Subaltern PD in Calgary

By Lt Callum Smith


It was that time of year, again: time for the Subalterns to run rampant throughout Calgary.  Professional Development can’t be fun, can it?  We shall see…

Our journey began November 24th with a visit to Spruce Meadows, the premier show jumping venue not only in Canada, but arguably the world.  Located on the southern side of Calgary, Spruce Meadows has been the “home away from home” for the Strathcona Mounted Troop for the Riding Seasons while performing tasks as the Official Guard of Honour. The Troop assists in hosting the Masters Tournament and many of the other National show jumping competitions, where the best in the world gather to compete and are then escorted to their podiums by the true masters: our own Mounted Troop.  The Southern family, who founded Spruce Meadows, has been great supporters of our regiment, and over the years provided an excellent stabling site for our horses, as well as assisted in educating our Subalterns since 1974.

Our next stop was to the Headquarters of Canadian Pacific, whose last spike on its first transcontinental rail line was driven in by Lord Strathcona, Donald Smith.  As we found out, their entire western rail network in Canada and the US is run from Calgary.  Upwards of 200 trains moving across the country at any given time, all coordinated through one command centre.  We then were given a tour of several historical train cars that happened to be on hold, awaiting their next tour of the country.  The history of the railroad and its luxury was demonstrated to us when we toured the car that Sir Winston Churchill rode in to a conference during WWII.

That was the end of the learning phase of day one.  Next up was team-building!  We took our tour guides out on the town to show them our appreciation.  After dinner we said our goodbyes to them, and continued to patrol the downtown area in order to determine the local pattern of life.  Once we had completed our task, it was time to return to the comforts of the Mewata Armouries for some much needed rest.

The next morning we went to the Strathcona Museum in Calgary, where WO MacLeod brought the history of our regiment to life for us.  It is one thing for us to have read the commendation report for the VCs of Sgt Richardson, or Lts Flowerdew and Harvey.  It is another thing entirely to have a full walk-through talk-through of their battles, complete with authentic period equipment there to be seen and touched (with gloves, and gently!).  It was an eye-opening and gratifying experience to see the history of our regiment preserved and presented in such an engaging and awe-inspiring environment.


All in all, the trip to Calgary was a great success.  We had the opportunity to learn more about the history of our regiment and visit partners which both share that history and support our efforts both domestically and abroad.  We would like to thank all those involved in the incredible experience that was our Calgary expedition.