Category Archives: General

Behind the Scenes: Acquisition and Accessioning Part I

“Acquisition and Accessioning: Taking legal ownership of objects, especially (but not always) to add to your long-term collection through the process of accessioning: the formal commitment by your governing body to care for objects over the long term.

In legal terms, acquisition involves a ‘transfer of title’ from the previous owner to you. [It] gives you proof of ownership, and it assigns a unique number that will link each object to the information you hold about it.

Accessioning has a very specific meaning: it brings with ethical responsibilities to preserve objects over the long term…”

Collections Trust UK

Many of you will be familiar with our physical exhibits at Casa Loma, and many more of you will be familiar with our social media posting on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and of course this website.  But much of what our volunteer team does is actually behind the scenes as we acquire, accession and catalogue new objects, and then either add to our exhibits or put them carefully into our collections storage so they will be safe and we know where to find them.

This post will explain our acquisition and accessioning process and Part II will explain what happens next.

Where do our objects come from?

Before we dive into the details, you might wonder where we acquire objects.  The vast majority are donated to the museum as gifts – from serving soldiers, veterans, and relatives of former QOR soldiers.  Occasionally they will also come from donors who have picked them up at flea markets and yard sales. From time to time we may actually purchase an item from E-Bay or online medal auction sites however our acquisition budget is extremely limited and so these are generally only very unique or rare items.

How do we decide what we want to accept?

Like most museums around the world, we have limited storage space and have to give careful consideration to what items we accept into our collection. Don’t get me wrong though – we are very grateful when people contact us with objects they think might we might want!  From time to time however we have to say “thanks but no thanks.”  This begs the question of how we reach those decisions.

First we have to consider the museum’s 1956 mandate:

to encourage the study of Canadian military history and in particular the history of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, to rescue from oblivion the memories of its members, to obtain and preserve narratives in print, manuscript or otherwise of their travels, adventures, labours and observations, to secure and preserve objects illustrative of the civil, literary and military history of the Regiment, and to maintain a museum and a library.”

The museum’s interest also includes the six First World War Canadian Expeditionary Force Battalions perpetuated by the Queen’s Own Rifles and soldiers who served in them.

So clearly we’re looking for items related in some way to the regiment itself (or its perpetuated battalions), or to any members who served in it.  And for the latter, these would generally be related to their service with the QOR.

There are exceptions to this. For example items that might illustrate a particular period during the regiment’s service which are not already in the collection.  Recently we acquired a WWII two-piece mess tin from another museum.  It was not connected any in way to the regiment or anyone who served in it but it was a common WWII object that we did not have in our collection. Another was a WWI Victory Bond Flag – again not specifically related to the QOR but certainly an important part of WWI history.

Once we’ve established that the object or objects might be relevant or useful, there are still some further considerations:

Is it legitimate?

Sometimes – particularly for sale on the internet – objects are represented as something they aren’t either intentionally or from ignorance.  Sometimes half-forgotten family lore just doesn’t quite fit the facts. Is this “19th century” cap badge really from the 19th century?  Does the condition of a medal ribbon and other “facts” seem reasonable?

2019.08.001

For example a recent donor claimed a bugle (2019.08.001) had been played at the Battle of Ridgeway.  The bugle cord that came with it was clearly not 150+ years old but the engraving of “Captain Sherwood’s Company” made sense.  It also had the makers mark engraved on it and after some research we found that particular mark was only used for a five year period that spanned 1866.  None of this proved that it was actually played at the battle but it did confirm that it was from the correct time period and certainly could have been played, so we agreed to accept it.  We also need to have some assurance that the person donating the objects has the right to do so – in other words is actually the owner, or perhaps the executor of an estate.

How unique is it? 

QOR Silent Butler
2019.17.001

Generally we only need so many of the same items in our collection.  When a wooden ash tray stand painted like a QOR soldier (2019.17.001) and used in the Sergeant’s mess was recently offered to us, it was a no brainer to say yes.  However unless it was in mint condition (see below) we aren’t going to accept any more copies of Chambers 1899 history of the regiment as we already have six.

How big is it? 

The practicalities of limited storage space unfortunately mean we just don’t have room to accept everything – and the larger the object, the more relevant this consideration.

What condition is it in?

Aside from storage limitations we also have a limited conservation budget so if something is in poor condition and may take considerable effort and expense to properly conserve and preserve it, then we certainly need to consider that carefully. If we already have examples of this artifact in our collection, we’ll also want to determine if the item being offered is in better or worse condition than those we already have.

Can we safely store this? 

Occasionally safe storage is also a consideration.  Live ammunition, or nitrate film – which has a tendency burst into flames under the wrong storage conditions – would be two examples.  We recently had to find a way to safely dispose of the contents of a WWII polish tin which had become corrosive (not to mention the strong odour!) and threatened damaging other objects; however we did manage to save the tin with its paper label.

Can this still be used by the regiment?

Officer's Crossbelt
2018.03.003

Perhaps somewhat uniquely, our acquisition policy allows for the museum to send accoutrements in useable condition to the reserve battalion if they are needed.   The most common example of this would be sergeants’ and officers’ crossbelts which are expensive and hard to source these days. These would be acquired and accessioned but not catalogued in the next steps of our normal process.

We’re going to accept them – now what?

Once we’ve taken possession of the objects we’ve agreed to acquire, we enter the donor and donation information into our accession database and assign it a number.  The accession number 2020.02 would represent the second accession of 2020. An accession could be one item or hundreds of items as long as they are all being donated by the same person at the same time. An item (or object – I’m pretty much using the two interchangeably) could be a uniform piece, book, artwork, photograph, weapon, or collection of archival material such as correspondence or meeting minutes.

