Timeline: 1856-1899

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24 May – First public parade of new militia companies for inspection by the Governor General Sir Edmund Head [1]


A new militia act (22 Vic. Chap. 18,) was passed, its principal provision being that battalions of infantry and rifles should be organized wherever practicable. It was also provided that the volunteer militia force should drill for six consecutive days in each year, with pay at the rate of One Dollar per diem per man. [1]


26 April – Second Battalion Volunteer Militia Rifles of Canada (later to be named Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada) authorized by General Militia OrderLieutenant Colonel William Smith Durie of the Barrie Company appointed Commanding Officer [1] p42

24 May – Militia Force of No. 5 Military District of Upper Canada (except those stationed outside the County of York) will parade in brigades on Thursday, the 24th inst., in the field on the west of the Parliament Buildings, Toronto, at a quarter before noon, for the purpose of firing a “Feu-de-Joie” in honour of Her Majesty’s Birthday  [1] p43

26 May – The regimental staff was completed by the appointment of the Surgeon, James Thorburn, M.D, from the late No. 4 Independent Rifle Company of Toronto and Assistant Surgeon, Frank Bull, M.D. [1] p44

28 August – A Guard of Honor of 100 men to be taken in equal numbers from each Company of the 2nd Battalion Volunteer Rifles, Canada, under command of a Field Officer, with 1 Captain and 2 Subalterns, will receive His Royal Highness at the Railway Station in the usual manner [SC50.F6]

9 September – Regiment provided a Guard of Honour under Captain Fulton for his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales [1] p44

oliphant-alexander-m12 September – Regiment was reviewed by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, in the Queen’s Park. The companies present were Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4, the Barrie Company having been brought in for the occasion [1]  p44

Alexander M. Oliphant joins the regiment as Pipe Major serving until 1868 when the “Highland Company” decides to disband because they are not allowed to continue wearing their kilts.


24 May  – The battalion paraded on the field west of the Parliament Buildings and fired a feu-de-joie in honor of Her Majesty s birthday [1] p44

3 June – Trinity College Company (later to become QOR company No. 9) gazetted [2] p9

18 October – The Toronto companies, with the rest of the city brigade, were inspected by Lieutenant Colonel MacDougall [1] p44

8 November – The “Trent Affair” takes place


Civilian Adam Maul is appointed the first Bandmaster of the Queen’s Own Rifles’ Band.

3 January – The members of the 2nd Battalion Active Militia, including Nos. 2, 3, and 5 Rifles and the Highland Company mustered at the armoury last night and marched to Union Depot where the Northern Railway train was in waiting and conveyed them to the Crystal Palace for battalion drill. [The Globe 4 Jan]

21 February – Captain Latham’s Company of Volunteer Militia Rifles, Toronto is hereby incorporated with the 2nd Battalion Volunteer Militia Rifles Canada and will be styled the 7th Company of that Battalion [SC50.F8]

14 March – 2nd Merchant’s Company (later to become QOR company No. 5) and Civil Service Company (later to become QOR company No. 7) gazetted [2] p9

5 May – University Company (later to become QOR company No. 9) gazetted [2] p9

24 September – Governor General Lord Monck inspected the regiment on Spadina Avenue Commons. Major Brooke thrown from his horse and suffered broken leg [1] p48 [2] p8

21 November – Regiment reorganized: Barrie and Whitby Companies become independent and other Toronto companies added to make 10 in total [2] p8


14 March – Designation approved as “Queen’s Own Rifles of Toronto” [2] p9

25 May – “Mrs Draper, wife of the Chief Justice, on behalf of ladies, friends and relatives of the officers of the corps” present Lieutenant Colonel Durie with a splendid mace for the band at a parade at the Model School Grounds, unaware that rifle regiment bands don’t carry maces. It was carried on parade for a period of time before quietly being retired and is now displayed in the Officer’s Mess  at Moss Park Armouries in Toronto. The battalion then proceeded to Spadina Ave, where with the 30th Regiment Royal Artillery and the 10th Battalion Volunteer Militia, a “feu de joie” was fired and a review held by Major General Napier, CB. [1] p49

8 October – The Battalion was present and took part in the grand volunteer review on the Denison Common, at the head of Crookshank Lane at which 900 regulars and 3,200 volunteers were reviewed by Major General Lindsay. [1] p50


12 May – At an officers meeting it was Resolved “That the Officers
of the battalion provide themselves with Patrol Jackets and Forage Caps.” [1] p50

June – Drill Shed on Simcoe Street completed – Queen’s Own allotted south end [2] p10

21 October – Battalion orders contained the following : “Sergeant W. D. Otter and Corporal James Smith from No. 6 Company will rank as staff sergeants to the battalion till further orders.” [1] p51

