B.C.’s army brigade gets new HQ
By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver | Sunday, September 25, 2016 2:32:16 PDT PM
British Columbia’s arm of the Canadian Army received a new headquarters in Vancouver this past weekend, based next to the city’s reserve infantry regiment, which also just received some much-needed seismic upgrades.
In all, the upgrades were a $55-million investment for the two facilities at 1650 Burrard St., to seismically upgrade the Seaforth Armoury — where Vancouver’s infantry are based — and to construct the B.C. army headquarters building, named after Major-General Bert Hoffmeister, who served as the commander of Canadian forces in the Pacific during the Second World War.
For Hon. Lieutenant-Colonel Rod Hoffmeister, the announcement is particularly special — the building is named after his father.
“This is the headquarters of the 39 Brigade, Canadian Army. Now, 39 Brigade is made up just of reserve units from around the province, like the Seaforth. We don’t have any battalion of permanent force soldiers in B.C., we’re all reservists here ... and it’s for co-ordinating the operations of all the reserve units within British Columbia,” he said.
“(My father) was a very highly decorated WW2 soldier. He led the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada into battle in Siciliy in 1943, and rose to become a major general and commanded the 5th Canadian Armoured Division in Italy and North Europe, and ended his wartime career as commander of the Canadian Forces in the Pacific. He passed in 1999.”
The announcement, made Saturday, also marked the completion of four years’ worth of seismic upgrades at the 80-year-old Seaforth Armoury and included a military parade to celebrate the occasion. The building contains offices, a parade square, and in addition to housing the Seaforth Highlanders, is also home to two cadet groups — the 72nd Seaforth and the Bell Irving Air Squadron.
The new 39 Brigade headquarters, meanwhile, stands four-storeys tall and is made of office space, meeting rooms, classrooms, storage, a fitness centre, medical and dental clinic and a support centre for military families. The headquarters was formerly based at 4050 W. 4th Ave.
The 39 Brigade is made up of two armoured reconnaissance units, two artillery units, an engineering unit, a communications unit, four infantry units and a support unit.