The history of The Queen’s York Rangers (1st American Regiment) (RCAC) and its historical forebears is inextricably linked with the geography of North America and especially Toronto and southern Ontario.
In the 1750s soldiers led by Major Robert Rogers ranged throughout the British colonies, using canoes and boats in the summer and snowshoes in the winter. Rogers’ Rangers were involved in many of the key events during the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War) in the years leading up to the beginning of the American Revolutionary War.
In 1776 Robert Rogers raised a regiment of Loyalists and formed the Queen’s Rangers. Command of the Queen’s Rangers was eventually handed over to John Graves Simcoe, who led the Queen’s Rangers for the remainder of the conflict, again employing the ranging style of warfare in many of the key battles from 1776 to 1781. For their loyal service to King George III, the Queen’s Rangers were given the title of ‘1st American Regiment’.
After some time in England, Simcoe returned to North America and took up the position of Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada in 1791. He quickly raised a Corps of Infantry, soon named the Queen’s Rangers, who were tasked to spend two days a week on military exercises, two for their private advantage, and two on public works. It is the latter duty that has given us the network of roads that crisscross southern Ontario and the grid of streets that formed the settlement of York, now Toronto.
Many of our major roads were named by Simcoe for the civic and military leaders of his day, including Dundas, Yonge and Jarvis to name a few.
Rangers Roads is a way to capture and share these stories of the roads and the Ranger’s history. Each story is written by a Ranger historian and recorded by a current Ranger.
Below is just the start. Please take time to listen, share the links, and watch for more:
The Rangers Roads Audio Series Yonge & Eglinton:
The Rangers Roads Audio Series Saint Mary’s Churchyard:
The Rangers Roads Audio Series Orchard Park:
The Rangers Roads Audio Series Castle Frank:
The Rangers Roads Audio Series Battery Park: