The role of Canadian universities in selecting and training officers for the armed forces is an important yet overlooked chapter in the history of higher education in Canada. For more than fifty years, the University of Toronto supported the largest and most active contingent of the Canadian Officers' Training Corps (COTC), which sent thousands of officer candidates into the regular and reserve forces.
Based on the rich fund of documents housed in the university archives, Varsity’s Soldiers offers the first full-length history of military training in Toronto. Beginning with the formation of a student rifle company in 1861, and focusing on the story of the COTC from 1914 to 1968, author Eric McGeer seeks to enlarge appreciation of the university’s remarkable contribution to the defence of Canada, the place of military education in an academic setting, and the experience of the students who embodied the ideal of service to alma mater and to country.
About the author
Eric McGeer holds a PhD from the Université de Montréal and teaches at St. Clement’s School in Toronto. He is the author of Words of Valediction and Remembrance: Canadian Epitaphs of the Second World War and several books on warfare and law in ancient Byzantium.
Terry Copp is Professor Emeritus at Wilfrid Laurier University and director of the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies. He is a regular contributor to Legion Magazine and the author of numerous books including The Brigade: The Fifth Canadian Infantry Brigade in World War II, Cinderella Army: The Canadians in Northwest Europe, 1944–1945, and “Fields of Fire”: the Canadians in Normandy
Matt Symes is a PhD Student at Wilfrid Laurier University where he is studying sport and leisure in the Second World War.
- Short-listed, 2021 Heritage Toronto Book Award
Other titles by Eric McGeer
Canada's Dream Shall Be of Them
Canadian Epitaphs of the Great War
The Canadian Battlefields in Italy: The Gothic Line and the Battle of the Rivers
The Gothic Line and the Battle of the Rivers
The Canadian Battlefields in Italy: Sicily and Southern Italy
Sicily and Southern Italy
I Luoghi Della Battaglia
The Canadian Battlefields in Italy: Ortona and the Liri Valley
Ortona and the Liri Valley