Custos Borealis: The Military in the Canadian North

Strategic perceptions of the Canadian North changed several times during the twentieth century, influencing the intensity and degree of military presence. Initially, the region was simply ignored. By the mid-1930s, it was perceived as a strategic barrier more formidable than either the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans. During the Second World War and the Cold War, with the views of the United States in the dominance, the area was seen as an approach—initially to Europe and Asia, and later to the heartland of North America. In contemporary Canada, the North is seen as having intrinsic value, and as such deserves to be watched over, protected and, if necessary, defended. By analyzing the interplay between defence, protection of sovereignty, and national development, this book reveals the myriad roles of the Canadian Forces who were assigned military responsibility to be Custos Borealis—Keeper of the North.

Custos Borealis: The Military in the Canadian North, by Ken Eyre, edited with an introduction and afterword by P. Whitney Lackenbauer, foreword by BGen Patrick Carpentier. xliii, 351 pp. Peterborough: North American and Arctic Defence and Security Network, 2020.

About the Author

Kenneth C. Eyre, Ph.D., served as an infantry and airborne officer in the Canadian Army from 1960-82. He retired from the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre in 2009.

About the Editor

P. Whitney Lackenbauer, Ph.D., is Canada Research Chair in the Study of the Canadian North at Trent University and leads the North American and Arctic Defence and Security Network (NAADSN).

Table of Contents

Foreword by BGen Patrick Carpentier, i

Ken Eyre, Custos Borealis, and the Military History of the Canadian North by P. Whitney Lackenbauer,  v

Preface, 1

  1. Introduction, 5
  2. False Start: The Yukon Field Force: 1898-1900, 15
  3. Hiatus: The Empty Years: 1900-1922, 31
  4. Nation Build I: The Interwar Years 1922-1939, 37
  5. Opening The North: Northern Military Projects during the Second World War, 65
  6. The Defence of a Strategic Frontier: The Aerial Defence of North America, 103
  7. Northern Approaches: The Defence of Northern Lands, 121
  8. The Other Ocean: Naval Operations in the North, 145
  9. Nation Building II: The Postwar Years: 1945-1964, 165
  10. Resurgence: The Military in the Contemporary North, 201
  11. Conclusion: The Land of Tomorrow, 229

Afterword, 239

The Canadian Armed Forces and the North Since 1975: A Brief Survey by P. Whitney Lackenbauer, 239

Selected Bibliography by Ken Eyre, 287

Further Reading by P. Whitney Lackenbauer, 295