2016-09-24 Seaforth Highland Homecoming

Seaforth Highlanders of Canada crest on the front of the Seaforth Armoury.
Seaforth Highlanders of Canada crest on the front of the Seaforth Armoury.

On Saturday September 24, 2016, the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada marched back to the Seaforth Armoury after an absence of four years. They called it the “Highland Homecoming”.

The armoury was renovated and a new building was built in the back lot. The new building becomes the new Vancouver Garrison and was officially named the Major General Bertram Hoffmeister Building  after one of Canada’s best Generals, who had served for many years as a Seaforth.

There were several distinct phases in the proceedings that day:

  1. The Regiment and Cadets marched East from Jericho Garrison along 4th Avenue, North on MacDonald, East on Cornwall Ave. and finally, South on Burrard Street to the Seaforth Armoury.
  2. The ribbon cutting ceremony at the Major General Bert Hoffmeister Building, built on the parking lot of the Seaforth Armoury. (I did not photograph that event.)
  3. The Regiment marched into place with Brigadier MacKenzie and LCol Davy Fairweather taking the salute, then formed up in front of the Seaforth Armoury.
  4. The Canada Flag was raised signifying that the Armoury was occupied again by its regiment and cadets.
  5. The troops marched into the armoury and were dismissed.
  6. The Regiment and Cadets marched back into the Armoury about 1 pm for the Regimental Review and Drumhead Ceremony. The Battle Honour AFGHANISTAN has been added to the Regimental Colour. The troops advanced in Review Order and there was a General Salute, then the troops again marched out of the Armoury.
  7. Then there was the “Highland Homecoming Tattoo”
  8. The Seaforth Pipes and Drums
  9. Seaforth Cadet Pipes and Drums
  10. 15th Field Regiment Band
  11. Vancouver Police Pipe Band.
  12. There was a demonstration “C6 Gun Run”, a race between two teams, which started with them rappelling down the high CADPAT camouflage patterned wall.
  13. Chor Leone men’s choir
  14. Shot of Scotch Premier Highland Dancers
  15. Broadsword Team.
  16. Then the Messes were opened.

This was a great event and it did the Regiment proud. There was an excellent turnout by members, Cadets and Association Members, and the public. There were more Generals there that one usually sees together outside of Ottawa. The program was varied and entertaining. Special thanks to the outside groups that helped to make it so special.

My cousin Annie Soncek was there as an Army Medic so there was excellent medical coverage.

Here are a few of the photographs that I took. The weather was perfect for photography. It was dry and overcast, which meant that there were no harsh shadows. Inside the Seaforth Armoury however it was a challenge. A camera flash is of little use in a case like this and is distracting for others,  so I did not use my flash. I bumped my camera’s ISO setting way up and when shooting into backlit areas, such as the large South windows, added exposure compensation.


As I expected, parking was a disaster as the new building now occupies what was for over 75 years a wonderful parking and training area. I was very disappointed to see that the Seaforth Association is apparently no longer invited to march with their regiment at these special events. Certainly some of them are too old or in ill-health and they would forgo the honour, but so many of the current veterans are young (20s to 60s) and would be very happy to march to the sound of the pipes and drums with THEIR regiment again. I hope that planners will reinstate this practice of the Association marching with the Regiment and the Cadets.

Shown here are low resolution images for the computer. I also have all of them in high resolution suitable for making prints. The number in brackets e.g. (123) before each photo caption is my original photo number which makes reference to a photo easier and shows the sequence that they were taken in. I am working my way through the hundreds of photos, selecting, cropping, tweeking and shrinking the images. Captions also require time to add. Suggestions on identification of people of activities are welcome. Please refer to the photo number when contacting me.

I was able to take photographs of most of the proceedings, so I have lots of pictures that show the Army and the Air Cadets as well as the soldiers.

The Regimental Museum, which I started in 1972, and which is now an official Canadian Forces Museum, has not reopened yet in its newest location.