It is Truth and Reconciliation Week in Canada. This week offers the opportunity for us to reflect on the dark and difficult parts of our shared history with Indigenous people. This Thursday, September 30 is Orange Shirt Day in recognition of a movement that originated with Phyllis Webstad, a residential school survivor – and it is also the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

As we observe this day, Senator Murray Sinclair, Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, challenges all Canadians to “read the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Report and pick one that you can work on, that you understand and make it happen. This is not a spectator sport. We need you, to bring reconciliation to a reality in this country.”  

We encourage everyone to participate in recognizing the legacy and ongoing effects of colonization and residential schools through a meaningful way whether it be through quiet reflection, participating in in-person or online events, or engaging in conversation.

 Here are some resources to support our reflection:  

Alex McLean

President, Fort Henry Guard Club of Canada

 

Thursday’s AGM was the last meeting for Michelle Foxton (FHG 1670) as President of the Fort Henry Guard Club.  Michelle has been a passionate and tireless supporter of the Guard, and the Club has flourished under her leadership over the past five years.  We offer our sincere thanks for all of her hard work, and wish her the best as she pursues some exciting new opportunities in the weeks and months ahead.

Michelle will remain on the board as Past President, which means that previous Past President Steve Mecredy (FHG 950) has stepped down after many years of dedicated service.  Michael Murphy (FHG 2231) also stepped down from the Board at the end of a two-year term, but will continue his great work putting together issues of The Guardsman.

The Club’s new President is Alex McLean (FHG 2100).  Alex, who started with the Guard in 2009 and later worked for several years as the Fort’s Curator & Program Support Officer, brings a wealth of experience and connections to his new role.  We are also pleased to welcome Cameron Smith (FHG 2358) to the Board.  You can find the full list of Board members here.

Thanks to all of the Guard Club members who participated in our virtual AGM for their thoughtful questions and messages of support.

As part of the government’s recent move to Step One of its Roadmap to Reopen Ontario plan, Fort Henry has announced that it will officially open for the 2021 season on Saturday, June 19, 2021.

As was the case last summer, the Fort will be offering modified outdoor programming with self-guided tours, and rifle firing, music and artillery demonstrations.  Members of the Fort Henry Guard will also be stationed throughout the Fort to offer interpretation experiences.

Fort Henry Guard Club members will receive a reduced admission fee of $12.00 when purchasing in-person tickets at the Fort Henry admission booth upon presentation of their membership card.  Advance tickets can also be purchased online at the usual price of $15 each.

More details about this year’s programming, hours of operation, and health and safety measures can be found on Fort Henry’s website.

The Fort Henry Guard Club of Canada’s Annual General Meeting will take place on Thursday, August 26 at 7:00 pm.  All current members of the FHGCC are invited to participate in the meeting, which will be held virtually.  Registration instructions will be shared in the coming week.

Members are advised that a resolution will be considered at the AGM to amend the By-Laws of the FHGCC to permit the Club to hold meetings and conduct business virtually and electronically and to communicate notices by electronic means.  The full text of the resolution can be found here.

The nomination list for election to the FHGCC Board of Directors can also be found here.  The Club is still looking for one member to be nominated to fill a two-year term, and one member to fill a one-year term.  Please contact Michael Murphy (newsletter.fhgcc[at]gmail.com) to submit a nomination.

The St. Lawrence Parks Commission is beginning public consultations on the development of its 5-year strategic plan & 10-year roadmap. As committed supporters of Fort Henry and the Fort Henry Guard , please share your thoughts by completing the initial survey before February 7, 2021. Full details about this first of several rounds of consultations, and a link to the survey, can be found here.

It’s that time of year again – the weather is getting colder, and the holidays are just around the corner.  From now until November 30th, you can get 15% off your purchase of FHG merchandise on our online store – just use promo code 15FRIDAY

There’s a great range of clothing available, including sweatshirts, hoodies, and jackets, and it’s all customizable.  And best of all, a portion of the sales support Guard Club activities. 

Happy shopping!

Usually by this time of year the Fort would be filled with the sounds of the Guard training for opening day.  Friends who haven’t seen each other since last summer would be catching up while shining their boots in the locker room, and the new group of rookies would be getting an intense introduction to Guard life – everything from basic foot drill to preparing to deliver their first guided tour to a rowdy group of Grade 8s. 

Unfortunately, the Fort is quiet right now, and likely will be for some time due to the pandemic.  The St. Lawrence Parks Commission announced in early May that the opening of the Fort, which was scheduled to take place on May 16, has been delayed, and several events scheduled for this season have been cancelled.  You can check the Fort Henry website for regular updates here.

Obviously this is difficult news, and our thoughts are with all of the students who were planning to return to the Guard for another amazing summer, and all of the part-time and full-time staff at the Fort.  The Guard has brought the Fort to life for decades, and we look forward to welcoming them all back when it’s safe to do so.  In the meantime, we hope all of our former and current Guard are safe and healthy.