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Captain Walter F. Belfontaine,
Captain Walter F. Belfontaine CD was born on 15 July 1923 and was a veteran of the Canadian Army serving at Normandy and after as well as in Korea. He was the RQMS of the 2nd. Field Engineer Regiment. By the late 1970s Captain Belfontaine was a highly experienced and regarded Army Cadet Officer (Cadet Instructors List). He was an instructor at the CIL School at CFB Borden teaching new CIL officers the necessary skills to function in the military effectively as cadet instructors, and a civilian employee of the Department of National Defense at CFB Downsview, Toronto. During the summer Captain Belfontaine specialized in teaching the Cadet Rifle Coach Course at CFB Borden from which the best cadet marksmen competed at the annual Bisley rifle matches in England. He joined the prestigious Royal Canadian Military Institute in March 1976 and remained a member until his death in August 2002.
Upper Canada College originally formed a Rifle Company in 1860 as a volunteer 11th company attached
to 2nd Battalion, Volunteer Militia Rifles of Canada shortly after it was founded in Toronto. It had a proud
history, including the achievement of Battle honours for the Fenian Raids , from that time until 1975 when
the emphasis on Parade Drill to the exclusion of other military skills and an overall reduction in interest in
things military in Canadian society resulted in the disestablishment of the corps.
When Upper Canada College approached the Department of National Defense, the Queen’s Own Rifles
of Canada and other supporting parties to recreate the Upper Canada College Rifles Cadet Corps in
1977, the Toronto Area Cadet Office requested Captain Walter Belfontaine take the assignment to
reestablish the cadet corps as one that both embraced the Cadet Star Program of staged development
and also as a UCC Military Science Club. The latter would emphasize field adventure training, small unit
tactical training, and competitive small bore shooting mainly indoors at Moss Park Armoury using corps
Anschutz target rifles and Lee-Enfield .22 rifles. Full bore shooting on Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk. I .303 British
military rifles was conducted using the ten LE rifles assigned to the corps by the Area Cadet Office as
well as a pair of Lee-Enfield telescopic sight equipped LE sniper rifles. Colonel Wilson, commanding
officer of the QOR of C, Captain Roy Goldick, the Royal Canadian Regiment Liaison Officer to the
QOR, Major Peter Fairclough CD commander of the airborne company of the QOR, and others of the
QOR provided sterling service in the first years of the reestablished corps. Also critical to success were
the small cadre of senior cadets at UCC who used so much of their personal time to participate in and
promote corps activities .
Captain Belfontaine used his extensive network of contacts to recruit three additional individual to
complete the original complement of officers. Captain Gilbert W. Gray CD became the second in
command and Supply Officer, a position for which he was well qualified due to his previous military
service and the fact that he was a civilian employee of the DND at CFB Downsview in logistics.
Lieutenant Stephen Burns became the Training Officer, his extensive outdoor skills and experience
and natural leadership qualities being especially important to the new corps. Lieutenant Clive Michael
Gardner was the final original officer recruit. He was a competitive small bore rifle shooter, Shooting
Federation of Canada rated Shooting Instructor, and Hunter Safety Instructor for the Ontario Ministry of
Captain Belfontaine established his Headquarters and Orderly Room above the Squash Courts at UCC
and he and his officers and senior cadets turned it into offices, a supply room and armoury.
This was the original military team and establishment that Captain Belfontaine led at UCC from 1977 to
1982, joined along the way by some very important Civilian Instructors.