The Royal Canadian Regiment Pipes and Drums (formerly known as 2 RCR P&D) were originally formed on 01 July 1970. This was a result of the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Black Watch, Royal Highland Regiment of Canada (RHR) being reduced to Nil strength as part of the Land Force restructure. Today the Black Watch, RHR exist as a Militia unit. The soldiers of 2 RHR rebadged in 1970 and formed 2 RCR. The Black Watch Pipe band was given to 2 RCR in trust, and for the last 40 years it was known as 2 RCR Pipes and Drums which was funded and maintained by 2 RCR. Although today’s uniform does not reflect ties to the Black Watch, there are certain Black Watch traditions that remain with the band to this day such as traditional duties (Reveille, charge parades, meal parades) as well as specific pipe tunes associated with a Highland Regiment. To prevent customs and traditions of the past from being lost, The RCR embraced the Black Watch Pipes and Drums and made it part of their own regimental customs and traditions.
With changing ideas and vast cutbacks to the Canadian Forces, most Regimental bands have perished. Customs and traditions are being challenged by today’s conflicting priorities and often forgotten or lost. The Royal Canadian Regiment Pipes and Drums (garrisoned with 2 RCR) are equally challenged and remain to be the only Regular Force Infantry Pipe Band in Canada. In order to sustain this tradition, a decision was taken at the Regimental Executive Committee meeting in Nov 2010 to support the Pipes and Drums on a Regimental level, vice the battalion. On 22 Nov 2010, the band was re-designated as The Royal Canadian Regiment Pipes and Drums, which now reflects the support of all battalions. The tradition of the Pipes and Drums remains a simple yet strong symbol that all members of The Royal Canadian Regiment can identify with.
Over the last 4 decades, the Pipes and Drums have represented 2 RCR, the Regiment, the Canadian Forces and Canada performing in many parts of the British Isles, Continental Europe, and North America. In 1983 members of the Pipes and Drums incorporated Highland dancing into performances, recapturing a tradition of the past where by soldiers would celebrate prior to going into battle and upon victory. 1990 marked a year that gained the Royal Canadian Regiment national and international recognition as the Pipes and Drums won the Nova Scotia Pipe Band Championship and went on to win the North American Pipe Band Championships. In recent years, the band had the privilege of performing at the Edinburgh Tattoo in Scotland for the Queen’s 50th Jubilee, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, Norfolk Virginia Tattoo, Moscow’s Red Square, Canada Remembers tour across Europe and the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. In 2000, in celebration of their 30th anniversary, the Pipes and Drums produced their first CD. In addition to these distinct engagements, they maintain a high tempo supporting local parades, ceremonies and festivals throughout the region and Canada.
Open to all battalions, the 14 members of the current band are Regular Force infantry soldiers who have volunteered primarily from 2 RCR and employed within the Combat Support Company (Kilo Company). All soldiers maintain their core infantry core infantry skills, career advancement and deployability, yet are afforded the opportunity to learn or refine this unique skill set and proudly represent The Royal Canadian Regiment. For anyone wishing to learn how to play these instruments, the band is set for success and equipped to teach infantry soldiers with no experience from across the Regiment. In order to maintain its status as a true infantry pipe band and to ensure its survivability, the band’s succession plan requires infantry soldiers who can serve the Regiment on a different level and help maintain this custom and tradition for years to come. Many former members of the band have gone on to become Canadian Forces Pipe Majors. The band has proudly served the Second Battalion and the Canadian Forces with distinction and will now continue to serve the Regiment well into the 21st century.Pro Patria!
The outline of the cap badge is the eight pointed star of the order of the Garter. The letters VRI are in relief on a pebbled ground with a raised border. The VRI stands for "Victoria Regina Imperatrix" which is Latin for "Victoria Queen Empress". The badge is enclosed by a belt and buckle inscribed with "The Royal Canadian Regiment". When a Royal or Imperial Cypher forms part of a Regiments badge, it is customary to change with each Monarch. However, in 1919 King George V granted permission for the Regiment to wear in perpetuity the VRI on badges and buttons for all time in memory of Queen Victoria, as well as to honour the Regiments gallant performance during World War I. The Regiment is the only unit in the Canadian Armed Forces which is permitted to wear a deceased Monarch's Cypher.
The Maple Leaf Tartan has been approved for issue by National Defence Headquarters for Canadian Forces pipers and drummers not having a specific regimental affiliation. The Regimental Executive Committee, The Royal Canadian Regiment chose to adopt the Maple Leaf Tartan for use by Pipers and Drummers of the Royal Canadian Regiment and has been worn by the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Battalions.
"The Maple Leaf is indigenous to the Dominion of Canada and is the recognized symbol of Canada throughout the world. The tartan captures the natural phenomenon of the changes in colour throughout the year of the Maple Leaf. The green is the early colour of the foliage. The gold appears at the turn of the autumn. The red shows up with the coming of the frost. The brown alludes to the leaf at the end of its life cycle".