Forces regiment to be granted Freedom of the City
By: By Ryan Tumilty
| Posted: Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 06:00 am
St. Albert will be opening its gate to one of the country's oldest military regiments later this month as part of the city's centennial celebrations.
The Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) will be granted Freedom of the City, a military term that dates back centuries, giving a military unit the authority to march through the city streets.
Military units dating back to Roman times were given the honour, which meant they could enter the city without disbanding or removing their weapons.
It showed the city trusted the military unit and welcomed them, rather than closing the walls to them as invaders.
The Strathconas will arrive in town on June 11 and will appear at St. Albert Place at 11 a.m. before parading through the streets and into Riel Park, where their military equipment will be on display and members will be on hand to meet with the public and show off the equipment.
As part of the traditional nature of the event, Insp. Warren Dosko will escort the unit from the cenotaph to city hall where Mayor Nolan Crouse will give them the ceremonial honour.
Organizer Gareth Jones said while ceremonial in nature, the Freedom of the City is important to the Strathconas.
“It is a big honour for a regiment to be given,” said Jones. “The full regiment will be here.”
Participating in the march past city hall will be 14 tanks and 14 Coyote armoured vehicles, 100 soldiers on foot, a variety of antique vehicles and the Royal Canadian Artillery Band (RCAB).
Jones said with St. Albert celebrating its anniversary, it is important for the city to reflect on the significant contribution of the military and the city's connection to it.
The Strathconas have been deployed several times to Afghanistan and many of the unit's members have called the city home.
“This is the city's tribute to the military on its anniversary.”
In addition to the military vehicles, which will be in Riel Park from 1 to 3 p.m., the RCAB will play along with the Edmonton Police Service Pipes and Drums. The Strathcona's musical ride will also perform.
The event will also mark the 50th anniversary of the St. Albert Gazette. Staff will be on hand to serve up hot dogs and drinks to the public free of charge.