Richmond, BC – A military parade and ceremony will kick off a special Freedom of the City ceremony for the newly-created 39 Service Battalion of the Canadian Armed Forces at Richmond City Hall on Saturday, April 12.

The Freedom of the City ceremony will begin just before 1 p.m. Saturday and include a ceremonial parade down Granville Avenue from Minoru Park to City Hall. The parade will feature 39 Service Battalion and the Band of the 15th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery. Members of the Richmond RCMP will “challenge” the parade as it arrives on City Hall grounds. A special ceremony will follow the parade on the plaza at City Hall.

“This is a rare occasion as we invoke a special tradition to honour Canada’s military and the members of the new 39 Service Battalion,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “We invite the entire community to join us as we bestow Freedom of the City on 39 Service Battalion.”

Freedom of the City is a traditional honour granted to military units based in a community. The tradition dates back to the 17th century in Edinburgh, Scotland. BC’s Community Charter provides for municipal councils, through a unanimous vote, to bestow Freedom of the City on a distinguished individual or distinguished unit of the Canadian Armed Forces or another country. Freedom of the City provides ceremonial permission for military units to parade through the city.

Other local dignitaries and representatives from a number of other local military service and public safety organizations are also expected to attend the event.

39 Service Battalion, part of 39 Canadian Brigade Group, the Canadian Army in British Columbia, is a newly-created unit, which will be headquartered out of the Colonel Sherman Armoury in Richmond. It was created through amalgamation of 12 Service Battalion, based in Richmond, 11 Service Battalion from Vancouver Island and the reorganized Chilliwack Detachment. 12 Service Battalion had previously been granted Freedom of the City by Richmond in 1993.