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A celebration 150 years in the making

Change of command kicks off day of celebration and remembrance during regiment's anniversary celebrations

Members of the Ontario Regiment make their way through the GM Centre during a changing of command ceremony on Saturday. The ceremony, as well as a parade through downtown Oshawa shortly afterwards, was part of the regiment's 150th anniversary celebrations.

Members of the Ontario Regiment make their way through the GM Centre during a changing of command ceremony on Saturday. The ceremony, as well as a parade through downtown Oshawa shortly afterwards, was part of the regiment’s 150th anniversary celebrations.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

It is a piece of Oshawa is older than Canada herself.

On Sept. 17, residents filed into the General Motors Centre to honour the Ontario Regiment, which as of Sept. 14, has been a staple of the region for 150 years.

Formed in 1866, the year before Confederation brought this country together, the Ontarios are one of the oldest continuous serving army regiments in Canada.

The event marked the culmination of planning and events that have spanned throughout 2016, including the launch of a new regimental history book.

The latest piece of history kicked off with a changing of command ceremony inside the GM Centre, as Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Rostek handed the reigns over to the incoming commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Bruce Clayton.

Lt.-Col. Rostek, the commanding officer of the regiment for the past three years, spoke highly of his time with the Ontarios.

“Commanding the Ontarios has unquestionably been one of the most professionally rewarding tasks or duties of my career,” he said. “Being welcomed into this extensive family has been nothing short of marvellous.”

Incoming commanding officer Lt.-Col. Clayton said the regiment can expect his unwavering efforts to carry them forward into the potentially turbulent years ahead.

“I intend to work tirelessly with our honoraries…to further promote the best interests of the regiment and the associate organizations within Durham” he says. “The army and the regiment are going to be very busy in the coming years, there’s no doubt about it. We’ve seen this before, in the 90s, and the lead up to Afghanistan. The regular force cannot do it alone and the reserves will be expected to ante up.”

Members of the Ontario Regiment prepare for inspection during 150th anniversary celebrations for the regiment at the GM Centre. The Ontario Regiment was formed in 1866, and currently serves as a reserve unit.

Members of the Ontario Regiment prepare for inspection during 150th anniversary celebrations for the regiment at the GM Centre. The Ontario Regiment was formed in 1866, and currently serves as a reserve unit.

The ceremony also saw the replacement of the regimental sergeant major with Chief Warrant Officer David Monroe handing the baton to Chief Warrant Officer William Irving.

As part of the ceremony, the Ontario Regiment marched in formation and were inspected by Colonel Spike Hazleton, the Canadian Defense Attache to Italy, Greece, Albania, Slovenia, Croatia and Malta.

He appeared to approve of what he saw.

“I can stand here today before you and say with great confidence that the Ontario Regiment has been well served by Lieutenant-Colonel Rostek and RSM Monroe and will continue to be well served under Lietenant-Colonel Clayton and RSM Irving,” he said.

Following the ceremony, the troops marched from the GM Centre through downtown Oshawa to their home at the armouries for a reception. The night culminated with a gala inside the GM Centre.

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