About August – Nos. 6 and 8 Cos. became disorganized owing to neglect on the part of their respective Captains. [1] p51

24 December – In consequence of the “St. Albans Raid” from Canada, a force of three administrative battalions was ordered to the frontier to prevent a repetition of the same and to enforce neutrality. The Queen’s Own was ordered to find two companies, each 65 strong, to form a part of this force. These companies were
made up of volunteers from the several companies of the battalion, No. 1 Service Company being composed of men from Nos. 1, 2 and 3 companies, No. 2 Service Company, of men from the remaining companies and a few from No. 3. [1] p52

30 December – The Service Companies proceeded to Niagara (their
destination) via St. Catharines, under the following officers : No. 1. Company Captain, Jno. Brown; Lieutenant, W. D. Otter; Ensign.
Jas. Bennett.;  No. 2 Company, Captain C. T. Gillmor ; Lieutenant, W. D. Jarvis ; Ensign, W. Corbould ; Ensign and Act. Adjutant, Dixon.
Messrs. Jarvis and Corbould, though not at the time officers of the battalion, were appointed, owing to there not being sufficient officers able to go for so long a period. The companies proceeded by railway to St. Catharines, and from thence marched to Niagara, going into barracks on the day after their arrival. [1] p52

This photograph,shows the commons in 1865 with the Queen’s Own Rifles station in Niagara forming a square near Butler’s Barracks. In the background, is the Military Hospital. Photo courtesy of the Niagara Historical Society Museum


Francis Clarke is appointed Bugle Major, serving for the next 11 years.

28 April – The Service Companies returned from Niagara, after an absence of four months. [1] p53

1 May – Battalion orders contained the following: “Till further orders the men will parade with tunics and shakos. Sergeants will parade with their rifles. Officers in undress uniforms and forage caps, and
wearing their swords.” [1] p50

19 May –  the following order was issued:

  1. “The Commanding Officer calls the attention of the non-commissioned officers and men to the fact that the habit indulged in by some of them of wearing shirt collars on parade has the effect of giving them anything but a soldier like appearance and trusts that for the credit of the battalion the practice will in future be discontinued. Stocks of patent leather or other black material suitable for the purpose should invariably be worn when tunics are used. Or, in case the collar of the tunic should not admit of the stock being worn under it, a piece of black leather should be sewn on the underside of the front part of the collar, so as to cover the opening in the front of the throat. But in no case shall any shirt collar be worn.”
  2. “The commanding officer expects that all officers of the battalion who have not yet done so will provide themselves as soon as possible with the proper regulation patrol jacket ; forage caps should be worn by officers when in undress uniform, but not when tunics are worn”;
  3. “Captains and officers commanding companies will do all in their power towards having the hair of the men of their respective companies neatly and properly cut”
  4. “The proper regulation chevrons for the non-commissioned officers of the Q. O. R. are as follows, and will be worn on both arms : For corporals, two black stripes on a red ground ; for sergeants, three black stripes on a red ground ; for color-sergeants, the colors worked in gold with one gold stripe beneath on the right arm, and three black stripes similar to those worn by sergeants on the left arm ; for staff-sergeants, three gold stripes. The quarter-master-sergeant will wear four gold stripes. The sergeant-major will wear four gold stripes with a crown on each arm” [1] pp51-52

4 August – Regimental orders read as follows: “Lieutenant Otter will
act as adjutant of the battalion until further orders.” [1] p53

25 August – General orders: “2nd Battalion, Q.O.R., Toronto, to be Adjutant, Lieutenant \V. 1). Otter, vice Dixon promoted” [1] p53

2 November  – In consequence of Fenian alarms, a guard for the protection of t he drill shed against fire, etc., was ordered to be furnished by the Queen s Own and 10th Battalion, on alternate nights, mounting at 8 p.m., and dismounting at 5 a.m., and to consist of one sergeant, one corporal and six privates ; No. 2 Company, Queen s Own, finding the first guard on this evening. [1] pp53-54

10 November – Brigade Orders contained the following : “The Commandant is directed by the Adjutant-General of Militia to request Lieutenant-Colonel Durie and Lieutenant-Colonel Brunei to convey to the officers and men of their respective commands his thanks for the good spirit they have shown in furnishing a guard over the arms, and in the drill shed.” [1] p54

15 November – Major Charles T. Gillmor replaces Durie as Commanding Officer [2] p343

15 November – a night attack being anticipated, a piquet of thirty men was told off from the battalion, under Captain Jarvis, with Lieutenant Morison and Ensign Campbell, as subalterns. Nothing occurred, however. [1] p54

