The Canadian Pavilion at Bisley was commissioned and constructed by the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association in 1897, built almost entirely from materials shipped from Canada. Most of the funding for its construction was provided by the Government of Canada. The building was designed to house the DCRA’s rifle team for them to participate in the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) summer shooting competitions.
Originally named ‘the Diamond Jubilee Memorial Canadian Pavilion’ in honour of celebrations surrounding the 60-year reign of Queen Victoria in 1897, the DCRA building at Bisley soon became known as ‘the Canadian Pavilion’ or ‘Canada House’. In 1975, in an impressive ceremony, the building was re-dedicated ‘the Macdonald Stewart Canadian Pavilion’ in recognition of the long-time support of the Mcdonald Stewart Foundation.
During World War Two, the building was loaned to the Canadian Army and served as an administrative headquarters. It was returned to the DCRA after the war. In recent years, the Canadian Armed Forces have resumed their practice of sending teams to Bisley to participate in the Services Skill in Arms and NRA Service Conditions Matches. After Remembrance Day ceremonies at Brookwood Military Cemetery each year, the Canadian contingent retires to the Pavilion to further reflect on its legacy and connections to the UK.
The Canadian Pavilion at Bisley is not only an important part of Canada’s history and heritage but that of Bisley Camp itself.