Once that’s done, our database allows us to quickly prepare a “Deed of Gift” which lists all the items, indicates that they person donating them is the legal owner, and legally transfers ownership (and copyright if held by the owner) to the Museum, to do with as it sees fit.  It is critically important establish this ownership for the future. Luckily now, much of our administration can be handled by email including sending thank you letters and deeds of gift to be signed.  Once the signed deed is returned to us, we scan it and upload to our database and also file the original copy in our office files.

The process for items that are purchased is almost identical except that the receipt is used to establish the museum’s ownership instead of the deed of gift.

The database also allows us to record the provenance or history of the ownership, as far as we know it. Provenance gives value to objects. For example a pair of WWII boots is valuable – but much more valuable if we know they belonged to Rifleman X who wore then on the D-Day landing and through to the end of the war.  Or to record family lore such as “grandfather said he got the epaulettes off a prisoner of war he was escorting from the trenches to the rear areas.”

The objects are now ready for cataloging and storage but our Collections Officer will explain that process in Part II.

What if we don’t want the items?

Sometimes items offered to us have no connection to our mandate or other use to us.  In that case we try our best to find and connect the donor with a more appropriate museum.

Sometimes some of items are of interest and some are not and so we can decide to accept some, all, or none.  An example is a donation of 10 antique rifles – several were relevant but three were not but it was an all or nothing donation. We accepted all but eventually would sell the three and use the funding to supplement our acquisition fund.  This was made known to the donor before making the donation and they were fine with this arrangement.

Sometimes we’ll accept donations for our education collection particularly when we might already have several in our museum collection.  These can be used or tried on (for example uniforms) by visitors or school groups – definitely not a recommended practice for items in the actual museum collection.

And if all else fails, we just have to say thank you for thinking of us, but no thanks.

What happens next?

Next comes the detailed cataloguing of each items in the accession, including labelling and photographing, and then finding safe and appropriate storage, which is recorded so we can find it again when we need it!  Our Collections Officer will describe this process in Part II of this blog series coming soon!

March/April Update

We wanted to take this opportunity to provide a brief update from our Museum Team during these rather unique circumstances.

Before we do that however, I think it’s important to step back for a moment to look at the bigger picture. While some of us are able to stay and work from home, many of our regimental family are front line workers who don’t have that luxury – fire fighters (a LOT of firefighters actually), EMS, doctors, nurses, and many others that work in businesses deemed “essential.” We know that many others have had their livelihoods disrupted as most businesses and services are forced to close. Many of our band members for example, have seen their civilian gigs shut down indefinitely. And many others have gone operational and are waiting to assignments to support the COVID-19 or other crises which may arise.

Our thoughts are certainly with them all.

QOR Recruit Tours

The Wednesday before Casa Loma was closed, we we’re very pleased to welcome 60 new recruits for a tour of our exhibits. The museum opened in 1957 in order to train new recruits to the QOR Depot in the history of their regiment, and while thousands of Casa Loma visitor get to learn about us each year, our primary purpose continues to be sharing our history with new members of the regimental family.

The recruits were divided into two groups, and were led through our third floor exhibits by the Curator, Major John Stephens (Ret’d) and Deputy Curator Chief Warrant Officer Shaun Kelly (Ret’d). The tour also included our exhibits in Sir Henry Pellatt’s dressing room which includes a photograph of a rather slim young Henry in athletic garb, taken after winning the North American Championship for the mile run.  Once again we were asked what his winning time was but once again we didn’t have an answer. Now however we do!  From Sir Henry Pellatt: The King of Casa Loma, a 1982 biography by Toronto writer Charlie Oreskovich:

“In 1879, at the age of 20, Pellatt ran the mile in New York, beating the U.S. champion and setting a world record at 4:42.4.”

This is just under a minute slower than the current world record. It should be noted however that at that time there was no actual international body to certify “world” records and while it may well have been a North American record, it appears according to Wikipedia, that there were certainly  runners in the United Kingdom beating that time in 1879…..for whatever that’s worth!

National Volunteer Week and the Work Goes On

Last week was National Volunteer week and so I would like to recognize our amazing team of volunteers.

On March 12th we held our last volunteer night at the castle, and in anticipation of Casa Loma’s closure, did our best to stabilize our exhibits and storage areas. Casa Loma closed a few days later until further notice.

Since that time we have continued to hold Thursday evening Zoom meetings with our volunteer team, many of whom have unfortunately, been laid off from their day jobs. Several continue to work on museum projects from home, including database updates (logging onto our computer remotely), clean up of our image collections, continuing updates to the historic timelines and other additions to the website, responding to research requests, creating resources to use at home, processing archive collections, designing promotional items, social media posting, etc.

We very much appreciate having such a dedicated team of volunteers who are willing to continue their support despite the challenges we’re all facing these days. At the same time its great to see their support and concern for their fellow team members!

And of course when the time comes, we are all looking forward to returning to the museum itself when it is safe to do so.

In Case You Missed It

Sunday 26 April 2020 was the 160th Anniversary of the formation of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada. Due to the COVID-19 situation, we were not of course able to hold our usual annual parade at Moss Park Armoury.  In lieu of that, we held a virtual parade through a YouTube event launch. Over 200 people were watching live and to date over 1,100 people have watch the video.  In case you’ve missed it, you can watch it below.

Strategic Planning for the Museum

By Museum Board of Governor Jim Lutz.

For the last several years, a dedicated team of volunteers has revolutionized the Queen’s Own Rifles Museum by preserving its treasures, recording its inventory on film, and developing dramatic displays that tell the regiment’s story to the thousands of Casa Loma visitors each year.  While much good work has been done, much more can still be done.  Towards that end, the Museum’s Board of Governors commissioned a strategic planning process to identify the objectives of the Museum and the many projects we could undertake in future years.

The strategic planning process began with four research projects, designed to identify what people enjoyed in the Museum and what improvements they would like.  We began with a facilitated brainstorming session with 15 Museum volunteers, who gave us enough great ideas to keep us busy for the rest of the century.  We also surveyed samples of visitors to Casa Loma, key members of the regimental family, and digital visitors to our website.

