Canadian Guards was
an infantry regiment of Foot Guards formed in the 1950s as
part of an expansion of the Canadian Army Active Force. The
Guards were patterned after Guards Regiments of the British
Army. They enjoyed a short life and were removed from the
order of battle shortly after Unification.
Raised: 16 October 1953
To Supplementary Order of Battle: 6 July 1970
On 16 October 1953, The Canadian Guards were formed as part of
the Canadian Army Active Force (the regular Army). Four battalions
were raised for this Regiment.
The 1st Battalion was not created until 15 April 1954, when 3rd
Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment was redesignated as such.
The 1st Battalion did a six-month tour of Cyprus as part of UNFICYP
beginning in September 1964.
On 1 October 1968, the 1st Battalion was reduced to nil strength, as
well as the Regimental Band, leaving only the 2nd Battalion on the
order of battle.
The 2nd Battalion had been created on 8 January 1954, when 3rd
Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry was
redesignated. On 1 October 1968, the battalion was reduced to three
rifle companies, but continued as an Ace Mobile Force unit, and
participated in NATO exercises in Denmark in 1969. Many soldiers
left the Guards in 1968 for The Canadian Airborne Regiment.
3rd & 4th Battalions
On 16 October 1953, the 3rd Battalion was created, as a
redesignation of 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion (part of the 27th
Canadian Brigade), and the 4th Battalion was created the same day,
as a redesignation of 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion.
The 4th Battalion served in Korea from 14 April 1954 to 29 October
On 31 March 1957, both the 3rd and 4th Battalions were disbanded,
with personnel going to form cadres for two new regiments of the
Royal Canadian Armoured Corps.
On 22 April 1954, the 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion Band was
redesignated as the Canadian Guards Band. The Band was disbanded on
30 September 1968.
Regimental Pipes and Drums
Two regimental pipes bands were formed in the Canadian Guards.
The 2nd Battalion, Canadian Guards formed a pipe band in February
1954 under Pipe Major Archie Cairns, formerly of The Argyll and
Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's). From 1957-1959
the band accompanied the battalion on NATO duty in West Germany. In
1960, they returned to Petawawa, performing public duties on
Parliament Hill in the summers.
In 1964 Pipe Major Cairns was posted to the volunteer Royal Canadian
Air Force Pipes and Drums in Ottawa, where he would become the first
Regular Force piper to achieve the rank of Chief Warrant Officer. He
was succeeded in the 2nd Battalion Pipes and Drums by Pipe Major
William Stirling, who was in turn replaced in 1969 by Pipe Major
John Huggan. In 1970, when the Regiment was reduced to nil strength,
the pipers and drummers went to the 3rd Battalion, The Royal
Canadian Regiment, to become the pipe band of that battalion.
After returning from Korea in November 1954, Regimental Headquarters
obtained authority for a pipe band and a British Army Pipe Major to
lead it. The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Strome Galloway,
was reported to have been surprised when Pipe Major Ronald "Ronnie"
Hill reported for duty in July 1955. The band had few active pipers
to draw from in the battalion, but the band developed to the point
it was parading with the 2nd Battalion pipe band at the Canadian
National Exhibition in 1956.
The Regimental Depot was activated on 1 September 1954 in Camp
Petawawa. On 3 June 1968, the Depot of The Canadian Guards was
closed in the wake of Unification.
Canadian Guards Regimental Association
The Canadian Guards Regimental Association was a veterans
association discussed in February 1969 by six serving and retired
members of The Canadian Guards. Their stated aim was to "foster,
maintain and promote the well being of former members of the
Regiment, to maintain the comradeship of their Regimental service
and to further the best interests of the Regiment among other
military and civic groups or associations." The Association was
officially established in October 1969 with Regimental Sergeant
Major Jim Baird elected as President.
Association Headquarters was established in Ottawa, to become the
parent organization for other branches established in Petawawa,
Picton and the Atlantic provinces. Less formal gatherings of
Canadian Guardsmen have assembled on occasion outside these areas,
such as Victoria and Kingston, where functions to commemorate the
Regimental Birthday met with some success.
The Association maintained contact through regular newletters, and
later via email.
Over 7,000 Canadian soldiers belonged to the Canadian Guards in its
short history, with 1,600 additional members of the Canadian Forces
serving in support roles with battalions of the Guards or at the
Regimental Depot. All were entitled to join the Association as
At the end of the 20th Century, membership was approximately 550.
On 1 September 1954, two regiments of the Canadian Army Reserve
Force were redesignated:
The Governor General's Foot Guards (5th Battalion, Canadian Guards)
at Ottawa were a redesignation of The Governor General's Foot
The Canadian Grenadier Guards (6th Battalion, Canadian Guards) at
Montreal were a redesignation of The Canadian Grenadier Guards.
In 1969, the two Militia battalions each formed a company-sized
Public Duties Detachment. The two Militia battalions, retained their
Canadian Guards designations until 1976, when they resumed their
former identities. In 1979, the Public Duties Detachment was renamed
The Ceremonial Guard.
The Canadian Guards began performing public duties on Parliament
Hill in 1959, passing those duties on to the Public Duties
Detachment (later Ceremonial Guard) in 1969.
On 6 June 1970, with only the 2nd Battalion still active, a Final
Trooping and Laying Up of the Regiment Colours was conducted, and on
6 July 1970, the battalion was redesignated as the 3rd Battalion,
Royal Canadian Regiment. The Canadian Guards was officially added to
the Supplementary Order of Battle.
A Mari Usque Ad Mare (Latin: From sea to sea. This motto also
appears on the official coat of arms of Canada.)
Quick Time: The Standard of St. George
Slow Time: From Sea to Sea
A Regimental Museum was created at CFB Petawawa, known as "The
Regiment of Canadian Guards Museum."
The cap badge is described in "Regiments and Corps of the Canadian
A ten-pointed star of sixty rays;
on the centre an annulus bearing the motto "A MARI USQUE AD
MARE"; within the annulus, three hard maple leaves conjoined on
one stem; superimposed upon the topmost point of the star and
ensigning the remainder of the design, the Crown.
Smylie and Thompson, these buttons were issued in brass
and gilt, in three sizes. Smylie Reference Number: F-131.
The buttons were spaced singly on the jacket, and not in the
manner of some British Foot Guards regiments.
Cloth Shoulder Badges
battalion titles were worn with "plain" un-numbered titles
worn by troops at the Depot.