Canadian Rangers Expand their Presence in Northwestern Ontario

New Canadian Rangers form a circle during the swearing-in ceremony for the new patrol in Long Lake # 58 First Nation
New Canadian Rangers form a circle during the swearing-in ceremony for the new patrol in Long Lake # 58 First Nation - Photo Sgt. Peter Moon

THUNDER BAY – The Canadian Rangers opened two new patrols and two new detachments in October to expand their ability to serve the people of Northern Ontario.

The patrols are in Aroland First Nation and Long Lake #58 First Nation, two small Ojibway communities about 270 kilometers east of Thunder Bay. The new detachments are in Ginoogaming and Marten Falls First Nations. There are now Canadian Rangers in 27 First Nations.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that you are going to make a difference in your community,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Shane McArthur, the officer commanding the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, which commands the Canadian Rangers in Northern Ontario, during a swearing-in ceremony in Aroland. “You should be proud of yourselves for what you have volunteered to become.”

The Rangers are part-time Canadian Army reservists who assist remote and isolated communities across the Far North of Ontario in a range of emergencies, including searches for missing and overdue people and in evacuations for floods and forest fires.

The new detachment in Ginoogaming will be a sub-component of the Long Lake patrol.  Marten Falls will be a detachment of the Aroland patrol. Marten Falls, on the Albany River, is 170 kilometers north of Aroland.

“I’m very pleased and very happy for my First Nation that we are finally getting the Canadian Rangers,” said Aroland Chief Dorothy Towedo. “It’s something that’s been needed in our community for a long time. Now we have our own Rangers. This is a good day.”

The new patrols and detachments “close a loop in our coverage of Northern Ontario,” Colonel McArthur said, “and it ensures that the Rangers can cover a broader area than we could traditionally. It makes us more efficient and more effective.”

The ceremonies for the patrol openings were attended by the chiefs of the First Nations and by Ronald Beaulieu, mayor of the municipality of Greenstone, as well as by relatives and friends.

Aroland Elder Nora Atlookan smudges the uniform items issued to newly sworn-in Canadian Rangers
Aroland Elder Nora Atlookan smudges the uniform items issued to newly sworn-in Canadian Rangers – Photo Sgt. Peter Moon

 In Aroland Elder Nora Atlookan performed a traditional ceremony in which she smudged the new Rangers and their new uniforms.

Colonel McArthur said he was moved by the ceremonies marking the patrol openings.

“I’ve been a member of the Canadian Armed Forces for 34 years, seven years as a commanding officer, and I have sworn in hundreds of soldiers in my career,” he said. “Until now I have never sworn in a Ranger or opened up a Canadian Ranger patrol. I tell you, it’s an experience.

“I could see the new Canadian Rangers had the same pride as our soldiers in the Canadian Army. They had the same smiles on their faces and showed the same pride as they were sworn in. These new Rangers are going to be directly helping their communities. I am proud of them.”