What better way to celebrate 150 years of Canada’s confederation with one of the oldest militias in the country, the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (Duke of Edinburgh’s Own), this Canada Day.
The Camerons’ annual Canada Day BBQ is an excellent opportunity to learn about and share in the regiment’s rich history.
Members of the public and military are welcome to attend the event, which is located at the Cartier Square Drill Hall, a heritage site. Seldom open to the public, the Cartier Square Drill Hall, embellished with various paraphernalia, is an excellent place to immerse yourself in not only the history of the regiment but also of the city.
Anyone attending can learn about the regiment’s history and personal experiences from regimental members themselves.
“The young lads come in they’re interacting with the public that’s coming. Our guys aren’t setback and stay by themselves. They greet all the people coming in and enjoy the day as a regimental family, if you will. It’s an opportunity to meet and share some of their stories with the public who have an interest in our regiment,” said Gerry McCauley, Vice President, Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa Foundation.
Once again this year, people can enjoy craft beers, thanks to a partnership with the Muskoka Brewery, and everything from hot dogs, sausages and the regiment’s famous haggis burgers.
Haggis is considered to be a Scottish tradition served wherever Highlanders meet.
The haggis burgers are prepared by McCauley, a self-proclaimed haggis burger expert. McCauley and his wife start preparing the haggis meat the afternoon before the event.
“I have the hay boxes from the military to keep the haggis really hot for the day. Then I use a rice steamer at my table to just bring everything a little hotter and a little moist, by adding steam to it. Then I just swipe a big spoon of haggis into a bun, and you’ve got your haggis burger,” explained McCauley.
On the day of, McCauley usually go through 50 pounds of haggis.
While enjoying their haggis burgers, attendees are also treated with a series of mini concerns performed by the Regimental Pipes and Drums.
Also this year, for the first time, a recruiting table will be setup at the BBQ.
“So, anybody who wants to ask questions about the Cameron Highlanders, and what they do as a reserve unit, can ask the recruiting officers,” noted Doug Palmer, President of the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa Foundation.
Overall, the Camerons’ annual Canada Day BBQ not only gives Ottawa a taste of craft beers and haggis burgers but also brings together regimental members, other military members and members of the public.
“The BBQ is a must-do in terms of the atmosphere.
“It’s an opportunity for folks, particularly the military families in the National Capital Region, to come out and experience the Cartier Square Drill Hall, which they might not have been able to do. It’s very military friendly, and we’re happy to see anybody from any part of the military come out and enjoy a hamburger and hotdog with us, and listen to the pipe music, and then have fun on the hill, because the hill is going to be very busy this year,” said Palmer.
The Camerons’ Canada Day BBQ will be held at the Cartier Square Drill Hall in Ottawa, which is situated immediately beside Ottawa City Hall.
The BBQ will start at 11 a.m. Admission is free.