A nervous energy was evident among the two files of officers, which stretched in front of the Munk Centre and St. Hilda's residence. It's no wonder, considering the preparation involved.
"Preparation began well before the event was publicized, and even before the Royal Visit was planned. Indeed, long term planning for the parade began about five years ago," said Sergeant Major Allan Craigie of the Toronto Scottish Regiment, a U of T alumni. "At the individual soldier level, each of our training nights for the month prior to the parade was dedicated to conducting drill."
The two regiments and band marched in fine formation onto the windswept turf of Varsity Stadium. An estimated crowd of 2,500 spectators huddled together on the stadium bleachers despite the frigid temperature, galvanized by the imminent arrival of the royal couple.
The turnout was proof, perhaps, that the royal pair still has some traction here in Toronto. The crowd's patience paid off. Prince Charles and Camilla arrived to much pomp and circumstance.
Wearing a prominent bearskin hat, and crimson and gold uniform, Prince Charles delivered a speech from atop a royal dais in front of the 50 yard line, flanked by military officials, members of the Church, and families of the officers. He addressed the two regiments, many of whom are U of T students or alumni: "Today, both your regiments continue the finest traditions of your predecessors, only this time to be deployed to other regions of the world, including the Golan Heights, Sudan, and of course Afghanistan."
Prince Charles also touched on the importance of such "acts of solidarity" as the highway of heroes, and his own emotions at being a father of a serviceman. He ended by saying: "As you march on with your new Colours, please be aware of your current chief's concern in all you do, but above all the pride I feel in being associated with two such professional regiments. God bless and preserve you all."
After remarks, Prince Charles presented the new Colours to each regiment, a ceremony of great symbolism. Sergeant Major Craigie explains, "the Colours symbolize to us the dedication and sacrifice of those who went before and act to motivate current serving members to perform to the same high standard as our Regimental forebearers."
Following the ceremony, Their Royal Highnesses met with members of the regiments and their families.
For Sergeant Major Craigie, this event emphasizes the relation of the Regiments in the wider community. "Too often the military is seen as something that is separate from society as a whole. Thursday's parade, in the shadow of the Soldier's Tower, demonstrated that the Toronto Scottish are a part of the wider Toronto, and University of Toronto, community. It was in that very same location that we received Colours from the Queen Mother in the 1960s and when she was Queen in 1939."