Based on all this research, our strategic planning team drafted a document to serve as the Museum’s strategic plan for the next five years.  This team consisted of Mr. Jim Lutz, MA (member of the Museum Board and Regimental Senate), Mr. Alex Meyers, MA (Museum volunteer), and Major (Retired) John Stephens, CD (Curator of the Museum).

The strategic plan seeks to achieve the Museum’s Vision, which is to be “a modern, historical, educational and rewarding experience to ‘all’ who visit Casa Loma, and continue to be known by peers as the best example of a volunteer organized and managed ‘specialized’ museum and archival collection”.  The planning team identified five strategies that will help us achieve this Vision:

  1. Preserving the regiment’s history
  2. Promoting the regiment’s history and current mission to the public
  3. Serve the interests of a wider community through outreach and digital presence
  4. Support and benefit from Casa Loma’s tourist business
  5. Ensure the effective governance and management of the museum to accomplish the above

You may read the approved plan, and you will see the extensive list of projects we can undertake to achieve these goals.  With the help of all our volunteers, supported by the Liberty Group management of Casa Loma and our regiment, we can now focus our efforts on the most productive and valuable projects we have identified to achieve our goals for the Museum.

Drill Sheds and Armouries of the QOR

With the increased rate of withdrawal of British regular regiments from Canada in the 1850’s came the need to provide storage and training facilities for the volunteer militia companies and battalions that would fill the void. In 1860 the Queen’s Own were parading out of St. Lawrence Hall on Front St and a building at the north-east corner of King and Nelson (now Jarvis). The first “purpose built” drill shed was completed in June 1864 and was located on Simcoe Street just east of the old parliament buildings between Wellington and Front Streets; although no pictures or photos have been discovered, it is known to have been 400’ long by 80’ wide with a vaulted roof.

simcoe-st-drill-shed
Location of Simcoe Street drill shed 1864-1877, note how close it was to the docks at the time (Goad’s Atlas of Toronto 1858)

“The drill shed, a large building with arched roof of single span (since destroyed), was situated on the west side of Simcoe Street, adjacent to the old Parliament Buildings and extended through from Wellington Street to Front Street. It was built in the hollow of the old Russells Creek, a portion of whose valley is still to be seen in the Lieutenant Governor’s garden, and the hard earth floor of the shed was far below the level of Wellington Street. From this street a stairway led down to a small entrance door at the north end and at the south end were the broad double doors by which the regiments marched out direct on the lower level to Front Street.”

[The Fenian Raid of 1866 by Barlow Cumberland]

Shortly after its construction it was the mustering point for the soldiers called-up for active duty during the Fenian Raid June of 1866;

“At 6:00 P.M. Major Charles T. Gillmor, the recently appointed commanding officer of the QOR received orders to assemble 400 men by 5:00 A.M. in the recently constructed Simcoe Street drill shed and to proceed to the Toronto docks where at 6:30 A.M. they were to board the steamer City of Toronto for a three-hour trip across Lake Ontario to Port Dalhousie.”

The Simcoe Street drill shed lasted into the 1870’s but it seems there was damage and it was replaced in 1877 by a newly built drill shed behind the City Hall, between Jarvis & Market Streets south of Front Street.

“Amongst the difficulties which the Battalion had to contend with at this time, not the least was that, the old drill shed on Simcoe street having been partially destroyed, the several companies were compelled to perform their drill in empty warehouses and halls.”

It was not until April 4th, 1877, that a new drill shed was provided. On that date, the new drill shed, in rear of the City Hall Buildings, erected at an expense of some $16,000 by the City Council and the Government, was opened and regular and systematic work made possible.”

[Pg 25 Historical Album]

1880-drill-shed-on-front2
Location of Drill shed on Front Street (Goad’s Atlas of Toronto 1880)
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Drill shed on Front Street (also shown at top of page) (City of Toronto Archives)

The Armouries on University Avenue, when completed in 1893, was the largest of its kind in North America. It was the longest to be used by the regiment so far, and was the starting point for thousands of Riflemen going to fight in South Africa, WWI, WWII and Korea.

the-armouries-1893-virtual-reference-library
University Avenue Armouries 1893 by R. C. Windeyer [Toronto reference library]
“Built in 1891, the Toronto Armouries officially opened on May 17, 1894. Its inauguration was celebrated by a military tournament featuring different regiments—the Queen’s Own Rifles, 48th Highlanders, Royal Regiment, Royal Dragoons Toronto, and the Governor General’s Body Guard. The building had massively thick walls that were faced with red bricks and bonded with red mortar to create a continuously smooth appearance. Built on a solid foundation of Kingston limestone, the same type of stone was used as trim around the smaller windows and the huge arched windows on the west facade. The trim on the top of the towers, which were mediaeval in appearance, were also detailed with limestone.

In the interior of the armouries was a great  drill hall measuring 280’ by 125’, with a ceiling that soared 72’ above the floor. The drill hall was sometimes used to host banquets and automobile, trade, and fashion shows. Included were offices for military staff, mess halls (dining areas), classrooms, and kit rooms (storage). In the basement there was a rifle range and a  bowling alley to provide recreation for the men.    

The Toronto armouries served as a training facility for troops that fought in the Boer War (1899-1902), the First World War (1914-1918), the Second World War (1939-1945), and the Korean Conflict. The Boer War was when Canadian troops first fought on foreign soil. During World War 11, because of the proximity of the armouries to Osgoode Hall, judges in the courtrooms complained that the gun salutes rattled the windows of their courtrooms causing them to fear for their safety.

However, by the 1950s, high-rise buildings increasingly dominated University Avenue. Despite efforts to preserve the armouries, the need for space to expand the law courts at Osgoode Hall was given priority. On the site today there are provincial courthouses and a historic plaque stating, “On this site stood the University Avenue Armouries, the home of famous Toronto Regiments of the Canadian Army and centre of Militia activities in Toronto from 1891 until it was demolished in 1963.”

