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Date > 1800

Subject > Armed Forces > Military Life > Military in Peacetime

Reluctant Canadian Politicians

Type: Document

In 1849, responsible government came to Canada, and Canadian politicians now made many decisions, instead of the British Governor-General. The Canadians preferred to leave the cost of defence up to Britain, but did appoint a commission to study militia reform in 1854.

Site: National Defence

Armed Gangs Formed

Type: Document

In Lower Canada, the opposing political factions formed semi-secret paramilitary groups during the 1830s. The reformist Patriotes created Les Fils de la Liberté, while the conservatives had their Doric Club. Trapped in the middle, the British garrison prepared for trouble.

Site: National Defence

Large Garrison Still Needed

Type: Document

Defending British North America after the end of the war of 1812 required a large number of British soldiers. Thousands of men were stationed in Upper and Lower Canada, and thousands more in the Maritime colonies.

Site: National Defence

Still a Viable Institution

Type: Document

In Lower Canada during the 1820s, the militia was still respected as an institution by the Francophone majority. Training consisted mostly of shooting contests, but these were taken seriously. Importantly, the institution was not split along social lines as happened in Upper Canada.

Site: National Defence

The Yukon Campaign

Type: Document

The discovery of gold in the Yukon resulted in a contingent of volunteers from the permanent force contingent being sent, in 1898, to northern Canada to assert territorial jurisdiction from American expansionists. The force was withdrawn after a year and replaced with a Non-Permanent Militia Unit raised in Dawson City.

Site: National Defence

Mutinies and Desertion

Type: Document

Despite the ferocious punishments they were subject to during the 18th and 19th centuries, mutiny was very rare amongst British troops. Desertion, on the other hand, was a constant problem, and grew worse as travel to the United States became easier during the 19th century.

Site: National Defence

Shifting Balances

Type: Document

Despite several threats and crises, there was no war between Britain and the United States during the 1840s. American troops were sent to fight Mexico. The British garrison in Canada continued to shrink in size. All the while, new Anglophone immigrants flooded into Canada.

Site: National Defence

Political Polarization

Type: Document

During the 1820s and 1830s, the politics of Upper and Lower Canada became polarized and radical. Calls for political reform were rejected by the authorities, and conservative and reform extremists in both colonies became more and more vocal and intolerant.

Site: National Defence

Amusements

Type: Document

Outside their unit's Mess, British officers had other recreations when stationed in Canada during the 18th and 19th centuries. Amateur theatrical productions and musical concerts were put on by officers. Many painted in watercolours, and fishing, hunting and horse racing were also popular.

Site: National Defence

Rush-Bagot Treaty Demilitarizes Lakes

Type: Document

In 1817, Britain and the United States signed an agreement that forbade large fleets of warships on the Great Lakes.

Site: National Defence