100th anniversary of British forces leaving Canada

Officials announced the schedule of events that will mark the 100th anniversary of the Changing of the Guard from British to Canadian forces at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada (NHSC) Friday.

“We’re looking forward to a spectacular showing of military pageantry which will include 1000 re-enactors recreating an encampment at the Halifax Citadel NHSC for the better part of a week – it will be like Halifax through the age of a century” said event and society chairman Ken Mounce. Mounce and David Danskin, manager of heritage presentation at the Halifax Citadel NHSC walked through the schedule of events, which includes a History in the Streets Program featuring many re-enactors on the sidewalks and at historic properties throughout downtown Halifax this summer.

Mounce went on to profile the history of the actual Changing of the Guard in 1906, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “The Royal Engineers marched from Royal Artillery Park down
Sackville Street and onto a waiting troopship. As the band played Will Ye No Come Back Again, the last British garrison departed, bringing over a century and a half of mility presence in North America to a close.” Their place was taken up by the newly expanded Canadian army whose ranks contained many British soldiers who elected to make Canada their new home.

In recognition of that occasion and all that it signifies, the Changing of the Guard Society, the Halifax Citadel Regimental Association, Parks Canada, and a host of partner organizations will mark the 100th anniversary of the final departure with a major commemorative effort culminating in a gathering of British and Canadian military reenactment units during the week of July 18-23, 2006 in downtown Halifax with the focal point being the Halifax Citadel NHSC.

Halifax will be transformed into a living history site with military re-enactment units from across North America and the United Kingdom. They will combine to present an impressive panorama of military heritage and pageantry. It will be an exciting period of education, entertainment and ceremonial activity with 1000 re-enactors and military personnel participating.

The 100th anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on the rich military heritage of Halifax and in particular its strategic role in world history. Halifax was founded as a military outpost and the unique character of this capital city still bears witness to this rich heritage. Virtually every regiment of the British Army passed through or garrisoned the city since the first fortifications were erected in 1749.

From May through early July there will be a series of lectures relating to the event at the Spring Garden Road Branch of the Halifax Public Libraries.

The Changing of the Guard has been declared a top 100 and must see event for 2006 by the American Bus Association.

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