A Brief History of the Squadron
As Canada’s senior militia regiment, the Governor General’s Horse Guards traces an unbroken history back to 1810, when Captain John Button raised the first cavalry troop in Upper Canada (Markham).
In 1839, the Troop became independent of its parent infantry battalion and was named the Governor General’s Body Guard (GGBG) in 1866. George Taylor Denison III expanded the Troop to a Squadron in 1876 and to a Regiment in 1889.
Canada’s oldest cavalry troop, the Markham (Button’s) Troop, formed in 1810, was one of the troops amalgamated into the Body Guard to form the Regiment. In 1936, The Governor General’s Body Guard and the Mississauga Horse amalgamated to form the Governor General’s Horse Guards.
Since its beginnings, the regiment has played a significant role in many events in Canada’s history, such as the War of 1812, the Fenian Raids, the Red River Expedition, the North-west Rebellion, the Boer War and both World Wars. Present day Horse Guards have served on various U.N. peacekeeping and overseas duties, as well as emergency relief duties in Canada.
In 1948, members of The Governor General’s Horse Guards formed the GGHG Riding Club to keep the Cavalry traditions alive. In 1956, members of The GGHG Riding Club reformed The Governor General’s Horse Guards Cavalry Squadron. The newly reformed Squadron rode its first ceremonial duty that same year.
Since that time, the Squadron has been active in various Occasions of State, and has escorted the Queen, the Queen Mother, a number of Governors General and Lieutenant Governors. The Squadron routinely participates in Regimental, State and Civic parades, mounted guard duties and demonstration rides (such as the musical ride, and skill-at-arms demonstrations) Today the Squadron is made up of a mix of civilian and military members, all of whom are volunteers. They all share the same passion for horses and riding, and the desire to keep the Cavalry traditions alive.