20 November – Owing to repeated alarms and threats of a Fenian invasion, the Government decided on sending a force of volunteers to the frontier, and the Queen s Own was ordered to find a company, 65 strong, for the service. On this day the service company left at 7 a.m. for Sarnia, [1] p54

27 November – Lieutenant-Colonel Durie being appointed Assistant
Adjutant-General, and Major Smith, waiving his claim, Major Gillmor was placed in command until further orders. [1] p54

About the end of the year No. 3 Company, owing to the illness of Captain Patterson, became disorganized. [1] p54


Civilian Henry F. Chalaupka replaces Adam Maul as Bandmaster

24 January – No. 8 Company paraded for the first time since re-organization. [1] p54

24 January  – General Orders: “the formation of a volunteer company at Toronto, to be attached to the 2nd Battalion Queen’s Own Rifles and to be called the Upper Canada College Rifle Company, is hereby authorized.” Officers/instructors were:

  • Captain (temporary) Frank C. Draper, Military School and No 6 Company, 2nd Battalion Queens Own Rifles
  • Lieutenant (temporary) V. E. Fuller, Gentleman, Military School
  • Ensign (temporary) M. Wilson, Gentleman, Military School [1] p54

30 January – The battalion was ordered to be in readiness for service in consequence of Fenian alarms. [1] p56

7 March – The militia was put on a heightened state of readiness and at 10:00 am the Queen’s Own were called to active service, in anticipation of a St. Patrick’s Day attack. They stayed on active duty for three weeks until the threat of invasion subsided. This was the beginning of the Fenian Raids. [2] p15

7 March – 11 p.m. the battalion received orders to parade for active service at once. Officers and men were warned during the night, and at 10 a.m. of the 8th inst. the battalion paraded in the drill shed 417 strong. Orders were then issued to parade in the shed daily at 10 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. for drill. The cause of this sudden alarm was the receipt of news strengthening the belief in a threatened Fenian Raid. [1] p56

8 March – Battalion Orders: “2nd Battalion Queen s Own Rifles, Toronto, Lieutenant and Adjutant W. D. Otter to have the rank of Captain to date from the 8th of March, 1866” [1] p59

10 March – Major General Napier, CB in charge of the forces of Canada West, inspected the regiment [2] p15

17 March  – On St. Patrick s Day, trouble being expected on account of the Hibernian Society s procession, the battalion was kept under arms in the drill shed with the both and provisional battalions from 10 a.m. to 4.50 p.m.  At this parade the muster of the Queen’s Own was thirty-nine officers and 666 non-commissioned officers and men, inclusive of the service company at Sarnia, and the Upper Canada College Company attached. By virtue of a Brigade Order of the previous day, the Mayor of the City of Toronto was authorized and permitted to swear in 100 men belonging to the volunteer militia force then serving in the City of Toronto as special constables. These men were not required to attend parade on St.
Patrick s Day, but remained off duty on this service. [1] p57

17 March – Garrison Order reads as follows: “No. 1. Private C. Foster, No. 8 Company, 2nd Battalion, will continue to act as clerk in the Brigade Office with the rank of staff-sergeant, and private Alex. Robertson, of No. 9 Company, 2nd Battalion, will continue to act as clerk to the Assistant Adjutant-General and the Commandant, with the rank of staff-sergeant, their rank to commence from the 8th inst., when they entered upon their duties.” [1] pp57-58

27 March – The strength of the battalion was reduced to 500 under pay, i.e., fifty men per company, including the men at Sarnia. [1] p58

31 March – The whole volunteer militia force serving in Toronto was relieved from active service. The force was paid up to the 31st  inclusive. [1] p58

31  March – The evening parades were discontinued, and instead of them the battalion was to drill two days per week, forenoon and afternoon, alternately, one of such days to be a field day. Officers were to receive pay without allowances. Non-commissioned officers and men 500. per drill. The full strength, (650) had to be accounted for. [1] pp58-59

April 4 – The service company returned from Sarnia to the number of 39 men, under Lieutenant Morison, the remaining 26 men being transferred to the provisional battalion at Sarnia under Captain Jarvis and Ensign Campbell. [1] p59

25 April – A concert was given in the Music Hall under the auspices of the Battalion, in aid of the “Fund for the relief of the men on Service” and proved successful, the sum of $360.00 being realized. [1] p59

24 May – There was a parade in honor of Her Majesty’s Birthday. Previous to leaving the shed, Major Gillmor, on behalf of the officers of the battalion, presented Captain Otter with a splendid charger with appointments, as a mark of their esteem and appreciation of his zeal in the service of the corps. The battalion then proceeded to the Denison Common north of St. Stephen’s Church, and, brigaded with the Royal Artillery, Her Majesty s 47th Foot, Volunteer Cavalry and Artillery, 10th Battalion and Naval Brigade, under Major-General Napier, C.B., fired a feu-de-joie, and marched past. Before marching home, the Major-General informed the Volunteer Corps that they were this day relieved from duty and that pay would cease.[1] p59

24 May – In the evening, a concert was given in the drill shed to the Toronto Volunteers, at which the bands of the 47th, Queen s Own and 10th Royals, Mrs. J. B. Robinson and a chorus of some 300 children assisted. Five thousand people were present. [1] p59

31 May – At 6 pm Major Gillmor receives an order to proceed the next day with 400 men to Port Colborne [2] p17

For more information on the Regiments commitments to the Fenian invasion visit here.