[Doug Taylor, Historic Toronto]

1893-drill-shed-on-university-c
Location of the University Avenue Armoury (Goad’s Atlas of Toronto 1893)
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Queen’s Own departing University Armouries for WWI led by (then) LCol M. Mercer

Between the destruction of University Avenue Armoury and the completion of Moss Park Armoury at Queen and Jarvis the regiment was temporarily put up in an industrial building on Richmond Street near Jarvis. Not a purpose built armoury it is said to have had many support columns making drill difficult.

Moss Park Armoury is a large, purpose-built, multiple unit armoury shared by the Queen’s Own since it opened in 1966 with the 7th Toronto Regiment (Royal Canadian Artillery), the 48th Highlanders, and 25 Medical Company and originally 2 Toronto Service Bn and the Canadian Intelligence Corps. The building is equipped with an underground “Gun Park” (for vehicles, artillery pieces and maintenance), a large parade square, multiple offices for administration, lecture rooms and messes for the various different ranks to relax in on the second floor. As of writing (2017) the regiment still parades at Moss Park Armoury.

2011-moss-park-parade
Moss Park Armoury during a parade 2008

From 2006-2015 Buffs Company had been parading out of Dalton Armoury off of Milner avenue, between Markham Rd and McCowan in Scarborough.

 

Now Available in 103 Languages

Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve installed WordPress’ new Google Translate Widget, which allows you to instantly translate our website content into 103 languages currently supported by Google Translate. You can find the “Translate our Site” drop-down on the right side of all our pages, and just choose the language you want to read in.

We all know that Google Translate isn’t perfect but it has come a long way over the past few years and will certainly help make access to our content easier for those researchers and historians in other countries.

And a big thanks to WordPress for providing this new “widget”!

Culture Division Visits the Museum

photo 5 (2)On Wednesday May 25, the Culture Division of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport held their annual “division day” at Casa Loma. The Culture Division provides support to community museums in Ontario including administration of the Community Museums Operating Grant and Community Museum Standards.

There were various presentations throughout the morning but I was most excited to be able to present about The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada and in particular about our Regimental Museum! After my talk, the 96 public servants present were able to tour Casa Loma and most climbed to the third floor to check out our museum in person. I was also able to provide some behind the scenes curator access in our office/archives (and former bathroom) area.

It was a great opportunity to bring some of our regiment’s history to a broader audience who seemed to appreciate what I was able to share.

image1

Over a quarter million page views!

We’re very pleased to report that yesterday our museum’s website past the two hundred and fifty thousand page views since it was launched in February 2012!

Of course we’re excited in a geeky tech way but much more excited because it tells us a couple of things:

  • First it means the website is definitely helping us meet our mandate to “to encourage the study of Canadian military history and in particular the history of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, to rescue from oblivion the memories of its members, to obtain and preserve narratives in print, manuscript or otherwise of their travels, adventures, labours and observations, to secure and preserve objects illustrative of the civil, literary and military history of the Regiment, and to maintain a museum and a library.”
  • Second it tells us that people are using the site for reference and research – some of our most visited pages for example, are the 3rd Battalion CEF WWI War Diaries, and the QOR WWI War Diaries – all of which have been transcribed and made available online.
  • Lastly we know that the website has allowed us to connect with many relatives who have contacted us ask for or provide information about their ancestors, or – even more excitingly – to make donations of relevant artifacts because they have found us online.

A couple more interesting website statistics:

  • Those 250,000 pages views were made by over 81,000 unique visitors to our site
  • Those visitors came from over 156 countries and territories
  • Our site currently consists of 338 pages
  • 186 of those pages are biography profiles for individual QOR soldiers we’ve researched – and new pages are added regularly
  • This post is our 173rd – roughly 5 blog posts made every 6 weeks
  • We are constantly updating our timeline pages – there’s a lot of history to try to capture in 156 years!

I want to recognize the efforts of Mr. Joe Wyatt working on the timelines, Master Corporal Graham Humphrey on his WWII War Diary transcriptions and uniform posts, and Assistant Curator CWO (Ret) Shaun Kelly who has been recently helping to upload biography pages. It’s become very much a team effort!

So please look around the site, make sure you’re subscribed for email notifications for new blog posts, and let us know if there’s something you’d like to see included.  We’re even open to post guest blogs so let us know if you have something you’d like to share!!

Cheers and thanks for your support!

John
Curator

Timelines, timelines and more timelines

Our role as the Regimental Museum is to both capture and share the history of The Queen’s Own Rifles. Maintaining our physical exhibits at Casa Loma is a big part of how we share and hundreds of thousands of people come through out displays every year – many tourists from around the world. But realizing that many more people will never be able to visit our physical location, we felt it was important, like any other museum, to have an online presence and so we created this website in 2012. We followed that up with a Facebook Page, a Twitter account, and most recently our Flickr site for sharing our thousands of photographs.

Timelines

Part of our challenge with the website was how to best present historical information from 1860 to the present. We opted for timelines. Don’t get too excited – these aren’t fancy java scripted timelines with awesome graphics and pop up info boxes. They are just a chronological listing of activities and milestones for the regiment. Sometimes we can provide links to further information or biographies of those noted. Sometimes we have some relevant photos to add in as well just to keep it from getting too dry. J

So where do we get the material to include? Great question with some good news/bad news answers. Prior to 1960 we have a number of histories of the regiment to draw from including LCol W.T. Barnard’s great work produced in 1960: Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, 1860-1960: One Hundred Years of Canada. Pdf versions of this and earlier histories of the regiment can be found on our Research page. There is a lot more to add but we certainly have covered quite a bit about the first hundred years – for the most part on timelines divided into 25 year periods.

