Canadian Rangers celebrate 25 years in Northern Ontario

Canadian Rangers march during training at the 4th Canadian Division Training Centre
Canadian Rangers march during training at the 4th Canadian Division Training Centre at Meaford, near Owen Sound, Ontario. Photo: Sergeant Peter Moon, Canadian Rangers

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By Sergeant Peter Moon, 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group

The Canadian Rangers are celebrating a quarter century of service to the First Nations of Northern Ontario.

They were officially created in Ontario on November 3, 1993 when Major (Ret’d) David Scandrett, who was then a captain, became the first commanding officer of what is now the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (3 CRPG).

“I had a piece of paper delivered to me in my office at CFB Borden. It was a copy of a message from the commander of the Canadian Army in Ontario, authorizing me to set up Canadian Rangers – Ontario, which was the title at the time,” said Maj (ret) Scandrett.

Twenty five years later, there are 570 highly trained Canadian Rangers in 25 First Nations across the Far North of Ontario, with two more communities to be added early in 2019. Almost half the Rangers in Ontario are women. Across the Canadian North, there are 5,000 Rangers in more than 200 remote and isolated communities.

“Originally, the Rangers were lone wolves,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Matthew Richardson, 3 CRPG’s commanding officer. “They were the army’s eyes and ears in the North. For that purpose, they did not require much in the way of training or equipment. That’s very different than the Rangers of today. They are now members of a highly trained team, a family, an indispensable community organization, with a proud record of service to the peoples of their First Nations. They wear their red hoodies and uniforms with pride and with public recognition of what they do in the North.”

In the last 25 years, the Rangers of 3 CRPG have conducted search and rescue operations in some of the most potentially dangerous terrains in Canada. Their service has been recognized with national decorations, medals, awards and commendations

The Rangers also operate the Junior Canadian Rangers, a program for youth aged 12 to 18. There are more than 1,000 Junior Rangers in Northern Ontario. Camp Loon, an annual camp held north of Geraldton, provides advanced leadership training for about 150 selected Junior Rangers every summer.

“Camp Loon is the jewel in our crown, it is hugely successful,” Colonel Richardson said. “Next year it is going to be bigger and even better.”

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