Historic Garrison District / History / Birth of the Canadian Army

Birth of the Canadian Army

With the formation of the Infantry School Corps (ISC) in 1883, Canada’s professional army was born in what we now call Officer’s Square. Fredericton was one of three locations, along with Toronto and Saint Jean, Quebec, to create schools of professional military instruction for the volunteer militia. Training began in April 1884.

The Dominion of Canada formed in 1867 when the colonies of British North America - Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Upper and Lower Canada (Ontario & Quebec) - joined together to create a new country.  Consequently, British troops began withdrawing, creating a vacuum of military leadership and paving the way for Canada to create its own army.

Fredericton was home of ISC  “A” Company.  The regiment's name changed to The Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry in 1893, then to today’s Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) in 1901.  The RCR is Canada’s oldest permanent force infantry regiment, earning many battle honours from 1885 until today.

The large stone building that anchors one end of Officer’s Square was built originally for the use of Imperial troops and was the permanent home of the Royal Canadian Regiment until 1914. During both World Wars, troops were stationed here, and between the wars, the militia operated from this centre.  After WWII was over, the Royal Canadian Legion moved into the facility and operated from there until 1962. You can visit this building today as it houses the The Fredericton Region Museum, with rotating exhibits that reflect Fredericton’s military and domestic past.

During July and August, enjoy a re-enacted Changing of the Guard Ceremony in Officer’s Square, where soldiers wear the uniform from 1893 and demonstrate battle skills during daily parades.