From 1960 to 1970 the Regiment produced an annual Powerhorn – essentially a yearbook which captured a wide range of activities of the two regular force and one reserve battalion, the regimental depot, the cadet corps, the association and the Black Net. We have a dedicated volunteer (he also does our “This Day in History” or OTHDIH post on Facebook and Twitter) plodding through these volumes and adding details to the appropriate timeline.

And of course more recently, Charles McGregor has published a history of the regiment since 1960 and we’re using this to help fill out our timelines as time and resources permit. In each case we try our best to reference our source for the information we add to the timelines.

But why haven’t you included X on a timeline?!

Unless it’s your birthday, odds are we’re happy to include info you might have on our timelines, but we just haven’t got to them in our research OR we just don’t know about them. In particular we would love to have more info to include for the late 1950s and from 1970 to present. Deployments, training exercises, jumps, graduations, special postings, etc. Ideally we’d want the exact dates (so we can use in our OTDIH posts) but we could also include if you just have the month and the year. We’re not looking for full-fledged stories or even paragraphs – just a one liner.

And don’t let the idea of “history” turn you off sending in more recent information – everything that has already happened is by default, part of our history, even it was just yesterday. And the sooner we capture it, the more accurately it will be recorded. Our only exception to this is to record operational deployments only when they are completed.

If you have items to share you can post a comment below or send an email to museum@qormuseum.org.

And if you haven’t has a chance to look yet, do check out the existing information on our timelines!

#GivingTuesday?

So it’s almost Tuesday. Hopefully you’ve survived the Black Friday crowds or maybe you opted to splurge online instead on Cyber Monday. Or maybe you didn’t partake in either but just got bombarded with promotional emails for the past week. But now we’d like to change the channel because December 1st is not just Tuesday, its #GivingTuesday!

What is GivingTuesday?

Imagine a day dedicated to giving back … around the world, across Canada and in your own community! Just as Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season for many people, GivingTuesday is the opening day of the giving season. GivingTuesday is a global day of giving. GivingTuesday is a time to celebrate and encourage activities that support charities and non profits. Whether it’s making a donation, volunteering time, helping a neighbour or spreading the word, GivingTuesday is a movement for everyone who wants to give something back.

And you’re telling me this because….?

Today and frankly until the end of the year, everyone is telling you they need you to give – Santa boxes for needy children, food banks need volunteers, and many local churches and charities are preparing to receive refugees in the coming weeks. And as passionate as I am about the work we do, I’m not asking that you make support for The Queen’s Own Rifles Regimental Museum a priority over these other urgent needs.

But some of you may be in a position where you can support more than one cause – be that with your money or your time. If you can make a financial donation great – it would go to help us with projects like digitizing 16mm films in our collection before they become unplayable; or to purchase new digital display products that can make our exhibits more engaging. You can donate on our GivingTuesday page to the Queen’s Own Rifles Trust which operates the museum – just type MUSEUM FUND in the online form Message box.

Some of you may be willing to give of your time as volunteers. We have a variety of opportunities. We generally gather at the museum most Thursday evenings from 1900 to 2200 hrs to work on very hands on projects from exhibits to hanging pictures to cleaning to cataloguing. But we also have volunteers who work remotely on research or transcribing or other tasks that don’t require your physical presence. If you’re interested in volunteering with us, check out our Volunteer page and complete an application.

What if I can’t do either at the moment – can I still help?

Giving-Tuesday-2015_250x250_greyYou can always become a social ambassador and share the word on Facebook, Twitter and Instragram about #givingTuesday – just make sure you use this hashtag.

Whatever the cause, we hope you’ll consider investing your time or financial resources or become a social ambassador on #GivingTuesday!

New Museum Committee Appointed

A new Regimental Museum Committee was appointed at the May 25, 2015 Annual General Meeting of the Regimental Trust Fund consisting of:

  • Lieutenant Colonel John Fotheringham (Chair)
  • Major Anthony I. W. Schultz (Member & Trust Fund President)
  • Captain Adam A. Hermant (Member & Trust Fund Past President)
  • Mr. Jim Lutz (Member)
  • Major John Stephens (Curator & Ex-Officio Member)
  • Chief Warrant Officer Shaun Kelly (Assistant Curator & Ex-Officio Member)

John Fotheringham has (uniquely) served as Commanding Officer of the QOR on two separate occasions. He has been responsible on behalf of the Trust, for initiating and updating QOR memorials throughout the world, a member of the Regimental Museum Committee and is also a Director of the Juno Beach Centre in Normandy. We look forward to his leadership in this new role.

We would also like to extend our thanks to outgoing Chair, Lieutenant Colonel Rob Zeidler who has served for a number of years, and in particular for his efforts during the transition between Curators, and the transition of Casa Loma operators from the Kiwanis Club of Toronto, to the City of Toronto, to the Liberty Entertainment Group. We wish Rob the best as he undertakes some new projects for the regimental family!

 

Volunteer Recognition Night

On February 26th we held our 2014 Volunteer Recognition event with a reception in the Library at the newly opened Royal Canadian Military Institute. Volunteers were joined by members of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Trust. As a small thank you each volunteer received a QOR pen (courtesy of HCol (Ret’d) Paul Hughes).

Special presentations were made to Capt (Ret’d) Larry Hicks and MCpl Graham Humphrey who each gave over 100 hours of very much appreciated service to the museum in 2014. In total, 78 volunteers provided over 1,000 hours of service last year!

We were also pleased to receive a tour of the new RCMI facility from Curator Gregory Loughton.

Bravo Zulu!

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Museum Report – December 2014

We are please to share this Museum update of activities and work that have taken place since May 2014 which was prepared for the December semi-annual Queen’s Own Rifles Trust meeting.

Casa Loma Operator

Committee Chair LCol Rob Zeidler and Curator Maj John Stephens met with the Liberty Leadership Team on September 4th 2014 to discuss our relationship at which time Liberty confirmed their financial and management support to upgrade our exhibits and that they had contracted exhibit design company KUBIK to develop our new exhibit design. Our museum team is also working on developing documentation to assist us when we meet with KUBIK that highlights key milestones and artifacts that help tell the regiment’s story.

