BY THE NUMBERS
The Regiment of Les Voltigeurs canadiens was formed in 1812; Les Voltigeurs de Québec in 1862
There are approximately 350 soldiers in the regiment
The Québec Military Armoury was inaugurated in 1888; a fire destroyed it in 2008
The projected year of completion of the rebuilt Armoury is 2017
Since inception, Les Voltigeurs have fought in 12 conflicts
Les Voltigeurs de Québec
Les Voltigeurs de Québec is the oldest French-Canadian Regiment in the country and has served, as Regiment or reinforcement, in virtually every conflict in which the Canadian Forces has been involved since 1862. Formally known as a primary reserve infantry regiment, Les Voltigeurs de Québec served domestically in the battles against the Fenian Raids and the North-West Rebellion. Members of Les Voltigeurs fought in South African War, both World Wars and the Korean War. It has provided soldiers to the UN and NATO for missions in the Golan Heights, Cyprus, Egypt, Congo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Haiti.
Les Voltigeurs actually first appeared in Québec (then known as Lower Canada) in 1812 when the regiment was formed to fight in the War of 1812. In 1813, Les Voltigeurs fought valiantly and successfully at the Battles of Châteauguay and Crysler’s Farm, effectively ending the American incursion into what would later become Canada. The original Regiment was disbanded in 1815 and was re-constituted in 1862. Voltigeurs is the English equivalent of a light infantry or a Rifles Regiment.
Over the years, the Regiment has built a legacy of community involvement, camaraderie and “esprit de corps”. Students also join Les Voltigeurs as a means of adding military experience to their academic growth and personal development. Power has supported Les Voltigeurs since 1989, initially through the involvement of the late Paul G. Desmarais, who was drawn to the Regiment’s promotion of Canadian values.
The Regiment’s military band was created in 1866 and remains active today as an enduring link between the historic City of Québec and its relationship to the musical and military arts. In 1880, the band gave what was then one of the first public performances of O Canada at the annual June 24th celebration staged by the local Saint-Jean-Baptist Society. In 1980, the song was officially proclaimed Canada’s national anthem.
In 1964, Les Voltigeurs de Québec opened its own museum in the Québec Military Armoury, home to the Regiment since its completed construction in 1887. The Museum has a treasure trove of artifacts – including weapons, medals and uniforms – that meticulously trace the long and storied history of the Regiment.
Tragically, a fire in 2008 destroyed the armoury which had been built primarily of wood. Through the heroic actions of those who fought the blaze, the contents of the museum were rescued. The approximately 350 soldiers housed at the Armoury were re-located elsewhere in the city. The Federal Government announced after the fire that the historic building would be re-built and is scheduled to open in 2017. It will be named Les Voltigeurs de Québec Military Armoury.
“As citizen-soldiers, the members of Les Voltigeurs de Québec have been a constant presence throughout the history of both Québec and Canada,” said André Desmarais, Deputy Chairman, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Power Corporation and President of the Honorary Members of Les Voltigeurs de Québec. “While Les Voltigeurs have great historical context, it’s also important to realize these men and women are often called upon to do duty for their country, such as with the Canadian mission in Afghanistan in which some 70 Les Voltigeurs members served.”