1 June – General Order No. 1 placed eleven companies of the Queen’s Own Rifles on active service. The eleventh company was the Upper Canada College Rifle Company and the boys immediately went on sentry duty at vulnerable points in the city [2] p13

1 June – At 4 am the regiment parades with 356 men and traveled on the steamer City of Toronto for Port Dalhousie, followed by rail to Port Colborne arriving at 1 pm where they were joined by the 13th Battalion (now the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry), the York Rifle Company and the Caledonia Rifle Company [2] p17


2 June – First time the Queen’s Own Rifles is in combat is at the Battle of Ridgeway (or Limeridge as it is also known). Casualties: 9 killed in action, 21 wounded (see June 11)

5 June – At 1.30 am, the Queen’s Own and the York and Caledonia Rifles were quietly aroused and ordered to strike tents, parade, and entrain on cars which were in waiting to convey them to Stratford. The work of packing up was quickly accomplished, and at 6 o ‘clock the train left Fort Erie for its destination, the troops being accompanied by Col. Garnet S. Wolseley, A.Q.M.G., of Her Majesty’s Forces. They arrived at Stratford at 5 p.m., and were immediately billetted among the citizens. At this time it was feared that the Fenians contemplated an attack on the frontier of the western portion of the Province, and it was deemed advisable to have a sufficient force mustered at a convenient point, to be available in case of emergency. The force collected at Stratford consisted of Capt. Gore’s Battery of Royal Artillery, two companies of H. M. 16th Regiment, the Queen’s Own and the York and Caledonia Rifles, the whole being under command of Col. Wolseley. [Troublous Times in Canada: A History of the Fenian Raids of 1866 and 1870]

5 June – Ensign McEachren, Corporal Defries and Riflemen Smith, Alderson and Tempest were interred in St James Cemetery, Toronto with full military honours. All the church bells in the city tolled in mourning [2] p24

On Tuesday afternoon, June 5th, the bodies of Ensign McEachren, Corporal Defries and Privates Smith, Alderson and Tempest were interred in St, James’ Cemetery, Toronto, with full military honors. It was a public funeral, and one of the most solemn and imposing corteges that ever passed through the streets of Toronto. The bodies of the five dead heroes were placed upon a catafalque which had been specially prepared to convey the remains to their last resting places, and at 3.50 p.m. the procession started from the Drill Shed to the Cemetery, preceded by the Band of the 47th Regiment, playing the Dead March. The Lloydtown Rifle Company acted as the firing party, and the cortege included all the military units in the city, besides fraternal societies, the Mayor and Corporation. Major-Gen. Napier and staff, and citizens on foot and in carriages. All along the line of march the shops were closed and buildings draped in mourning. An immense concourse of people lined the streets, and a general feeling of mournfulness and sadness pervaded the community as the procession moved slowly on to the solemn strains of the band and the tolling of all the bells in the city. After the service at the Cemetery had been concluded, the usual volleys were fired over the remains by the Lloydtown Rifles, and all that was mortal of those five heroes who had sacrificed their lives on the field of battle for their country were laid away to eternal rest.  [Troublous Times in Canada: A History of the Fenian Raids of 1866 and 1870]

5 June – Rifleman McKenzie is buried in Woodstock and Rifleman Mewburn in Stamford [2] p24

9 June – “On the 9th of June Sergt. Hugh Matheson, of No. 2 Company, Queen’s Own Rifles, died in the hospital at St. Catharines, from wounds received at Ridgeway, and on the 11th Corporal F. Lackey, of the same company, died in Toronto, from the effects of a cruel wound in the upper jaw, received in the same battle. The remains of these two soldiers were also given a public funeral, as large and imposing as had been accorded to their dead comrades a week previously. At St. James’ Cemetery the same service took place as at the previous funerals, Rev. Mr. Grasett reading the burial service of the Church of England, after which the Upper Canada College Company of the Queen’s Own fired the customary volleys over the remains, which were then placed in the vault of the Cemetery Chapel.   [Troublous Times in Canada: A History of the Fenian Raids of 1866 and 1870]