First World War

On September 28, 2014 we co-sponsored a First World War Symposium with the 15th Battalion Memorial Association (48th Highlanders) at Moss Park Armoury which had 50+ in attendance to hear 4 eminent authors discuss the subject of recent books they had published. The event, organized by LCol Fotheringham, also had dealers present and included an excellent lunch prepared by the Officers’ Mess staff.

Collections

  • We continue to work with our volunteers to create detailed catalogue records. This process also includes a photograph of each artifact and for this we are very grateful to Capt (Ret) Larry Hicks’ efforts. We have now catalogued over 2,000 artifacts.
  • We are continuing to enter the catalogue records into our Museum Collections database with 860+ records entered to date.
  • Thanks to a generous donation we were able to contract two Masters of Museum Studies graduates who had been volunteering with us, to work for 16 days each doing cataloguing and data entry.
  • Significant donations over the past 6 months include a collection of weapons and bayonets directed to us by a former rifleman, and the WWII uniform of the late D-Day veteran Jim Wilkins.
  • We are please to have accepted the return of an unframed 21” x 42” 1882 composite photograph which has been with a photo conservator for surface cleaning, tear repair, stain reduction, adhesive stain reduction and overall stabilization – it looks amazing. The next step will be to have it re-framed to protect it in the future.

Exhibits

  • We were pleased to work with LCol John Fotheringham and the Juno Beach Centre to make a temporary loan of Rolph Jackson artifacts for exhibit during the Colonel-in-Chief’s visit to the centre during her 70th Anniversary of D-Day visit. You can read more about that in a previous blog post.
  • The WWII and Afghanistan exhibits have been moved from our previous exhibit room into the East end of the third floor hallway to accommodate Casa Loma staff office moves due to external renovations at the West end of the building. The D-Day painting remains secured in the new office space for the time being.
  • We are currently in the process of updating some of our exhibit and artifact labels to provide more context and as a test of our major renovation.
  • We worked with Liberty’s graphic designer to create a “popsicle” sign which identifies our museum space.
  • We completed the transcription of 12 WWI letters and 3 diaries of CSM Lawrence Pridham, QOR à 166th Bn à 4CMR and these have been posted on our website. We are also in the process of producing a book of the transcriptions which will include a preface by author, historian and educator Dr. Eric McGeer.
  • In the coming months we plan to design and produce a number of pop-up banners that can be used at the museum but also for travelling exhibits. These would have both photos and text covering various significant periods in the regiment’s history.
  • Starting in January we will begin filming veteran/soldier interviews. The filming and editing will be done by Rifleman Rich Colmer and his videography company partner. The goal is to post the finished products on our Youtube Channel and website.
  • In the year we will be meeting with Casa Loma to discuss the possibility of arranging for some travelling exhibits.
  • Lastly we’re exploring the possibility of an exhibit of the oil portraits from the Officer’s Mess reproduced as photos on canvas as an exhibit. These could later be used throughout the castle.

Events

Our third “Queen’s Own Rifles Day at Casa Loma” on was held on Saturday November 8th and has been deemed another successful event.  The QOR Band played three sets with a focus on First World War era music, 2881 cadets assisted with children’s activities, and a large number of re-enactors joined us this year with uniforms representing all periods for WWI to the present and 2 heritage vehicles. We once again appreciate the Commanding Officer LCol Sandi Banerjee’s support in providing 11 currently serving soldiers with various kit who helps share their stories and the MSVS parked in front of the castle was also hard to miss. While it didn’t happen this year, we have recce’d a site for a rappelling demo in 2015.

Volunteers

  • In 2014, 74 volunteers (excluding the curator) have provided over 1,000 hours of service to the museum in 2014: 3 have over 25 hrs, 2 has over 50 hrs, 2 have over 75 hrs and one has over 100 hrs of service. This includes detailed cleaning, cataloguing and photographing of artifacts; cleaning display cases; painting; and redoing exhibit cases. Volunteer are coming from serving soldiers of the regiment (over 50), from the association and from others outside the regimental family. Almost 2,000 hours since October 2012.
  • We’re currently making plans for our second volunteer appreciation sometime early in the 2015. But special thanks during this past 7 months to our most regular volunteers: Assistant Curator CWO (Ret’d) Shaun Kelly, Capt (Ret’d) Larry Hicks, MCpl Graham Humphrey, Cheryl Copson, Sarah Silvestri, Joe Wyatt, Cpl Justin Dremanis, Capt Alex Whittaker and CWO Scott Patterson.

Education, Networking and Administration

D-Day Rifleman

Here is a visual of what a Rifleman would have looked like on D-Day.

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Field Service Marching Order with respirator slung. Gas cape rolled on Belt. Veil camouflage around neck. Shell dressing under netting of helmet. Emergency rations in hip pocket.

A.V. Battle dress will be worn, patches, (Canada & QOR), sewn on, when other collected.

The A.V. Battle dress will be worn for a minimum of 48 hrs, as soon as possible. If any effects on body are noticed, they will be reported immediately.

