To mark the 75th anniversary of Canadian Rangers of Ontario, a fleet of nine large motorized canoes will pass through Buckhorn, Peterborough and Rice Lake on a 13-day freighter canoe exercise from Parry Sound to Ottawa.
The 50-member 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group expedition (3CRPG) - part of Exercise Ranger Tracker 22 - left Parry Sound on Sunday and is set to arrive in Ottawa on Sept. 17.
The Canadian Rangers in Ontario are predominantly Indigenous, and live and serve in their northern communities.
So far this year, members have participated in 10 ground search and rescue missions, rescuing 13 people, including two stranded truckers on an ice road, an injured Attawapiskat First Nation snowmobiler and two young hunters whose all-terrain vehicles broke down, leaving them stranded about 100 km away from their communities, says a news release from Canadian Rangers Master-Corp. Chris Vernon.
Lt.-Col. Shane McArthur, 3CRPG commanding officer, said the idea for a canoe exercise was proposed a few years ago in recognition of the 75th anniversary and it quickly took off.
"I loved the idea. This exercise is for the Rangers and the headquarters staff. The exercise ends in Ottawa as part of the 75th celebrations and I couldn’t be happier as commanding officer, " he stated in a release.
3CRPG members reinforce their training annually during Exercise Ranger Tracker. This year the Rangers will be instructed on safe watercraft operation and first-aid during the voyage.
Since a lot of Rangers operate in northern Ontario where areas are only accessible by water, it makes sense to train in these fields, according to the release.
While on the water, Rangers will receive training in conducting a water rescue, navigation, weather, emergency preparedness and more, said McArthur.
"This exercise not only serves as an event to recognize our 75 years of service to Canada, " he continued, "it’s also an opportunity for Canadians to interact with Canadian Rangers and learn about what we 3CRPG do within Ontario and the Canadian Armed Forces."
3CRPG and the Junior Canadian Ranger program are based at CFB Borden near Barrie and is staffed by military personnel and army instructors who travel regularly to northern Ontario to train Canadian Rangers.
The Canadian Rangers are a subcomponent of the Primary Army Reserve who live and serve in remote, isolated coastal areas of Canada.
Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.
Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner