On 6 September Sheri and I explored the remnants of A-30 Canadian Infantry Training Centre, CA (Camp Utopia) once again. I'm continually amazed at how much things have changed over the thirty plus years I've been going out there. The pine trees that were planted in and around the former camp many years ago still stand tall. However time has stripped them of their former glory and other types of trees are starting to spring up here and there. Still the pines remain ever present, almost like a sentry standing post waiting for those who will never return. Even the wind whistling through the trees sounds somehow different to me. It's almost like it carries the forgotten voices from long ago when this was once a thriving training centre.
As we walk the former roads of the camp, 4-wheelers and other vehicles pass by us every now and then. I reflect quietly to myself if they know the importance of this hallow piece of ground. Between 1942 and 1946 it was one of the best-equipped and most effective Army training centers in all of Canada. This was borne out by the gallant actions of the Carleton & York Regiment in Sicily and Italy and the North Shore Regiment and N.B. Rangers in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany, all of whom were principally made up of personnel receiving their advanced training at Utopia. At the memorial service coming up on September 27th, a WWII Veteran from the 2nd Battalion of the North Shore Regiment will join us to remember all those who served.
As we were heading back to the car Sheri, with her ever present artistic eye, spotted a red maple leaf on the ground. To me, personally, it was a sign that all the work putting the memorial service together over the past seven months has been worth it. The maple leaf is emblematic of our country and always reminds me of those Canadians who gave so much for the cause of peace and freedom we all enjoy today.
Lest we forget!