Our History

Although formally established as Warriors' Day in 1921, military parades and demonstrations have been an important tradition of the Canadian National Exhibition since its inception in 1879. Initially recognizing the importance of allocating a specific day to pay formal tribute to the Veterans of the Great War of 1914-1918, the Warriors' Day Parade Council was established to ensure that ongoing tribute be paid to the ex-service men and women of Canada.

For more information on the parade's historical background see the article by The Ontario Heritage Foundation, 2001.

Read about the Ontario Heritage Foundation historical plaque established in 2001.

For a history of the Competitions including photos of the trophies click the button below.

For an extensive and growing collection of photos of the parade see our Photo Album Page.

A Look Back At Our Significant Historical Events

  • 1921 - Following a procession through the Dufferin Gates, the first salute was taken by Lord Byng of Vimy, then Governor General of Canada. read more about 1921
  •  Nursing Sister Madeleine Jaffray was an honoured guest at the first Warriors' Day Parade and rode in the lead car. Read a wonderful account of her life authored by family member Mr. John Alliston. Click here to access the pdf.
  • 1927 - A special celebration was featured on Warriors' Day to commemorate the Sixtieth Anniversary of Canadian Confederation with the dedication of the Princes' Gates by HRH Edward, Prince of Wales and his brother Prince George. Having lined Lakeshore Blvd. to greet the Prince, the military parade followed behind the Royal Party through the gates making its way into the Grandstand for the final review.
  • 1930 - The Toronto Scottish Regiment was scheduled to be conveyed by aiship from Niagara especially fo the parade. Warriors' Day closed that evening with a performance at the Grandstand titled "A Grand Military Searchlight Tattoo."
  • 1939 - With the outbreak of the Second World War, the Warriors' Day Parade expanded and then was subsequently cancelled along with the CNE for the years 1942-1946. Occupation of the Exhibition Grounds in wartime by the military temporarily halted the parade but the Warriors' Day Parade Council remained formed and ready to continue the tradition of the parade with the reopening of the CNE in 1947. The Parade route in 1947 was altered to proceed along Lakeshore Boulevard to bypass the site of the Grandstand which had been destroyed by fire late in 1946.
  • 1959 - The official opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway with the showing of a very large contingent of NATO Fleet Warships. The ships' companies from these various ships participated in the Warriors' Day Parade. The salute was taken by the Admiral of Fleet, the Earl Mountbatten of Burma.
  • 1967 - Canada's 100th Birthday was celebrated in 1967 and all provincial Premiers were in attendance at the Warriors' Day Luncheon. The salute was taken by Lieutenant Governor, W.A.B. Anderson, Commandant, Mobile Forces. It should be noted that the members participating in this Warriors' Day Parade formed the largest group ever known to the Parade.
  • 1973 - The salute was taken by Lord Lovat, Chief of Clan Fraser of Lovat, renowned Leader of Commandos.
  • 1987 - The 60th Anniversary of the Royal Canadian Legion. The salute was taken by Dominion Legion President, Mr. Steve Dunston.
  • 1994 - The fiftieth anniversary of D-Day. CSM Charles Cromwell Martin, DCM, MM, CM took the salute on behalf of all D-Day veterans. Charles Martin landed on Juno Beach on June 6th, 1944 with A Company, 9 Platoon of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, one of the first persons to enter Normandy.
  • 1995 - The theme for the Parade this year was "Canada Remembers," a tribute to the 50th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War. The Reviewing Officer was Major General (Ret'd Lewis W. MacKenzie.
  • 1996 - This year marked the 75th anniversary of the Warriors' Day Parade. The salute was taken by Brigadier-General (Ret'd) Peter A.G. Cameron, OMM, CStJ, CD.
  • 2003 - For the first time in the history of the parade, other than during the Second World War, the event was cancelled. A major power failure which affected more than fifty million people in Canada and the United States forced the closure of the CNE during its opening weekend.
  • 2010 - Our 89th Parade celebrated the 65th Anniversary of VE Day, 200 Years of Cavalry and The Governor General's Horse Guards, the 150th Anniversary of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada and The Canadian Naval Centennial. Read more
  • 2011 - In 2011 we celebrated our 90th year. We are very proud of our dedicated volunteers who continue to make the Parade possible year after year. Here's to many more in the years ahead! We are dedicated to honouring our Veterans through the Warriors' Day Parade.Read More
  • 2012 - In 2012 the Warriors' Day Parade marked the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812. The grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition and surrounding area played a major role in this conflict. Read More