Tag Archives: Casa Loma

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

2014 QOR Day at Casa Loma

Be sure to join us on Saturday November 8th for our 2014 Queen’s Own Rifles Day at Casa Loma!

See our event page for more information.

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, November  5, 2013

Casa Loma hosts ‘The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada’ Day
in honour of Remembrance Day
Saturday November 9, 2013 – 10:00 am-5:00 pm 

  • Remembrance Day program features soldiers of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, along with guest speakers  Peter Vronsky, Bob Richardson, Eric McGeer, guided tours of QORoC Regimental Museum and performances by The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada  Regimental Band and Bugles 
  • Soldiers, cadets and veterans with ID or in uniform will receive complimentary admission to Casa Loma

Canada (originally named 2nd Battalion, Volunteer Militia Rifles of Canada) was formed on April 26, 1860. Predating the Confederation of Canada and the country’s oldest continuously-serving infantry regiment, The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada (QORoC) saw action at Ridgeway, South Africa, the Somme, Vimy, Passchendaele and Normandy among other battles. The Reserve unit was re-designated as The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada on 11 February 1971 and remains an active Toronto militia unit today with the task of providing a fully trained parachute company when required.  While once comprised almost exclusively of those with British heritage, today its soldiers reflect the wide ethnic diversity of our city.

The day’s activities will feature guided tours of the museum’s exhibits, an opportunity to chat with soldiers who saw service in Afghanistan and Bosnia, photo opportunities with soldiers in 19th Century uniforms, displays and demonstrations of modern day military equipment, activities for children and youth and, commencing in the afternoon, The Queen’s Own Rifles Regimental Band and Bugles will perform in the Great Hall.

“We’re excited to show the evolution of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada from its formation in 1860 to the regiment of today – both what’s different in terms of equipment and training, and what traditions still exist,” says museum curator and retired Major John Stephens.

Special guest speakers will be at Casa Loma throughout the day including Canadian author, filmmaker and investigative historian Peter Vronsky (Ridgeway: The American Fenian Invasion and the 1866 Battle That Made Canada) who will discuss the QORoC participation in the 1866 Battle of Ridgeway; The Western Front Association member Bob Richardson who will talk about researching your First World War army ancestors;  and teacher, historian and author Eric McGeer (Words of Valediction and Remembrance: Canadian Epitaphs of the Second World War) who will talk about 3rd Battalion epitaphs of the First World War.

Soldiers and cadets with ID or in uniform, and veterans in an association blazer will be offered complimentary admission to Casa Loma on Saturday, November 9, as well as on Sunday, November 10. For program details and admission prices to Casa Loma, please visit:  www.casalomo.org

For more information about The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada activities at Casa Loma on Saturday, November 9th, please visit:  https://qormuseum.org/events/november-9-2013/

Why The Queen’s Own Rifles Museum is located at Casa Loma

Casa Loma was the former estate of Major General Sir Henry Pellatt, CVO  (January 6, 1859 – March 8, 1939) a prominent Toronto financier, industrialist and military man. Travels in Europe gave him the love for fine art and architecture that would spur his vision of Casa Loma, his “house on the hill,” which took three years and $3.5 million to build in the early 1900s. This romantic side was uniquely juxtaposed by his other lifelong passion: his involvement with The Queen’s Own Rifles. Sir Henry, who joined The Queen’s Own Rifles as a rifleman in 1876, was knighted in 1905 for his military service with The Regiment, upon which he spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Regiment’s band was often engaged to entertain guests at the castle.

In 1910, at his own expense, to mark The Regiment’s 50th anniversary, Sir Henry took the entire 600 man regiment – including its horses – to England for military exercises from 13 August to 3 October. The museum, filled with memorabilia relating to the Regiment, dating as far back as the date of its formation in 1860 and its involvement in every military action undertaken by Canada since then, attracts thousands of visitors from around the world each year. For more information about Casa Loma, please visit: www.casaloma.org

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Media Contacts:
Dorit Leo                                                                                 Major (Ret) John Stephens, CD
Media Relations                                                                     The Queen’s Own Rifles
Casa Loma                                                                              Regimental Museum Curator
647-725-1826                                                                         416-605-9159
dleo@casaloma.org                                                                museum@qormuseum.org
www.casaloma.org                                                                 www.qormuseum.org

Future of Casa Loma Public Meeting

The Future of Casa Loma and a Museum of Toronto Public Meeting

In August 2011, City Council created the Casa Loma Corporation (CLC) for the purpose of managing the continuing operations of Casa Loma on an interim basis until its future ownership and management direction could be determined. The City of Toronto is now moving forward with a plan to ensure the long-term viability of Casa Loma, the Queen’s Own Rifles Regimental Museum and the potential for a Museum of Toronto as part of the site’s future. For more information about our progress, click here. You are invited to attend a public meeting to learn about these opportunities and give the City your feedback, vision and guidance.

It is important to note that the QOR Museum’s continued presence at Casa Loma is not guaranteed.

Date: Monday, November 26th
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Location: Casa Loma (1 Austin Terrace)

Attendees may arrive at 5:30 p.m. for a site visit of the property prior to the meeting starting at 7:00 p.m.

The City will be seeking feedback from the public in two key areas at this meeting:

1.     The future of the main building (south side of Austin Terrace)

The City is seeking qualified proponents with whom to enter into a long term lease to operate Casa Loma as an historic attraction and special event venue. As the Request for Proposal (RFP) is developed and the associated evaluation criteria the Board is interested in hearing from the public about your priorities for the building and opportunities to expand on its role in presenting Toronto’s history. A two stage Request for Proposal (RFP) will be issued in mid-December 2012.

2.     The future of other buildings (north side of Austin Terrace)

In early 2013 the Board will issue a Request for Expression of Interest (REOI) for a vision and uses for the complex north of Austin Terrace, including the Hunting Lodge, Potting Shed, and Stables. At this public meeting input will be sought on the REOI, where Respondents will be asked to consider the feasibility of including a Museum of Toronto in their proposals.