Stop 2: Royal Military College of Canada
RMC is the second stop for tourists and visitors alike aboard Kingston Trolley Tours, which offers “tours of historic Kingston.” During the school year, we as officer cadets are busy scrambling away in our daily lives at the college and hardly notice the thirty-six-passenger red trolley making its rounds of our grounds, with tourists gawking through the open windows and attempting to capture photographs of Mackenzie Building or the Boathouse. In fact, we hardly have time to stop and reflect on the historical significance of RMC and the surrounding city of Kingston at all.
Sure, in our first year of the college during FYOP (First Year Orientation Period) we are drilled constantly on knowing the exact dates on which all the buildings on the college grounds were built, singing off the Old Eighteen, and knowing by heart countless other historical facts and data referred to as “College Knowledge,” but this knowledge is pushed to the back of our minds as we become completely focused on our studies and other demands for the remainder of our years at the college.
Now that I am finding myself here in Kingston for the summer, away from the September to late May scramble, I am able to take a step back and view our city and college with a whole new perspective. The city is alive with bustling markets, community events that bring smiles together, activities on beautiful Lake Ontario such as sailing, rowing, and windsurfing, open patios, and many featured events. I am entering my fourth and final year at the college, and I realize that I’ve grown to enjoy and appreciate the vibrant city of Kingston more and more each year.
RMC is privileged to be in such a wonderful community; the city of Kingston and RMC share a special and mutually beneficial relationship with one another. Kingston became a city in 1846, and RMC was founded in 1876. The historical significance of the area in terms of being a centre for military action in 1812 is recognizable throughout the city, and serves as a common background for the two partners.
The relationship between RMC and the city of Kingston has continually flourished over the years, and there are many important connections which, like the red trolley making its rounds around campus, are prominent but not necessarily reflected upon. We are very lucky to have the head of the municipal government, His Worship, Bryan Paterson as both Mayor of Kingston and as a faculty member at RMC in the Department of Management and Economics. This is a very unique connection. I caught up with Dr. Paterson and asked him to share some of his thoughts on important connections between the city and RMC.
“Copper Sunday and Remembrance Day ceremonies are good examples of the connection between RMC and the city,” he says, and also offers the following relations:
• Charitable work: typically at the end of each academic year cadets go out into the city to clean up parks, repaint park benches and downtown lamp posts, etc.
• Class projects: cadets work with local businesses, agencies, organizations (example: a 4th year business course sees student groups provide free consulting services to the community).
• Economic development: RMC has participated along with Queen’s and St. Lawrence College on a couple of recent opportunities where the city is looking to attract businesses that want to work alongside post-secondary institutions.
• Community support: the Commandant, the Principal and other RMC representatives frequently attend a variety of community functions, fundraisers and other events in the city.
From the perspective of both our Mayor and a member of the RMC faculty, we can undoubtedly see the special relationship which RMC and the city of Kingston share. RMC certainly holds a rich history, one that the Kingston Trolley Tours introduces on its second stop, but looking beyond the peninsula it is wonderful to reflect on Kingston as a whole. Perhaps as the September rush begins again I will catch a glimpse of the red trolley and smile, thinking of how lucky we are to be working within and alongside such a great community.