11 June  – Sergeant Hugh Matheson and Corporal William Lakey died of wounds sustained on June 2nd [1] p63

18 June – The regiment remained in Stratford until the 18th. being in billets during that time. Besides the Queen s Own, Captain Gore’s Battery of Royal Artillery and two companies of H.M. 16th Foot, were stationed there, the garrison being under command of Colonel Wolseley for a week, and then under Major Bancroft of the 16th. We drilled regularly twice a day, and found a piquet of one company each night for the battery at the railway station. On arriving- at Toronto we were received by thousands of people, notwithstanding that a heavy rain was falling. We were met by Major-General Napier, C. B., commanding the district, and a deputation of citizens, and publicly thanked for our services. We were then relieved from duty. Our strength on returning to Toronto was 725, officers and men, including the York and Caledonia Companies who accompanied us. [1] p65

Taylor 1866 7 June Stratford(contrast)

18 June – The officers of the QOR gave a supper at the Queen’s Hotel to the officers of the York and Caledonia Companies, previous to their leaving for home, which they did on the 21st, the Queen’s Own Band playing them off. [1] p68

27 June – Regimental parades were resumed, with a march out. [1] p68

25 July – Was a public holiday in honor of the Toronto volunteers, when a dinner was given to the whole force in the Crystal Palace, and an address presented by the Mayor on behalf of the citizens. {1] p68

25 August – The 500 strong regiment moves to Thorold via the steamer “City of Toronto” to Port Dalhousie and then marching to the camp, for eight days of instruction drilling three times per day and two field days. This was in lieu of the ordinary eight days drill and the men received $1.00 per day and rations – officers full pay. [1] p69

14 September – Lieutentant-Colonel Durie resigned the command, and was succeeded by Major Gillmor, whose rank of Lieutenant-Colonel was antedated to June 1st. [1] p70

8 October – The gold chevrons, worn by Staff Sergeant, were abolished by battalion orders. Chevrons of black braid on a red ground, as at present worn, were substituted. [1] p 70

22 October – At a meeting of officers, it was resolved that the winter uniform, then worn, (frock coat and gray fur, etc.) be changed to a black cloth patrol jacket, trimmed with black fur, black fur cap, dress trousers and short leggings. [1] p 70

14 November – Weekly drills were resumed with a muster of about 180 officers and men, which each week grew smaller, until December 18th, when drill ceased. The small attendance at drill was caused by the battalion having already put in the annual drill, at Thorold instead of at home. Immediately on returning from the
camp, numbers gave the necessary six months notice, previous to leaving the force, as their business engagements, or their employers, would not permit them to remain longer in the militia, owing to the demands on their time for drill. [1] p71


Civilian R. W. Robinson replaces Henry F. Chalaupka as Bandmaster

February – Corporal Jonathan Conner of No. 1 Company and private Arthur Reed of No. 8 Company, died of diseases contracted on service and were buried by their companies. [1] p71

21 February – The old Enfield rifles and bayonets were returned to provincial stores at Toronto, previous to the issue of Spencer repeating rifles, 600 of which were received by the battalion on February 26th. On the last mentioned date a district order explained that as the issue of the Spencer rifles was only a temporary measure, pending receipt of breech-loaders, the Imperial Government would not sanction the marking of the arms. [1] p71

2 March – Jonathon Robins of No. 6 Company, died of disease contracted on service and was buried by his company. [1] p71

6 March – Spencer rifles were issued to companies, and the men instructed in their use. [1] p71

15 March – Another Fenian Raid being anticipated, the Regiment was ordered to parade on three evenings each week. Two men per company were ordered, the same date, to attend at the Garrison Common for Target practice, at 2 p.m. each day until further orders. [1] p71

26 March – The necessity for the Queen s Own being held in readiness for active service having ceased, the extra drills were discontinued, and the regiment ordered to parade in future on Wednesdays only. [1] p71

27 March – The regiment inspected by Major-General Stisted, CB. Thirty-four officers and 439 Non-Commissioned Officers and men were present, and the battalion  was highly complimented by the General [1] p71

1 April – At an officers meeting, it was decided that a rolling collar on the patrol jacket replace the standing one previously worn, and that the facings on the collar of the same be discarded, also that the double stripe on the trousers of the officers be changed to a single two-inch stripe of mohair braid. The officer commanding afterwards decided that the scarlet facing on the cuff of the jacket should not be worn in future. [1] p72

April 10 – The battalion went into summer uniform. The tunics of the non-commissioned officers and men were improved in appearance by the addition of a shoulder strap marked with the since familiar “Q.O.R.” [1] p72

1 May –  Cloth forage caps were provided for the sergeants and band, and by a regimental order, the field officers and adjutant were ordered to dispense with the peaks on their forage caps. [1] p72

