment has conducted Freedom of the City parades on three other occasions in Nanaimo.
The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s) was originally known in 1912 in Victoria as the 88th Regiment (Victoria Fusiliers) and in 1920, the 88th Regiment was combined with the 50th Regiment (Gordon Highlanders) and renamed the Canadian Scottish Regiment.
The main role of the army reserve is to augment the regular forces, often in disaster relief operations both at home and overseas.
Green said from 1912 to present day, about 20,000 people have served in the regiment. The regiment has participated in both world wars and sent members on United Nations missions around the world. More than 60 members have served in Afghanistan.
The regiment has also responded to local disasters, Green added.
For more information about its 100th anniversary, please go to www.cscotr100.ca.