21 February at 11am: Exhibition Launch on the occasion of 120th anniversary since the Battle of Paardeberg
The Battle of Paardberg was the first significant British victory in the South African War (18-28 Feb 1900). As part of a British Army Division, the 2nd Battalion (Special Service), Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Otter marched into enemy camp. Royal Canadians received credit for their contribution, providing a boost not only to the confidence of the troops, but also to Canadian nationalism. Later that year they were honoured at Windsor Castle by Queen Victoria, in one of her last public appearances. This victory inspired celebrations across the country, with annual gatherings on 27 February, from 1901 to 1914. A public monument that honours the sacrifices during this conflict still stands in London, ON, at Victoria Park.
The 1883 – 1913 section of the permanent gallery has been renewed to include unique artefacts and archival material related to the South African War, but also some other milestones in the RCR history: the creation of the Infantry School Corps in Fredericton (NB), St. Jean (QC) and Toronto in 1883, the Northwest Territories Field Force (1885), construction of Wolseley Barracks in London, ON, between 1886 and 1888, the Yukon Field Force (1898-1900) and the Edwardian era (1902 – 1911). The new exhibition brings forward not only the national reach of the unit that fought in South Africa – 2nd Battalion (Special Service) –, but also a strong local component by featuring the involvement of the local regiment, 7th Fusiliers, now 4th Battalion, The RCR.
27 February at 6pm: 2020 Speaker Series at The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum with Professor Gordon Heath
“Not the greed of conquest, but native valour, the struggle for civilization, and the love of Motherland were in the fire in their souls that day: Canadian Protestant Rhetoric and the War in South Africa”
The imperial war in distant South Africa (1899-1902) was seen by many in the Canadian churches to be one that would ultimately benefit all involved. Central to the ministry of the churches was the application of justice, the development of the new nation Canada, the unifying and strengthening of the empire, and the spreading of missions. Consequently, concomitant with those four aims was the idea that a British victory would bring tangible blessings; it would be good for Canadians, good for Britons, good for Africans, good for the empire, good for the entire world, and even good for the Boers. How could one not support the imperial effort, so the rhetoric went, with the interests of church and missions, nation and empire, the secular and the sacred, so intertwined? This presentation will provide an examination and analysis of the wartime rhetoric of the Protestant churches.
Professor Heath has been teaching the history of Christianity since 1999, and arrived at McMaster Divinity College in 2004. Besides teaching, he also serves as Director of the Canadian Baptist Archives, the official archives of the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec. Professor Heath is Centenary Chair in World Christianity. Among his published titles are The British Nation is Our Nation: The BACSANZ Baptist Press and the South African War, 1899-1902 (2017), A War with a Silver Lining: Canadian Protestant Churches and the South African War, 1899-1902 (2009), Doing Church History: A User-friendly Introduction to Researching the History of Christianity (2008).
To book your seat please click here.
The RCR Museum on Virtual Museums Canada Network
"Topography of Grief. Mapping the Great War Dead in London, ON (1914-1921)" is live on Virtual Museums Canada, Community Stories. This exhibition has been developed in partnership by the museum and MA Public History Program at Western University, 2017 Class.
Like many other Canadian cities, London, Ontario, suffered the impact of the trench warfare fought in Europe between 1914 and 1918. This exhibit explores collective memory and individual grief, by mapping homesteads in mourning, along with official commemorative sites throughout the city today. While unveiling some of the artefacts produced to commemorate or acknowledge the sacrifices, our research also brought forward the next-of-kin, who were subject to a more personal experience of loss.
The exhibition is available in bilingual format.
For past events, click here.