100th Anniversary of the Armoury of the Fusiliers Mont-Royal

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100th Anniversary of the Armoury of the Fusiliers Mont-Royal

Montreal, Saturday, May 15, 2010

Before I begin, I would like us to take the time to meditate on and honour the memory of Private Kevin Thomas McKay who paid the ultimate sacrifice while proudly serving in Afghanistan.

I will be in Trenton tomorrow with his family. We will never forget him.

Let us take a minute of silence.      

It is my great pleasure, as commander-in-chief, to honour you, the members of the Fusiliers Mont-Royal, especially as we commemorate the end of the Second World War, in which your predecessors fought, as well as the 100th anniversary of the building we are in, which has been renamed the Mont-Royal Armoury for this occasion.

As a Francophone, I am proud of the vital role that the 65th Regiment, one of the oldest Francophone battalions in the country and the oldest in Montreal, has played and continues to play within the Canadian Forces, at home and abroad.

Your unwavering dedication is etched in our history, whether it be for promoting democratic values in the two world wars and in Korea, keeping the peace and stability in other countries, like Bosnia and, more recently, Afghanistan, or coming to the rescue and helping to rebuild communities hit by natural disasters, as you did here in Montreal during the ice storm.

Lest we forget, your history of bravery and achievement is an integral part of the history of the City of Montreal, and of Quebec society as a whole.

Since 1869, you have maintained a strong, admirable presence here, which has won the respect of all Montrealers.

Indeed, as a long-time Montrealer myself, I can say that the Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal Band is an unforgettable component of the cultural and community life of the Greater Montreal region.

The Band's presence at open-air concerts and civilian and military celebrations is a boon for all of us, and I want to salute today the talent and versatility of its musicians.

And what can I say about this armoury, in the heart of Mont-Royal, whose centennial we are so proudly celebrating?

It is, without a doubt, one of the jewels of Montreal's cultural and historical heritage.

Inspired by mediaeval architecture, it was built at a time when the city was experiencing unprecedented growth and prosperity, and when the militia was also expanding.

On the one hundredth anniversary of this showcase of our military past, I want to express my respect and recognition for the work you do, while preserving the link with your civilian lives, which also demand so much of you.

You have every reason to be proud of your regiment, and of the invaluable service to which all of you are so committed.

May my best wishes for success accompany you and your families, so many of whom are here with you today to express their support and pride.