It's an honour that very few enlisted soldiers ever get to do in their careers. But Saturday, amid a blustery and cool day, the Algonquin Regiment got the opportunity to perform the Freedom of the City. The first and last time it took place was in 1977. The Regiment enacted this tradition to wish the City of Timmins a very happy birthday, on its 100th Anniversary. Patrick Bryden Commanding Officer of the Algonquin Regiment says the march is very significant, especially for many of the young troops, who have served time in Afghanistan and most of whom come from the Timmins area. Bryden added, troops are not allowed to march through any City in Canada without the permission of that City, with flags waving, drums beating and bayonets affixed. The Algonquin Regiment has been in Timmins for the last 92 years and has kept a strong relationship with the CIty.
The role of the reserve army, like the Algonquin Regiment is force generation. They augment the Canadian Forces and recruit more soldiers with some actually having seen battle. They are also a source of support when civil disasters strike and ours is no different having tackled ice storms and floods.
Parry Sound, as part of the Regiment's proper in Northern Ontario is set to receive it's Freedom of the City for the first time with some extras. Bryden explains.
Acting Mayor Michael Doody both accepted and presented gifts from and to the Regiment. He also inspected the Regiment as is the custom of the Mayor and granted them the right to perform the Freedom of the City.
A solemn moment was also taken at the City's newly built cenotaph, where the fallen were honoured accompanied by the wail of bagpipes from Pipe Major Tom Luke of the Timmins Police Pipes and Drums. A wreath laid, a prayer said and each of the 70 men and women in the force would never forget their brothers and sisters who came before them, sacrificing much for their countrymen.
Paul Primeau Regimental Sergeant Major for the Algonquin Regiment, added there have been many companies over the years spread across the north, but though they left and returned to Timmins, they've always been part of the north and represent it.