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Origin and History of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets

In 1908, the Department of National Defence (DND) formed a cadre of commissioned officers, the Cadet Services of Canada, made up of school teachers who were trained and paid to teach physical training and conduct drill in their schools. The Cadet Services of Canada was a component of the Canadian Army and the forerunner of the present day Cadet Instructor Cadre (CIC).

Probably one of the most significant factors in the growth of the Army Cadet movement at the beginning of the 20th century was the creation of the Strathcona Trust fund in 1910 by the High Commissioner to Britain Sir Donald Alexander Smith - Lord Strathcona. The trust was deposited with the Dominion Government and was considered a huge sum for the time; $500,000.00 and earning interest of 4% per year. The Trust was intended to encourage the development of citizenship and patriotism in school cadets through physical training, rifle shooting, and military drill.

During World War I, over 40,000 former Army Cadets voluntarily enlisted in the Canadian Forces and by the end of the War over 64,000 boys were enrolled in Army Cadet Corps across the country.

In the twenty years between the Wars, cadet training declined under the combined effect of the Depression and a lack of public interest but when World War II began, public interest in cadet training revived. It is estimated that over 124,000 former Army Cadets served in Canada’s forces during WWII; of these more then 19,000 received commissions, and over 27,000 were awarded decorations. By the end of the War there were over 110,000 Army Cadets on strength.

In 1942, His Majesty King George VI conferred the title “Royal” on the Royal Canadian Army Cadets in recognition of the significant contribution former cadets made to the war effort and accepted the appointment of Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets. His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, currently holds this appointment.

The Formation of The #75 Toronto Scottish Regiment Cadet Corps

The history of The Toronto Scottish Regiment Cadet Corps begins in the early days of World War II with The 80th Veterans Guard Cadet Corps which conducted training at William Burgess Public School at Pape Avenue and O’Connor Drive in East York. The Cadet Corps was affiliated to the 80th Reserve Company of the Veterans Guard of Canada. The Veterans Guard of Canada was a corps of First World War veterans between the ages of 45 and 65, formed in May 1940, for full-time and reserve service during the Second World War. On 10 February 1945 the Cadet Corps was renamed #1951 East York Kiwanis Club Cadet Corps.  During this period the Corps was being run by Mr. Art Whitaker who was a Civilian Instructor. In the spring of 1948 the Cadet Corps underwent another name change, this time it became The Toronto Scottish Regiment Cadet Corps and was moved from its original training location in East York to the home of its affiliated unit at Fort York Armoury.

Under The Toronto Scottish Regiment’s stewardship, Instructors and Senior NCOs of the Cadet Corps traded in their standard issue cadet uniforms for Regimental uniforms and command of the Corps was undertaken by Captain Robert Summerby.  

In the fall of 1950, with a large component of the Cadet Corps’ leadership, including Cadet Lieutenant Hugh Stewart and several Senior NCOs, “aging-out” and moving on to the Regiment, along with the simultaneous departure of Captain Summerby, it was decided to stand the Cadet Corps down.

Twenty years later, on 10 November 1970 Lieutenant-Colonel Hugh Stewart was appointed Commanding Officer of the Regiment. One of his first acts as CO was to seek approval to revive the Regiment’s Cadet Corps.  On 01 February 1971 The #75 Toronto Scottish Regiment Cadet Corps was formed.

Securing the number 75 for the newly formed cadet corps was not automatic. Since 1904 cadet units were numbered in sequence of formation and the potential for an existing corps already having that designation was very high. Prior to The Toronto Scottish Regiment Cadet Corps being designated #75, that number had been held by the Jewish Lad’s Cadet Battalion in Montreal, QC from 01 June 1901 to 09 September 1908, the Minnedosa Cadet Corps in Minnedosa, MB from 12 December 1913 to 13 September 1928 and the Minnedosa School Cadet Corps  in Minnedosa, MB from 27 January 1931 to 09 November 1932.  As luck would have it, #75 was available and Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart received authority to use that number to designate the Regiment’s Cadet Corps.          

The first Cadet Corps Commanding Officer was Major William Magee, who at the request of Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart, transferred to The Toronto Scottish Regiment from the 2nd Field Engineer Regiment to command the Cadet Corps. During World War II Major Magee had been a member of the 1st Special Service Force, the famed “Devil’s Brigade.”

