The Story of Battalion Park

There is a collection of 16,000 whitewashed stones arranged on the side of Signal Hill signifying the battalion units that served and trained at the Sarcee Camp.

 

The Canadian Militia leased the land in the summer of 1914 from the Sarcee Indian Reserve to establish a training site for military personnel assigned to fight in World War 1.  45,000 men were trained there making it the largest training establishment in Canada during the war time.  There were 30 various units from different part of Alberta that trained there.

As part of their training, soldier hauled in sacks by hand, stones from the Elbow River and carried them over two kilometres to the site of the camp.  Several units used these stones to create the battalion numerals that represented their units.  The four that did were from battalions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force from Calgary, Lethbridge, Central Alberta, and Edmonton.

The 151st Battalion from Central Alberta trained at the Sarcee Camp from December 1915 until October 1916.  The 137thInfantry Battalion from Calgary trained there from December 1915 until August 1916.  The 113st Battalion trained at Sarcee Camp from May until September 1916 and the 51st Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force were also trained there in 1915.  After training was complete, the battalions were assigned to war regions to fight WW1.

The stones forming the numerals 137, 151 and 51 are in a cluster that were moved from the original position because of erosion and development, but 113 is a bit further away, undisturbed, in its original location.

Battalion Park officially opened in November 1991 commemorating the many military personnel that trained there.

On Remembrance Day 2019 it was my honor and priviledge, once again, to represent the Government of Canada at the Celebration at Battalion Park.   Not only to recognize the contributions that our soldiers have made to preserve the freedom that we enjoy today, but also to recognize the important significance of this area.  What a proud piece of history to be part of Calgary Signal Hill.

As we go forward into a new year and new decade, we can reflect on the privilege that we have in Canada due to the sacrifices made by others. Happy New Year.