10 May – A memorial from the officers asking to be allowed to dispense with the peaks on all forage caps, being presented to the officer commanding, their request was granted. [1] p72

14 June – General Orders stated that arrangements had been made for the exchange of the Spencer rifles for Snider Enfield breech-loading rifles. [1] p72

1 July – Confederation of the Dominion of Canada. There was a parade with the 13th Hussars, Royal Artillery, 17th Foot, 4th Battalion, G.G. B.G., 10th Battalion and Volunteer Field Battery on Denison Common to celebrate the first Dominion Day. [1] p72

9 October – Drill commenced for the year 1867-68 (weekly)  when the long Snider- Enfield rifles received the preceding month were issued. [1] p72

19 October – Corporal T. E. Lockie dies of disease attributed to the Battle of Ridgeway and is buried in the Necropolis Cemetery.

5 November – The regiment lined the streets on the occasion of the late Bishop Strachan’s funeral, about ten officers being in the cortege. [1] p72

8 November – R. W. Robinson, late of H.M. 16th Regiment, was appointed Band Master. [1] p72

18 December – Drill was ordered to cease until January 22, 1868. [1] p72

27 December – Upon the occasion of the opening of the first provincial parliament of Ontario by the Lieutenant-Governor, Major-General Henry W. Stisted, there was more than usual ceremonial to signalize the inauguration of the new order of things in provincial politics. There were no less than three guards of honor furnished by the Queen’s Own, the 10th Royals and the Grand Trunk Battalion. The guard of the Queen’s Own was stationed at the Governor s residence at the corner of Portland and Front Streets, where it remained until the return of His Honor from the House. [1] p72


24 September – General Order No. 1: “Every volunteer corps duly authorized previously to and existing on the day on which this act shall come into force, including the officers commissioned thereto, shall for the purpose of this act be held to be existing, and shall be continued as such, subject to the provisions of this act, and within three months after the day on which this act shall come into force, all such corps shall be mustered by their captains or commanding officers, the provisions of this act shall be read and explained to them, and such of the men as have not previously given notice of their desire to be discharged shall take the oath hereinafter prescribed, and be re-enrolled as volunteer militia, and each man shall sign a muster roll;…”  The Queen’s Own was amongst the first regiments to re-enroll under the new act. (see Nominal Roll book – 1868 bookmark) [1] p74

1 October – The Highland Company chooses to disband because they will no longer be allowed to wear their kilts and highland accoutrements.


February – General Orders during February, 1869, announced that the Queen’s Own, having complied with the provisions of the Dominion Militia Act, were continued in existence under the new Act. [1] p75

5 March – A district order provided that all the companies of volunteer militia, which had been gazetted, would be permitted to recruit up to 55 non-commissioned officers and men, but not beyond that number unless under special circumstances. Regimental Orders a few days later included the following: “With regard to the district memo, of the 5th inst., permission has been granted to the regiment to recruit the several companies to 65 non-commissioned officers and men.” [1] p75

April 7 – At the annual pay muster, the parade was 376 officers and men. [1] p76

May 24 – Regimental orders contained the following: “No. 1. Captain and Adjutant Otter will act as Major, retaining the appointment of drill instructor, and Captain Jarvis will act as Adjutant until further orders.” [1] p76

June – No. 6 Company became disorganized and was disbanded, the remaining men being transferred to other companies. [1] p76

2 October – His Royal Highness, Prince Arthur (now Duke of Connaught), who was quartered in Montreal with his regiment, the First Battalion of the Rifle Brigade, Lord Alexander Russell commanding, visited Toronto, leaving on the 6th. The day of His Royal Highness arrival, the Queen s Own furnished a guard of honor at the City Hall, one field officer (Major Brown) and two companies, the remainder of the regiment being detailed in keeping sufficient ground clear in front of the City Hall on the arrival of H. E. the Governor-General and H.R. H. Prince Arthur.[1] p76

9th October – Because of another Fenian Scare, a District Order was issued warning – all officers commanding battalions of volunteer militia in the Brigade District to hold their battalions in readiness to turn out for active service at short notice. The men were instructed to take home their rifles and accoutrements, and the regiment was ordered to mount one sergeant and three men as a guard over the magazine in the Toronto drill shed, to be relieved in turn by a guard furnished by the 10th Battalion.  [1] p76

12 October – A district order provided that regiments might be mustered for evening parade, but the order was to be carried out without causing alarm. [1] p76


12 January – The guards order in October 1869 were withdrawn. [1] p76

17 April – The Militia Department wired for the names of five officers of the Queen’s Own Rifles who would be willing to join the expedition. Captains Bennett and Harman and Ensigns Shaw and Crocker at once volunteered, and their names were sent to Ottawa. Nothing further was heard until April 22nd, when the following memo, was received from the Brigade office: “I am instructed to obtain the services of six men from the 2nd Battalion Queen’s Own Rifles, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Gillmor, who will voluntarily enlist into the force about to be formed for Red River service. Rate of pay: Color Sergeants $15 per month, Sergeants $15 per month, Corporals and Buglers $13 per month, Privates $12 per month. The men are required to be between the ages of 15 and 45, and of good character, who will engage for one year certain, and two if required, each man to be subject to medical examination.”

