Last week, cottagers in the Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, and Muskoka areas may have heard the rumblings of military vehicles. Don’t worry, cottage country isn’t being invaded. The influx of army green trucks cruising along Ontario’s regional roads was all part of a military exercise called Arrowhead Guardian 23.
Between August 17 and 27 personnel from the 33 Canadian Brigade Group were transporting army reserve soldiers from training facilities in Petawawa, Cedar Springs, Winona, and Borden to the 4th Canadian Division Training Centre in Meaford on Georgian Bay. Arrowhead Guardian was the largest army reserve exercise in recent years, involving 800 soldiers from across Ontario. The goal of the exercise was to practice international stability operations with allies.
As part of the exercise, soldiers conducted range work at the training centres in Petawawa, Cedar Springs, Winona, and Borden, confirming their skills with rifles and machine guns before being transported to Meaford for team training.
“[In Meaford], the individuals are grouped into sections (8-10) where they fire live ammunition at reactive targets,” a spokesperson from the 4th Canadian Division said in an email. “As that is achieved, the sections are grouped into platoons (30) where they conduct a similar range on a larger scale. The platoons are then grouped into companies (100) and the training switches to blank ammunition.”
During the training exercises, soldiers received combat support from artillery, engineers, logisticians, maintainers, medics, and military police.
The training exercises wrapped on August 27 with soldiers transported back to their homes via military vehicle. It’s possible cottagers heading back to the city on Sunday may have passed some of the military vehicles. Convoys transporting the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment travelled south before heading east on the 401, while units from the Algonquin Regiment and the Irish Regiment of Canada—both based in northern Ontario—travelled through Muskoka along Highways 400 and 69.
The spokesperson for the 4th Canadian Division said the military vehicles’ drivers are regularly trained on safe operation and convoy drills, but members of the public should still be cautious when approaching a military vehicle.