The officers of HQ N.B. Area, in a gesture intended to enhance relations with the civilian community, extended an invitation to prominent citizens and recently retired military officers to become associate members of their Mess. The Mess was an old Army “H” Hut situated on the bank of the River. Some 75 citizens accepted this invitation and subsequently participated in and enjoyed the social life of the Mess. In time, the functions of HQ N.B. Area were transferred to the newly developing Canadian Forces Base Gagetown and the hospital complex, with the exception of the Officer’s Mess, was torn down, sold, or relocated. With the closure of the Officer’s Mess the associate members no longer had a venue for social activities.
In 1969, a group of the associate members formed an ad hoc committee to establish a private gentlemen’s club to be called the Fredericton Garrison Club. The Club was duly incorporated and commenced operation with 110 charter members. A list of the charter members can be seen by clicking on the icon to the left. The Club petitioned the government of Canada to transfer the Officer’s Mess building to the Club. They also requested that the government of New Brunswick lease the land on which the building stood to the Club.
Premier Louis J. Robichaud gave his immediate support and a lease of the land was granted for 49 years commencing in 1975 for a percentage of the assessed value per annum. After two years of negotiations, the government of Canada agreed to transfer the title of the building to the Garrison Club for $10. Structural improvements and extensive renovations to the long vacant building were completed at that time.
The aims and objectives of the Club in accordance with the by-laws are as follows:
“To establish, maintain and conduct a social club for the accommodation of its Members and their friends, to provide club facilities in the nature of those provided by a Services Mess and other conveniences, and generally to afford to Members all the usual privileges, advantages, conveniences and accommodations of a club, and to promote friendly and social intercourse among its Members.
To continue generally to foster the military tradition and connection in the Fredericton area.”
At the first general meeting Brigadier (retired) A.F.G. Knight was elected President. A photo gallery of past presidents can be seen by clicking on the icon to the left. Initially membership in the Club was limited to males; however, times were changing.
In 1992 the Club experienced a disastrous fire which caused a loss of almost all assets. Only a few valuable artifacts were saved including a framed list of the charter members and framed pictures of Brigadier, the Honourable, Milton F. Gregg, VC, Honorary Patron of the Club and Lieutenant-General, E.W. Sansom. The former picture has been presented to The Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society at the University of New Brunswick; the latter has been presented to a family member.
As the Club was not allowed to rebuild on its former site, operations continued on a restricted basis in the facilities of the R.C.A.F. Association. From 1994 -1998 the Club was based at the Lord Beaverbrook Hotel. In the summer of 1998 the Club moved to the Armouries, renewing its close affiliation with the military through the 1st Battalion Royal New Brunswick Regiment Carleton York. In 2002 the Club moved to the Delta Fredericton where it continues to operate to this day. In 2007 the Club and the Delta Fredericton established an official partnership to formalize their long standing and mutually beneficial relationship.
Today the Fredericton Garrison Club continues a 40 year tradition of providing outstanding service and special, exclusive benefits to its members. The Club is justifiably proud of its reputation for providing high quality, social events in a warm atmosphere of friendly camaraderie.