Public Works @ RMC During the Great Depression of the 1930s

1. Relief project new garage at RMC May 1934

2. Relief project Stone Cutters at RMC Mar 1934

3. Relief project shovelling snow at the RMC Memorial Arch Jan 1936

4. Relief project excavation for south wing dormitory at RMC May 1936

5. Relief project Cornerstone of new mess building at RMC April 1934

6. Relief project building the new wing of the hospital at RMC 1935.

7. Relief project rebuilt dry stone wall and moat of Fort Frederick May 1936

8. Relief project new running track and grading to the east at RMC

9. Relief project stone dressing at Fort Frederick 1933

10. Relief project Excavation for the connection from the Fort Frederick Dormitory to the new mess building of RMC.

11. Relief project labourers spread soil for RMC football field

RMC During the Great Depression of the 1930s

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, an unemployment relief camp on Barriefield lower common was set up under the command of the RMC Commandant. Public works projects at the Royal Military College in Kingston relied on the labour of the ‘Royal Twenty Centers’ supplied by the under the Unemployment Relief Commission. In 1933, men from the relief camp for the unemployed dug the foundations for the RMC mess and recreation buildings. This photo in the Department of National Defence Libary and Archives Canada collection shows the foundation of the R.M.C Physics Building extension, circa June 1933 with the excavation nearly completed. A photo shows the labourers pouring concrete for the lecture room to the Physics Labratory in

June 1933. Photos dated July 1933 shows the labourers removing excavation from the mess building, spreading earth and grading of the football field at RMC. Photos in the Army Unem ployment Relief Project series dated August 1933 shows the extension to the Physics Building of RMC, a view of the quarry with the heavy stone section in the background, stone dressing in rear of the Fort Frederick (now Fort Lasalle) dormitory and heavy stone section of the quarry where large blocks were being obtained for the cut stone work of the new mess hall of RMC. A stone crushing plant was located by highway No. 2. By September 1933, the rock fill at the end of the football field at RMC was completed. The excavation for the mess building of RMC was underway in January 1934. The photos from March 1934, show the original site of the wagon shed and concrete foundation of RMC and the stone cutters were at work at RMC. The new mess building, in particular the corner-stone of the new mess building at RMC, were photographed in April 1934. The rebuilt dry stone wall and moat of Fort Frederick, RMC and new garage at RMC were photographed in May 1934.

The excavation for the connection from the Fort Frederick Dormitory to the new mess building of RMC was underway in June 1934 as was levelling the grounds at RMC. The foundations for the new mess building at RMC were laid in August 1934. In September 1934, a new running track and grading to the east of RMC were underway.

Yeo Hall, built from 1935-6 of local limestone, included a dining hall, kitchens and gymnasium. The new wing of the hospital at RMC was built in October 1935. By August 1937, the south wing of Fort Frederick dormitory (now Fort Lasalle) added forty-two cadet rooms and three suites for single officers. It joined to the new mess building by an arch and upper passage. When the relief camp closed in 1936, digging begun in 1935 for the foundations for a dormitory which was to include a swimming pool stopped. In January 1936, labourers shoveled snow near the memorial arch at RMC.

5498 Mr. Garth M. LeFresne (RMC 1962) wrote ‘The Royal Twenty Centers: The Department of National Defense and Federal Unemployment Relief: 1932 -1936’ an unpublished B.A. Thesis from the Royal Military College, Kingston, 1962 which looks at the relief camps from the point of view of military efficiency.

Source: Preston ‘Canada’s RMC: A History of the Royal Military College’.

Special thanks to Victoria Edwards for suggesting the article and providing the photos and text.