What Were They Thinking? Part I

Easter Sunday Shocker! Memorial Arch now covered by Dome. Naming rights – SOLD!


Easter Sunday 2013, a day which will live in infamy for the Royal Military College of Canada? This was a day when the landscape was unexpectedly and drastically changed for one simple reason – the almighty dollar.

RMC was put on notice that no stone will go unturned as the government slashes hundreds of millions of dollars in defence spending. Over a 12 hour period on Easter Sunday the Sports Dome was moved and now covers the Memorial Arch long considered by many the soul of the College.

Why move the Dome to cover the Memorial Arch? We asked the lady who appeared to be directing the work around the two sites. What the heck is going on?

“The Dome has suffered design problems from the start. The terrain in the former area is just not conducive for this type of structure. Soccer players, in particular, have been complaining since day one of its opening.”

Surely there must be better places to locate the Dome? “That could be, but the Memorial Arch is close to 90 years old. The wear & tear over all these years has taken its toll; to repair and refurbish it to an acceptable level will take a lot of money.” She tried to explain with a farfetched rationale that “by being under the Dome it will be better protected”.

For some off the cuff reason she added, “What I can tell you is that in the end – ex-Cadets, Cadets, staff and friends of the College will applaud this change.”

Speaking like a typical bureaucrat she went on, “In addition, the naming rights of both the Dome and the Memorial Arch have been SOLD. New revenues have been generated by this move which will also help the government cut down the deficit.”

The Memorial Arch now sits in one area under the Dome which will not disturb the playing of rugby or soccer. Our photographer was ordered out of the area. A security guard even tried to confiscate his camera. He was elusive and managed to escape with all intact; he was able to hitch a ride with a Cadet with a pilot’s license. They flew near the site and managed to get a great aerial photo.

The spokesperson said, in trying to justify the rationale, “Reserve units across Canada are seeing their budget hit hard, the government will also be charging municipalities and provinces for emergency assistance.” She added, “Quite frankly this is just another step, in the deficit process.”

One other major concern is that the workers used some type of chemical spray to protect the roof of the dome. Being windy, the spray spread over the trees and brush nearby which quickly turned many of them a brownish colour almost what you would expect to see in the Fall of the year. We were assured that there were no health risks.

Because of the extra long weekend we were unable to make contact with the College leadership.

We asked about tradition and respect for the history of the Arch. “Respect and tradition will not help reduce the government deficit,” the spokesperson glibly informed me. We were advised to move along and told “an official announcement would be released later on Monday”. We were asked (not politely) to hold off with an article until they released the official announcement.

Of course, we declined.

The release of Government press releases often seem deliberately timed to be out of sync with the regular news cycle, ie: when they are least likely to be noticed. However, with still no official announcement or even a warning of these changes this verges on the bizarre.


  • Betty Smith - Kingston resident

    April 1, 2013 at 3:41 am

    I could hardly believe my eyes while driving down the hill on Hi-way #2, I looked right and the Dome is gone. Just prior to getting to the Causeway, looking towards the left – the Arch is nowhere in sight as it is covered by the Dome. What is going on?

  • Michel Thrownow

    April 1, 2013 at 4:48 am

    Honestly, I’m more angry than shocked. I saw them doing this over the weekend and they kinda told my friends and I to mind our own business, we were just stumbling back from the Hub and Queen’s and thought it was being moved to Navy Bay. Aside from the fact this is really disrespectful to those who’s names are engraved on the arch; how the heck is my team supposed to practice with a 50 foot limestone memorial in the middle of our field? Are they going to put mats around it, pylons? After 3 years here nothing surprises me anymore, TD…budget cuts I guess!

  • Concerned parents

    April 1, 2013 at 4:53 am

    We were so proud when our daughter march though the Arch back in 2009. She and we have been looking forward to her marching “out” in May.

    This is so disappointing.


    April 1, 2013 at 4:57 am

    As a fourth year varsity soccer athlete ready to graduate its disappointing to see the indoor field moved. I drove by it on my way back from Brampton and had to do a double take. Sure it was an eyesore but it looks even worse where it is now and won’t be used for games. Are we supposed to walk into ‘the dome’ after commissioning instead of through the arch?

  • II Year Cadet

    April 1, 2013 at 4:58 am

    What I found strange too. They had some type of mixture that they spread on the grass all around. Something you would expect to see on a golf course in Florida. All of a sudden, the grass is greener than what you see in this area in the summer.

  • II Year

    April 1, 2013 at 5:10 am

    I love this place sometimes…this is gonna throw soo many people off when they get back from leave tonight, it got me on my run earlier.

  • Chuck Alain

    April 1, 2013 at 5:38 am

    I’m not sure if many in the RMC family will be impressed with this change, however, in the long run it is likely all for the better.

    I recall that many of the local citizens (tax payers) had their property values reduced because of the former location.

    If these “Naming Rights” turn out to be substantial – it may be the start of a good trend. For example, a fair amount could probably be raised by renaming the “Gatehouse#1”

    I’m all for reducing the deficit.

  • Robert A

    April 1, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Please say it ain’t so…..this has to be poor excuse for an April Fool’s Joke. Either that or all of us taxpayers are being played for suckers. That Arch belongs to the citizens of Canada and as we all have the right to view it…………

  • 6137 Wyn van der Schee

    April 1, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Nice one Bill! No doubt some of the citizens of Barriefield will be rejoicing at the news. Imagine their disappointment when they find out is ain’t so. Ah well, we can’t please all our neighours all the time.

  • Nezar

    April 1, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Congrats WJO, Betty and Michel! You got your self a victim of your carefully crafted joke!

    I was in RMC Monday to do some lab work. Had the guts feeling this is a joke. But when I wanted to take a brake, I thought, go check it out. So I drove to the Arch and found it there! (big surprise!).

    That’s not the problem. Of course the building door was closed and I had to make a backhand full turn (it was cold) to the main entrance going back to the lab. In process, laughed at self and shouted at you!

    So enjoy it. Hope this made your day!

  • John Reid

    April 1, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Super idea. Now it can be the RMC goal in a soccer game against West Point. Just can’t figure at the moment what we can do to provide a West Point goal, which of course will be badly needed because most of any RMC/West Point game will be played in their end.

  • Darren Rich

    April 1, 2013 at 9:10 pm


    Good one. All that is missing is the RMCC Coat of Arms on the photoshopped dome photo!

    Yours aye
    Darren Rich
    Colorado Springs
    (where we need rain – or snow, not a dome!)