HAVERSACK

  • Mess tins
  • Holdall (towel, soap, razor, etc.)
  • Knife, fork and spoon
  • 24 hour rations
  • Cardigan
  • Beret
  • Boot laces
  • 4 x 2
  • Cigarettes
  • Pair of socks
  • Brown mug

LARGE PACK

  • Leather jerkin
  • Boots (anklets if required)
  • Cap comforter
  • Towel
  • Boot brush, dubbin & polish
  • Canvas shoes
  • Shirt, Angola
  • Boot laces
  • Drawers, Celular
  • Writing kit
  • Vest, Summer
  • 3 pairs socks
  • Housewife
  • Cigarettes
  • Greatcoat packed on outside of pack, held on by kicking straps

Other

  • Respirator of Assault marching personnel only attached to pack.
  • G-1018 blanket, folded as for kit layout rolled in ground sheet, strongly lied and properly labelled. (This makes a roll about 2 ½ feet long.)
  • All packs, Haversacks, Greatcoats (inside belt), ground sheet, to be marked with Rank, Name, Number and Coy mark.
  • Assault troops are all that land on “D” day.
  • 1 suit of denim to be collected at a later date.
  • Serge suit for all assault personnel, both riding & marching, less those with coys, will be turned in when notified to coy stores. They will be marked as laid down. They will be returned after “D” day.
  • Serge suit for those on follow up vehicles will be put in their Blanket rolls.

Here are some Pre Invasion photos from our Archives:

May 1944 - QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 – QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 - QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 – QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 - QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 – QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 - QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 – QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 - QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 – QOR Museum’s Photo
Pioneer Cpl 1944 - QOR Museum’s Photo
Pioneer Cpl 1944 – QOR Museum’s Photo

To see the War Diaries for Pre and Invasion visit the link below

https://qormuseum.org/history/timeline-1925-1949/the-second-world-war/war-diaries-1944/

Cheers,

MCpl Graham Humphrey

Queen’s Own

A poem by Albert E Sleighs

O , listen to the bugle call that summons men to arms,
Their King and country need them at the front;
They leave the desk and factory, they leave the town and farms,
To face the foe and bear the battle’s brunt…
Queen’s Own, Queen’s Own,

Sure a finer lot of lads were never known
You’ve a bonnie lot of laddies,
You’ll be missed by Rose and Gladys,
When you’re fighting at the front, Queen’s Own.

They’ve made their wills and settled up, and counted every cost,
Though most of them to give had only life,
But they’ll give it, give freely and count it cheaply lost,
To help the Empire triumph in the strife,
Queen’s Own, Queen’s Own,

When you’re fighting in the cannon-roaring zone,
When you’re charging with the bayonet,
And the blood of foemen stain it,
Don’t forget the slaughtered babes, Queen’s Own.

Regimental Museum Committee as of May 14, 2014

We’re pleased to announce that at the Annual General meeting of the Regimental Trust Fund, held May 14, 2014, four members of the Regimental Museum Committee (shown in italics) were appointed or re-appointed for a 3 year term. The full committee membership is as follows:

Chair

  • Lieutenant Colonel Rob Zeidler (to 2017)

Members

  • Lieutenant Colonel John Fotheringham (to 2017)
  • Captain Adam Hermant (to 2017)
  • Mr. Jim Lutz (to 2015)
  • Major Anthony Schultz (Indefinite)
  • Major John Stephens (Curator)

Ex-Officio Members

Canada Celebrates International Museum Day

OTTAWA, Ontario, May 16, 2014 — Participating museums and art galleries across Canada will be participating in International Museum Day on Sunday, May 18. The Canadian Museums Association (CMA) is encouraging all Canadians to visit and support heritage, culture and arts institutions across the country this Victoria Day weekend to take part in this worldwide event.
The International Council of Museums (ICOM) organized the first International Museum Day (IMD) on May 18 in 1977. Held annually on that day ever since, IMD raises awareness about the importance and value museums bring to society. Participating sites are encouraged to register for free on the official IMD website to promote their special IMD programming, such as free admission and special events, but they can also plan and promote it independently. Contact museums and galleries near you to find out if they are participating.

This year’s IMD theme, “Museum collections make connections“, was chosen by ICOM to “remind us that museums are living institutions that help create bonds between visitors, generations and cultures around the world”.

John McAvity, executive director of the CMA, shares this vision. “The core of our collective identity is made up of the artefacts, artwork, archival materials and intangible culture that are found in our museums,” says McAvity. “Successfully creating a connection between visitors and collections is a powerful way to positively influence individuals, their community and their culture. This year’s IMD theme reminds us how important it is to preserve and provide access to our collections, so that future generations can benefit from them as much as we do.”

Every year, Canada’s 2,600 museums attract more than 59 million visitors as well as more than half of all international tourists who visit our country. With cultural and heritage institutions facing important fiscal challenges, they are often struggling with the costs of caring for, storing and retaining their collections. The CMA urges the public to support museums in an effort to preserve our rich heritage.

For more information on this year’s celebrations, visit the IMD website and follow the activity on Twitter using the hashtag #IMD2014.

New Queen’s Own Badge

The new badge for The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada which now includes the “The” has been officially posted in the Canada Gazette on March 22, 2014:

Le 22 mars 2014 Gazette du Canada Partie I 657
Bearings have been made, as entered in the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada (Volume, page):
Approval of the Badge of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, Toronto, Ontario, July 15, 2013 (Vol. VI, p. 248).
Approval of the Badge of the Combat Training Centre, Oromocto, New Brunswick, July 15, 2013 (Vol. VI, p. 251).
Approval of The Princess Royal’s Banner for the Royal Canadian Medical Service, Ottawa, Ontario, July 15, 2013 (Vol. VI, p. 264).
Confirmation of the Badge of the Canadian Forces Joint Operational Support Group, Kingston, Ontario, October 15, 2013 (Vol. VI, p. 273).
Approval of the Badge of the Canadian Forces Logistics Training Centre, Borden, Ontario, November 15, 2013 (Vol. VI,p. 280).
STEPHEN WALLACE
Herald Chancellor 

QOR of C Primary Badge Heraldic Painting Approved 15 July 2013QOR of C Primary Badge Explanation

Sports in the Regiment 1922-1923

As we kick off the 2014 Winter Olympics, we thought we’d share a few snippets of sports related regimental history.

The following is an excerpt from the 1922-1923 QOR Association Annual Report.

