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Montreal naval reserve granted Freedom of the City honour to mark 100 years

The Freedom of the City honour was issued by Montreal to its naval reserve,  HMCS Donnacona, to mark 100 years of service on Sept. 23, 2023. The Freedom of the City honour was issued by Montreal to its naval reserve, HMCS Donnacona, to mark 100 years of service on Sept. 23, 2023.

A special ceremony was held in Old Montreal Saturday to mark the centennial anniversary of Canada's Naval Reserve.

Montreal granted Freedom of the City to the local reserve, HMCS Donnacona, an honour permitting the unit to parade through the streets with bayonets in hand.

"It's a very important moment for us to receive [this]," said Sterling Downey, city councillor for the Desmarchais-Crawford district, speaking to CTV News at the ceremony.

"In 1985, they received the Freedom of the City, and then in 2003 it was renewed. And now it is being renewed again today, in 2023."

The HMCS Donnacona is the oldest naval reserve in Canada, also celebrating its 100th anniversary on Saturday.

Uniformed marchers assembled Saturday morning at Place D'Armes.

In a Facebook post promoting the event, the Royal Canadian Navy describes the Freedom of the City ceremony as a "tangible expression of gratitude, appreciation and respect for military units who have dedicated themselves to the protection and service of the country."

Sterling Downey said that although Canada's naval and military units aren't currently defending the country in battle, they play an essential role in society.

He cited military assistance during the 1998 ice storm and in long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Naval reserve units and our military units are very important."  

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