Of the officers who volunteered one, Captain Harman, was appointed Lieutenant in the First Ontario Rifles. Ensign Hugh John Macdonald was appointed Ensign in the same battalion. Twelve men of the regiment were permitted to enlist in the service battalion. [1] pp76-77

Battle of Ridgeway Memorial, Toronto. Photograph by J. Gray (2009)

For more information on the Red River Rebellion

1 July – The Governor General, Sir John Young, unveils the Volunteer Memorial in Queen’s Park [1] p78


6-21 June – The battalion, 420 strong, formed part of the brigade camp at Niagara. There was a force of 5,000 men in this camp, which was under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Durie. Just before going into camp, Glengarry caps were issued in place of forage caps. [1] p78

September – Largely through the exertions of Lieutenant-Colonel Skinner, a team of Ontario riflemen proceeded to Wimbleton (England) under command of that officer, to represent Canada at the annual prize meeting of the National Rifle Association. Five members of the Queen s Own Rifles, Ensign J. Burch, Sergeant A. A. Macdonald, Private Dr. Oronhyatekha, Private Sache and Private W. T. Jennings, were on this team. [1] p78

October – Eight Rifleman sent as reinforcements for the Red River Expedition.


May – Fife and drum band organized.

22 May – Permission was given to raise a new No 10 Company, which was raised largely through the exertions of Major Cherriman, was fimiliarly known as the University Company. The subalterns were Messrs. Vander Smissen and Langton, and the company had been thoroughly organized some time before gazetted on the strength.

12-27 June – The battalion, 543 strong, was again in camp with the brigade at Niagara.


Major Otter was selected to be the Second in Command of the Dominions Wimbledon shooting team.

Brass band unfortunately disbands this year. Regiment depending solely on the fife and drum band for music.


Lieutenant Colonel Gilmore commanded the Wimbledon team.

September – Members of the regiment attended the unveiling of a tablet in the Ridgeway Methodist Church in memory of the heroes of 1866.

December – Brass band was reorganized; a new set of instruments were imported from England. Mr. Carey who held a similar position in the Old Royal Canadian Rifles, was appointed as Bandmaster.


28 May  – Lieutenant Colonel William D. Otter replaces Gillmor as Commanding Officer [2] p343

2 October – The Regiment was called out on a city corps aid of civil powers.

For more information on the Pilgrimage Riots

During 1875, F (No. 6) Company became disorganized and a new company was recruited by Lieutenant R.B. Hamilton from members of the Toronto Lacrosse Club.


Charles Swift becomes Bugles Major, a position he will hold for the next 47 years!

2 November – Henry Pellatt enlists as a Rifleman in the Queen’s Own Rifles


New Years day – Eight companies of the regiment were ordered out on active service. There had been trouble for some days between the Grand Truck Railway and its employees in Belleville.

For more information on the Belleville Riots

19 January – Captain Lawrence Buchan made Adjutant, S.M. Jarvis promoted to Major.

February – B Company reorganized and recrutied from the Sons of England by Captain Strange.

March – I Company was reorganized and recruited by Lieutenant Fred H. Wright from among students of the Toronto School of Medicine.

4 April  – A new armoury is open at Jarvis and Front Street

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]

Jarvis St Armoury, Toronto – opened 4 April 1877

July – Smart rifle busbys adopted as full dress head dress of the regiment. A complete new issue of clothing was made during the autumn.

17 November – Annual Inspection of the Queen’s Own Rifles by Lieutenant-General Sir Edward Selby Smythe who highly complimented the regiment.

Toronto inspection of the Queen’s Own Rifles by Lieutenant-General Sir Edward Selby Smythe, December 8, 1877. From a sketch by W. A. Cruickshank and published in the Canadian Illustrated News, Vol.XVI, No. 23, 360; Library and Archives Canada


7 February – Cap Badge and Crossbelt ornaments gazetted.

14 March – Crossbelt ornaments for Sergeants gazetted.

27 April – Company drill competition on the lacrosse grounds. Winner F Company.

24 May – The Regiment participated in the Queen’s Birthday review in Montreal.


24 May – The Regiment, 531 strong, went to Montreal for the Queen’s Birthday review again.


31 March – New Regimental Standing Orders written

May – Battalion was in a three day camp at Niagara.