Sports in the Regiment

A phase of development in the life of every regiment that is, perhaps, one of the most essential to its success, and perhaps one of the most neglected, it in the world of sport. “Playing the game,” win or lose, must be inculcated in the mind of any who take a part, and this last devolves upon efficient leadership. It is such an ideal that the QOR has endeavoured to induce and maintain, that its part in the development of National life may not be confined to the discipline of the parade ground but to include self-discipline in the everyday life of its members. The Queen’s Own Rifles Athletic Association, therefore, became a reality on December 9th, 1922, and took over the work that had been carried on by Maj. F.H. Wood and his Committee through the difficult period of re-organization. The officers elected were: Hon. Pres. Col. A. E. Kirkpatrick; Pres., Capt. G.G. Emsley Raley, MC; Vice-Pres,. Sgt. L. Baker; Sec’y-Treas, Lieut. T. A. Laidlaw; Executive, Lieut. A. E. Williams, Lieut. A deL. Panet, CQMS G. Alexander, Sgt. J. A. Wilson.

Indoor baseball hockey and basketball were chosen as the sports for the Winder season, and on Jan. 4th, the Regimental Indoor Ball League opened…

Throughout the season matches have been played at the Armouries each Wednesday evening from 7:30 to 11:00 pm, one diamond being reserved from 9:30 to 11:00 pm for Cadets and members of companies and details not entered in the League. Hockey and baseball were innovations but the interest shown was encouraging to those on whom the work really fell. About 25 to 30 men turned out for hockey practice and games at Little Vic Rink and a team of league calibre was selected to form the nuclei of the 1923-24 teams; the season closed with a win of 11-3 over the crack B.A. Life aggregation. On Feb. 28 a well attended hockey and recruiting meeting was held at the Armouries and it was decided to enter the Regimental team in a Senior City league during the season of 1923-24 (see photo below. )

The Officers’ Baseball team is an organization apart for the Association but is an invaluable agent in training candidates: Capt. J.S. Beatty, Team Captain; Major H. Pepler, M.C. Manager; Capt. Ross Walker, Secy.-Treas.

1923-1924 QOR Hockey Team
1923-1924 QOR Hockey Team
198th Battalion, CEF Baseball Team Champions 5th Canadian Division Witley, England, August 1917
198th Battalion, CEF Baseball Team
Champions 5th Canadian Division Witley, England, August 1917
B Company 198th Battalion CEF Cross Country Team - 15th Brigade Champions (Click on the photos for team names)
B Company 198th Battalion CEF Cross Country Team – 15th Brigade Champions
(Click on the photos for team names)
198th Battalion Canadian Buffs, CEF Cross Country Team
198th Battalion Canadian Buffs, CEF Cross Country Team
QOR of C Officers Indoor Baseball Team  Garrison Champions - Eastern Canada 1965-36
QOR of C Officers Indoor Baseball Team
Garrison Champions – Eastern Canada 1935-36
The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada Baseball Team September 1945
The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Baseball Team September 1945
Canadian Army Champions and Canadian Armed Forces Champions
(click the photo to see team member names)

Warm wishes for the Holiday Season

Trust Fund Christmas Card 2013

National Philanthropy Day and Charitable Giving

“They who give have all the things.  They who withhold have nothing.”
(Hindu Proverb)

Did you know November 15 is National Philanthropy Day? 

NPD.Sig.Hor.ColorThis special day is set aside to recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy—and those people active in the philanthropic community—have made to our lives, our communities and our world.

What makes philanthropy so special is that no one is required to give of themselves. There are no national laws or regulations which mandate that you must volunteer or get involved. Philanthropy is so powerful and inspiring precisely because it is voluntary—that through the goodness of our hearts, through our need to connect, through our desire to see a better world, we come together to improve the quality of life for all people.

Through your generosity, billions of dollars and volunteer hours are given every year to countless nonprofits and charities around the world. Millions and millions of programs—from feeding the hungry and clothing the needy, curing the sick, saving the environment—happen every day because of you and your commitment to your favorite causes.

On National Philanthropy Day®, charities around the world thank you for your support. Your involvement—whether it’s mentoring, volunteering, giving, staffing an event or showing your support on social media—makes philanthropy possible, and makes National Philanthropy Day so special and meaningful.

Philanthropy and our Regimental Museum

In 2013 we’ve been very thankful for the many generous volunteers who have assisted us in a whole variety of ways at the Regimental Museum. So far this year we’ve seen 43 volunteers provide over 675 hours of service – from cataloging and photography to construction  and painting to exhibit planning and event support! And aside  from these recorded hours, are many many more where are supporters have helped connect with us and share our Museum and the history we tell, through their social media outlets.

Volunteers are really priceless but if we did chose to put a monetary value to their time and effort, even at minimum wage that amount would exceed our annual operating budget – and the year still has a month and a half to go!

We have also been the recipient of gifts in kind from four corporate donors in 2013:

  • The Hudson Bay Company (Flagship Store)- Mannequins
  • Benjamin Moore Paints – Paint
  • Pegasus Catering – Food vouchers
  • Vifloor Canada Ltd – Computers

The Museum’s operating funding (for day to day expenses), rent and  insurance is provided by the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Trust Fund – to which many of your already contribute financially. Together the Trust, our dedicated volunteers and generous corporate donors form a pretty formidable combination.

But we’d also ask you to consider a special financial donation, particularly in recognition of National Philanthropy Day, to help us move closer to creating a museum of the 21st century – one that will help us tell the very important story of our Regiment and our Rifleman in the most engaging and effective manner we can.

You can mail a cheque to (note your donation is for the Museum Fund:

QORofC Trust Fund
Box 250, Unit 12A
4981 Highway 7 East
Markham, ON L3R 1N1

You can also make a donation online via our Trust Fund’s CanadaHelps page (under Fund/Designation select “Museum Fund”.)

We are most grateful for both your volunteer and financial contributions.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
(Theodore Roosevelt)