Captain Michael L. Holland, CD was born in Montreal but moved to Toronto at a very early age and grew up in the Beaches area.
In the fall of 1953, at the age of 13 years and while attending Danforth Technical School, a friend invited him to go to the University Avenue Armoury, where they could drink beer. Mike went, fell into the clutches of Company Sergeant Major Ray Scrutton, and was told that he was now in Dog (Cadet) Company of the Queen’s Own Rifles and to get a haircut for next week. He wasn’t about to argue with CSM Scrutton.
At the age of 15 he talked his mother into writing a letter, saying he was 17, and on 18 April 1955 was enrolled into the Militia, transferring to Able (Rifle) Company. In 1956 Mike, then a Corporal, was the first of what would become the Pioneers and Skirmishers when he and Cpl Rudy Johnson began marching in front of the Buglers, carrying lances and then axes. Promoted Sergeant, he became the Pioneer Sergeant and Skirmisher Sergeant as they were formed.
On graduating from high school in 1957, Mike started work as a clerk with Maclean Hunter Publishing and by 1961 was Advertising Production Manager of three of their business papers.
In 1961-1962, during the period leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis, he went on full time Callout for 1 year as a Platoon Sergeant and Instructor on Infantry, NBC Warfare and Search and Rescue. Also on that Callout were future RSM’s Rick Dory, Syd Byatt and Stan Morris.
Returning to the Battalion in 1962 Mike instructed on a number of NCO and Infantry Qualification courses and in April 1967 was presented with the Canadian Forces Decoration by the Colonel in Chief of the Regiment, Princess Alexandra.
On completion of the Callout, in October 1962, Mike joined the Metropolitan Toronto Police where he served 34 years in a wide variety of duties including 5 years as an Instructor at the Metropolitan Toronto Police College, 5 years at Headquarters Fraud Squad, 2 years in Headquarters Major Crime Squad. In 1978 he was asked to join the Toronto Police Pipe Band as Drum Major, a position he still fills on occasion. He retired as a Detective in 1996, having been awarded the Police Exemplary Service Medal and several Letters of Commendation.
After 6 years in the appointment of Drill Sergeant Major Mr Holland was promoted Chief Warrant Officer and appointed Regimental Sergeant Major in April 1974, retiring in April 1977 to the Supplementary Reserve.
After a brief retirement and some prompting, he transferred back to the Primary Reserve as Chief Warrant Officer, Training Standards at Toronto Militia District Headquarters, then, missing the action within a regiment, commissioned as a Captain and returned to the QOR of C where he held the appointments of Training Officer and Company Commander. A transfer within the Metropolitan Toronto Police greatly curtailed the time that he could donate to the Regiment, and he posted to Toronto Militia District Headquarters as Staff Officer, Operations. After about 1 year, in spite of requests from the District Commander to continue, Captain Holland was not satisfied with his own work and had no further time available. He transferred to the Supplementary Reserve in the rank of Captain, in October 1986.
On retiring from the Police Force in 1996 Mike and his wife, Heather, moved to an old cottage on the Burnt River north of Fenelon Falls and began turning it into a home.
In the fall of 1997 he offered his services as a Volunteer with 2817 Army Cadets in Lindsay but was soon asked to transfer to Cadet Instructor Cadre and attend Blackdown Cadet Training Camp as a Captain, Second in Command and Training Officer of Kilo Company.
Mr Holland found that he loved working with the Cadets, finding it a very rewarding experience, and after reaching Compulsory Retirement in 2005 he continued on as a Civilian Instructor and Volunteer with the Cadets in Port Perry and in Barrie as Star level Course Officer and in NCO Training. From 2007 until 2013 Mike worked as a Civilian Instructor at Blackdown Cadet Camp, in the position of Company Sergeant Major Advisor, mentoring the Cadet CSM and Staff Cadets and advising the officers on Military matters. He declined joining the Cadet League, preferring to spend his time working directly with the Cadets.
At the time of this writing Mr Holland is enjoying more time with Heather and their grandchildren, working as Senior Drum Major at many Highland Games, and volunteering with the Cadets in Barrie.
Honours and Awards: Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, Canadian Forces Decoration, Police Exemplary Service Medal