Thunder Bay·Photos

Canadian Armed Forces train in Kenora, Ont., for high arctic deployment

Nearly 70 Canadian Army reservists from Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwestern Ontario are receiving training in the Kenora area before deploying to Nunavut for, what the military calls, a "sovereignty exercise" in March.

Exercise 'First Run' is taking place on and around Kenora's Lake of the Woods this winter

Nearly 70 Canadian Army reservists from Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwestern Ontario are receiving training in the Kenora area this month before deploying to Nunavut for, what the military calls, a "sovereignty exercise" in March.

Canadian Armed Forces members with the 38th Canadian Brigade Group's Arctic response company, along with full-time members from the 2nd Battalion of the Princess Patricia's Light Infantry and volunteers with Lake of the Woods Search and Rescue are preparing for the northern expedition. In a written release, the Armed Forces said the training will provide basic skills the troops will need when they go north of the 60th parallel.

"Kenora and Lake of the Woods was chosen because it has fairly complex terrain and varied terrain," Lt.-Col. David Fraser was quoted as saying. "Kenora has many more obstacles such as islands as well as challenging elevations."

The winter training in the northwest, which takes place between January 17 – 26, is scheduled to train soldiers for winter navigation, ground search and rescue, basic winter survival as well as skills patrolling on foot and on snowmobiles.

Members of the 38th Canadian Brigade Group's Arctic response company group participated in Exercise 'First Run' in Kenora, Ont. as a way to prepare for their deployment to Nunavut in March. (Corporal Natasha Tersigni / 38 ARCG)

Sgt. Brendon Gogo, an engineer with Winnipeg's 38th Combat Engineer Regiment, was quoted as saying the northwestern Ontario terrain around Kenora was new to him.

"Having been in the Arctic, these are skills you want to have before contending with the extreme weather and environments up north," Gogo said.

According to the Armed Forces, the operation in Nunavut in March is designed to "assert Canada's sovereignty over its northernmost regions, demonstrate the ability to operate in the harsh winter environment ... and enhance its capability to respond to any situation in [the Arctic]."

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