Chasse-Galerie 2016 Arrives at RMC

Photo by: 21946 Adam Dargavel

Chasse-Galerie 2016 Arrives at RMC

By 27832 OCdt (II) Pablo Cardona, 12 Sqn, e-Veritas Chief Correspondent

On Thursday afternoon, the 15-person crew of the 2016 Chasse-Galerie completed their seven day journey along the Rideau Canal from Ottawa. The canoe arrived at RMC to a warm welcome from the College community.

Minutes before the canoe passed underneath the Lasalle Causeway, a group of cadets, training wing, academic and PSP staff convened near the Memorial Arch to greet the paddlers.

On board the canoe, for the first time, were two pipers: former CDS and RMC Commandant 12192 Gen (Ret’d) Tom Lawson and 15012 Tom Norris. Tom Norris joined the crew in Smiths Falls to provide additional lung and horsepower. However, the VIP paddler was WH25917 Sheila McLeod, who had travelled on one of the accompanying houseboats all the way from Ottawa and who paddled the last stretch from Kingston Mills. When the canoe passed the Arch, the Commandant of RMC and a contingent of officer cadets in Scarlets received a salute and a cheer from the paddlers.

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The crew of La Chasse Galerie then paddled around the peninsula through strong headwinds and heavy waves. A lone piper played to them from Fort Frederick and ALOY drummers greeted them at the dock behind the Stone Frigate. After arriving to the cheers of spectators, the crew disembarked; the Commandant presented them with commemorative coins; the rugby team hauled the canoe over to the Panet House lawn, and the crew received another big welcome from the ALOY team. Elder Bernard Nelson from northern Ontario blessed the paddlers with a smudging ceremony and led everyone present in a “group hug.” 8788 Geoff Bennett, the leader of the crew, announced that they had left the land of the Algonquin and had now arrived in the land of the Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples, in a canoe powered by paddles designed by a carver of Vancouver Island’s Kwagiulth tribe.

One of the greatest benefits of this trip is that it creates bonds among ex-cadets and cadets. This year, the senior member of the crew was 5893 Tom Gee who graduated in 1963 and the youngest was 27639 OCdt Andréanne Tremblay, who is completing her first year at RMCSJ and will graduate in 2020.

The 2016 Chasse-Galerie was a tremendous success, raising over $150,000 for the Danny McLeod Athletic Endowment Fund. Interest from the fund supports the athletics program at RMCC and RMCSJ. The five canoe trips since 2000 have raised over $415,000 for athletics.

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