The Maritimes’ largest military base has a new name. Canadian Forces Base Gagetown has officially become the 5th Canadian Division Support Base.
The moniker may be a mouthful but the 5th Canadian Division dates back to the First World War and the name change links that history with today’s soldiers.
“The things that the army typically does and the 5th Canadian Division has done in the First World War and the Second World War were moments of particular importance for the country, so they’re things that we can celebrate as part of who we are and use them to inspire those that serve today,” says base commander Col. Craig Dalton.
But the name change is being met with some confusion in Oromocto. Some people in the area say the base will always be Gagetown to them.
“I don’t care for them changing it but after all these years of being in there, it’s still Gagetown to me,” says retired soldier Terry McAuley.
“That’s going to be hard for me to remember,” says Saint John resident Margaret Morrison. “At my age, Camp Gagetown is easier.”
While there are some objections to the name change, others are welcoming it.
“To me, there’s really nothing in a name,” says retired soldier Bobby Simmons. “It’s who the soldiers are and how devoted they are to defending their country.”
“We know that it will take time for people to change,” says division member Brigadier-General Nicolas Eldaoud. “And it’s OK and that’s actually part of the way we change.”
The new name is part of Ottawa’s effort to restore the historical identity of the Canadian Army and the army says the costs are minimal.
They also say that while the name on the sign at the base will be different, that will be the only visible evidence of change.
“What we do here doesn’t change, the people that are here, where their focus lies and what they come to work to do every day doesn’t change,” says Dalton.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Andy Campbell