48th Highlanders of Canada

48th Highlanders of Canada. Toronto militia regiment formed in 1891, and with a distinguished record of active service in both world wars. The original roster included a small bugle band and several pipers; but the pipe band (under Robert Ireland) and the military band (under John Griffin) both date from 1892. Pipe-Major Ireland, remembered for his tune 'Lieut.-Colonel John I. Davidson,' was succeeded in 1895 by Norman MacSwayed, and MacSwayed in 1898 by Farquhar Beaton, known for his tunes 'The Midlothian Amateur Pipe Band' and 'Colonel D.M. Robertson'. Pipe-Major Beaton led the band until 1913 and experimented with part-playing on Highland bagpipes. In wartime, when the band accompanied the regiment to Europe, it was considerably augmented and sometimes had more than one pipe-major; but the principal pipe-major between 1913 and 1952 was James R. Fraser. He and his successors Archie Dewar 1952-65, J. Ross Stewart 1965-75, Reay Mackay 1975-85, and Alexander Dewar from 1985, have confirmed the band's musical reputation and led it to victory in many competitions.

Under Capt John Slatter, bandmaster 1896-1944, the military band became the foremost unit of its kind in Canada and toured widely in Canada and the USA. It was the first kilted brass band in Canada. In 991 it continued to perform on numerous occasions, both with the Pipes and Drums and in its own right. Subsequent bandmasters have been Warrant Officer Albert Dobney 1944-54, Capt (later Major) Donald Keeling 1954-77, Capt Thomas Whiteside 1977-83, Capt William J. Hughes 1983-8, and Capt Roland G. White from 1988. Keeling and all later bandmasters have also been designated 'music directors'.

Both bands performed in Toronto at the Trooping of the Colour in 1967, the 48th Highlanders' Tattoo in 1969, and the Scottish World Festival annually at the CNE 1972-81. In 1981 both bands, joined by bands of both the Toronto Scottish and the Royal Regiment of Canada, performed at the great Wembley Stadium involving 1600 musicians. In 1985 both bands performed in Holland for the 40th anniversary of the liberation of Holland. In 1987 both bands were invited to perform in Bermuda. Also in 1987 the pipe band participated in the Nova Scotia Tattoo. In 1990, still the largest military pipe band in the Commonwealth, the Pipes and Drums of the 48th Highlanders of Canada continued to perform both on military occasions and for many concerts, dances, and other engagements, and to tour in the USA, Scotland, and Canada. The military band also continued to perform frequently, in its own right and with the Pipes and Drums. In 1991 the regiment marked its 100th anniversary but no special celebrations took place involving the bands.