The following is a list of Cadet Corps Commanding Officers from formation to today. It is based on records held by The Army Cadet League of Canada and supplemented by additional information from various sources.
 
        
Maj. W.J. Magee 1971 - 1972
  Maj. J.R. Massingham 1972 - 1974
  Capt. G.R. Faraday CD 1974 - 1982
  Capt. J.M. Donohue        
1983
  Capt. J.E. Bellis CD 1984
  Capt. B.L. Dumble        
1984 - 1989
  Lt. E. Kenny CD
1990 - 1992
  Maj. J.A. Merrill 1992 - 1993
  Capt. R.E.A. Mayne CD 1993 - 1996
  Capt. J.H. Bonnar        
1996 - 2001
  Capt. S.E. Bonnar 2001-2004
  Capt. W.J. Law CD 2004-2007
  Capt. R.D. Lawrence 2007 - Present
 
On 30 July 1975 Parliament passed Bill C-16 which amended the relevant cadet legislation by changing the word “boys” to “persons” thereby finally permitting girls to “officially” become members of The Toronto Scottish Regiment Cadet Corps.

In 1977, a new uniform to match the colour of the unified Canadian Forces was issued to cadets to replace the wool tunics, pants and putties. Within the Toronto Scottish Regiment Cadet Corps however, the Senior NCOs continued to enjoy the privilege of wearing the Regimental uniform; a tradition that remains today.   

In 1987, the Cadet Corps saw another change when the enrollment age was reduced to 12 from 14 years.  

In 1993, a DND initiative designed to provide better service to youth across Toronto resulted in The Toronto Scottish Regiment Cadet Corps, and others, moving out of Fort York Armoury and into the outlying community. The Toronto Scottish Regiment Cadet Corps was assigned the area of lower Etobicoke to make its new home. The area serviced by the Cadet Corps is bordered by Eglinton Avenue West, the Humber River, Lake Ontario, and the Mississauga border.

Although continuing to maintain an HQ office and stores within the lines of The Toronto Scottish Regiment at Fort York Armoury, the Cadet Corps found a training location within a building owned by the Etobicoke Lions Club at Kipling Avenue and The Queensway in Etobicoke. The Cadet Corps conducted training at that location until the Lions Club sold the building a few years later.  The challenge of finding another training location for the Cadet Corps then fell to Cadet Corps Commanding Officer Capt. J.H. Bonnar who quickly found an enthusiastic partner in Branch #210 of the Royal Canadian Legion located at Bloor Street West and Islington Avenue in Etobicoke.

In 2004, under the direction of the Cadet Corps Commanding Officer Captain S. Bonnar and with the assistance of past Cadet Corps Commanding Officer Major R. Mayne, a Cadet Corps Senate was organized to help support the Cadet Corps in accomplishing its mission. Lieutenant-Colonel John Glaysher was approached to Chair the Cadet Senate and he enthusiastically assumed the role. In addition, members of the Cadet Corps leadership and Branch #210 Legion also took their place at the table.            

The partnership with Branch #210 grew stronger each year and when the Legion decided to close its doors at the Bloor Street building in 2005 and buy a new, more cost effective, building for its members at 110 Jutland Road in Etobicoke, the Commanding Officer of the Cadet Corps Captain W.J. Law was invited into the planning discussions immediately.

As a result of the ongoing and very successful partnership between the Cadet Corps and Branch #210, the Legion was invited and agreed to become a co-sponsor of the Cadet Corps. In the Spring of 2005, Branch #210, Royal Canadian Legion, was approved as a co-sponsor of the Cadet Corps with The Toronto Scottish Regiment, thus creating a formal civilian and military partnership in support of the cadet program. On 19 September 2006, the new Legion was open for business.

Since its formation over 35 years ago, the Cadet Corps has carried on – celebrating a number of important milestones. The Cadet Corps has participated in almost every major event and parade alongside the Regiment and other members of the regimental family, has competed in and won First Aid and Shooting Competitions, participated in foreign exchanges with other cadet organizations, sent hundreds of its members to summer training centres across Canada and abroad, and has graduated many of its members onto successful careers within the Regiment and other components of the Canadian Forces.   

Today, The #75 Toronto Scottish Regiment Cadet Corps is settled into south Etobicoke where it continues building community partnerships, serving local youth, and writing the next page of its history.