21-25 May – Regiment went to Brantford on invitation of the Dufferin Rifles for the Queen’s Birthday. The regiment was 373 strong.

12 November – Annual inspection took place, the Signal platoon and Ambulance platoon paraded for the first time.


Field service forage cap replaced the Glengarry as the undress head-dress.

13 January – “of Canada’ authorized to be substituted for “of Toronto” in the additional designation of this battalion. The battalion will therefore in future be designated “The 2nd Battalion Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada.

May – Battalion went to Kingston.


21 December – Lieutenant Colonel Albert A. Miller replaces Otter as Commanding Officer [2] p343

May – Regiment travels to London, Ontario for the Queen’s Birthday.

21 December Lieutenant Colonel Albert A. Miller replaces Lieutenant Colonel Otter as Commanding Officer. LCol Otter then assumes command of the School of Infantry, established at the New Fort in connection with the “Infantry School Corps.”


May – Battalion travels to Brantford for the Queen’s Birthday again.

1 July – Big military parade in Toronto to celebrate the semi-centennial of Toronto.


20 March – Regiment ordered to parade at the drill shed. 250 men were required from Toronto’s Regiments.

30 March – 250 Riflemen board train for the West to take part in the North West Rebellion

2 May – Battle of Cut knife Creek.

24 May – Regiment traveled to Orillia  for three day camp and Queen’s Birthday.

23 July – North West Field force arrives back in Toronto.


13 May – The city’s Regiments paraded at Queen’s Park, Medals were awarded for the campaign were presented to the members of the Queen’s Own who had been on active service in the Northwest. Presentations was conducted by Lady Middleton.


4 February – Lieutenant Colonel D. H. Allen replaces Otter as Commanding Officer [2] p343


30 August – Lieutenant Colonel R. B. Hamilton replaces D. H. Allen as Commanding Officer [2] p344


30 May – Regiment paraded in review order to be inspected by Major General HRH the Duke of Conneaught on his way home to England at the expiration of his command in India.


The University Armouries are completed and the Queen’s Own Rifles moves in, staying until 1963.

The Regiment wins the Gzwoski Challenge Cup for General Efficiency.


18 May – QOR move to Owen Sounds Camp for training.

Rgt Orders for May 18th, 1892 Owen Sound
Rgt Orders for May 18th, 1892 Owen Sound – QOR Museum
QOR Owen Sound 1892
Some of the QOR contingent Owen Sound Camp 1892 – QOR Museum
IMG_7847 - Version 2
Officers of the Queens Own at Owen Sound – QOR Museum

Under Colour-Sergeant J.J. Langton, a Bicycle corps was organized consisting of two Sergeants and twenty men.


The Regiment wins the Gzwoski Challenge Cup for General Efficiency.


26 March – New Regimental Standing Orders written

13 May – Regiment paraded with the other local corps for divine service in the Pavilion, there were 738 all ranks on parade. That was the largest muster in the history of the regiment to that time.


7 March – The regiment paraded for the last time in the Drill Shed behind the St Lawrence Market. From there, with drums beating and horns sounding, The Queen’s Own Rifles marched to its new home on University Avenue.


26 March – Lieutenant Colonel J. M. Delamere replaces Hamilton as Commanding Officer [2] p344

14 April – QOR complete issue of Lee Enfield rifles:

From Toronto Globe and Mail, 15 April 1897
From Toronto Globe and Mail, 15 April 1897


Major H.M. Pellatt, Sergeant MacKenzie, Private Rowland, Private Jackson and Sergeant McCausland received the appointment of Quartermaster Sergeant for the contingent all travel to England for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Regiment 519 strong paraded for the Jubilee review in Toronto the commander of the brigade being LtCol Otter.

1 October – The Reverend G.E. Lloyd appointed Honorary Chaplain [Canada Gazette – Militia Orders 1898]

24 November – The Regiment was inspected by Governor General the Earl of Aberdeen and Major General Gascoigne.


The Regiment wins the Gzwoski Challenge Cup for General Efficiency.


Survivors of the Fenian Raids of 1866 and 1870 are finally recognized by the bestowal of a General Service Medal [2] p25

General Service Medal with “Fenian Raids 1866” clasp

October – Recruiting started for the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry for service in the Boer War. For more information click: Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry in South Africa

25 October – Regiment paraded to participate in the send off of the first contingent to the Boer war.

10 December – A bronze memorial plaque, dedicated to the casualties of the Battleford Column of the  North West Field Force of 1885, was unveiled in the University Avenue Armouries by the Governor General at a special regimental parade [It was subsequently moved and remounted in Moss Park Armoury after 1963.]  [2] pg 66

See also:


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