Chasse-Galerie: 9143 Bruce McAlpine Back for a Fourth Trip
Article by: 27832 OCdt (II) Pablo Cardona
The tradition of the Chasse-Galerie dates back to Canada’s earliest settlers. As with most legends, the origins of the Chasse-Galerie aren’t exactly known and everyone’s version of the story is slightly different. However, every version of the story is based on a “bewitched flying canoe” travelling great distances to return home.
Since 2001, ex-cadets of the Canadian Military Colleges have re-enacted the pioneers’ journey. Beginning in Ottawa, a group of 15 ex-cadets canoe 202 km in seven days along the Rideau Canal and end the trip Kingston. The trip is definitely a one-of-a-kind adventure, not for the faint of heart. Bruce McAlpine will be joining the crew for his 4th trip this September.
Bruce McAlpine graduated from RMC with an Engineering Degree in 1972 and later earned a Master’s in Business Administration at York University. He’s taught at the University of Toronto and at a Primorski State University in Russia.
He has worked in the executive search business since 1988. The “project based” career takes him on searches all over the world. He has distinguished himself as a national board member of his industry and is a past President of the Association of Canadian Search, Employment & Staffing Services. Apart from being a successful business leader, he devotes much of his time to charity, including the Children’s Aid Society.
In addition to his professional life, the Toronto-based businessman has also been on his countless adventures. As an Infantry officer, he completed his Jungle Warfare course in Australia and the Escape & Evasion Instructors Course in Holland. He has the distinction of completing full marathons on every continent, including Antarctica. Recently he and his daughters have been completing multi-day hikes, covering the West Coast Trail and the Chilkoot Trail (Alaska to the Yukon, trail of the 1897 Gold Rush).
Mr. McAlpine has participated in the Chasse-Galerie since 2001. He is the cook and barista on the trip, and the crew loves his cappuccinos at break time! He’s enjoyed every single trip and loves the physical exertion, commitment and people with shared values. Despite being a busy professional, he does “make time to do it” and adjusts his business schedule accordingly. A particular highlight of his past Chasse-Galerie’s has been completing the 2011 trip with his daughter, 20800 Cindy (Class of ’97).
To prepare for the weeklong canoe trip, the former infantry officer has been focusing on “maintain health including being fit.” This includes plenty of hiking, walking and days where he swims as many as 50 laps.
The class of ’72 graduate always had an active interest in sports. Attending Military College “crystallized his experience.” Athletics became an important part of his life as it let him “blow off steam” in an intellectually demanding environment. It also “set patterns for life” and allowed him to maintain a high level of fitness. At the same time, he helped make history in a different way while at CMR. In his prep year in 1967, his roommate returned from Christmas vacation with a pet monkey. The two CMR students took care of the monkey until one night the monkey escaped during an inspection. The two roommates were reminded not to have monkeys in their rooms and unfortunately the monkey was expelled from CMR.
After graduation, he spent his four years in the CAF as an infantry officer with the Royal 22e Régiment (Van-Doo). He enjoyed the “variety of work and responsibility” and held various appointments, including platoon commander, battalion ops officer and company commander. The highlight of his time with the Van-Doos was spending six months in Cyprus, peace keeping with the UN Forces.
The most challenging part of the job was easily the three week winter exercises every January in Valcartier north of Quebec City. In the most adverse conditions it was important to “rise above and lead” and to “give it your all.” As a leader it’s “not about personal achievement” but about making sure that your team succeeds.
After his military career, Mr. McAlpine lost touch with RMC until he heard about the first Chasse-Galerie in 2000. The Chasse-Galerie let him reconnect with the ex-cadet community and he is now the Vice-President of the RMC Club. Beyond this, he’s realized how much of an impact his time at Military College had and that “TDV will carry you a lifetime.”
9143 Bruce McAlpine is one of 13 Ex-Cadets and two current cadets who will raise money for the Danny McLeod Athletic Endowment Fund by paddling a voyageur canoe from Ottawa to Kingston this September, 2016. You can make a pledge or donation at www.rmcclubfoundation.ca.
Our aim at e-Veritas is to conduct one-on-one interviews with all 15 participants (in no particular order) over the next few months of e-Veritas Issues. Ten down; five to go!
8788 Geoff Bennett ‘71
8926 Ray Hook ‘71
9143 Bruce McAlpine ‘72
8710 Chuck Lemieux ‘71
27173 William Carpentier (RMCC) ‘18
27369 Andréanne Tremblay (RMCSJ) ‘20