Canadian Forces Base Shilo | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Canadian Forces Base Shilo

Shilo, Canadian Forces Base (CFB), is located on the western boundary of Manitoba's Spruce Woods Provincial Forest, 195 km west of Winnipeg and 25 km east of Brandon. A portion of the forest is leased to the federal government for the Shilo military reserve. The base is part of Land Force Western Area (LFWA), which was established in 1991, with its headquarters in Edmonton.

The Assiniboine inhabited the region when the first Europeans arrived to set up trading posts along the Assiniboine River. Homesteaders followed in the 1880s but found the land unsuited to farming. Spruce Woods was created as an experimental forestry reserve 1895. Military planners soon became interested in the site and by 1910 had established Camp Sewell (later Camp Hughes) to the northeast of present-day Shilo. A busy training area during the First World War, it later became a military summer camp and by 1932 a relief camp for the unemployed who began building permanent structures for a new base at Shilo.

Jim Kingsley
During the Second World War Shilo expanded into a permanent, year-round facility, and many Royal Canadian Artillery units have trained here. It became the home station of all the branches of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery in 1960. Shilo is also home to the First Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery and Second Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. From 1974-2000 German troops received tank and artillery training here under a NATO agreement. The training area covers almost 400 km2. It is the largest remaining area of native mixed-grass prairie in Manitoba and one of the largest in Canada. The terrain of the training area varies from open prairie to rolling hills and treed areas to sand dunes. A federal-provincial monitoring committee, the Shilo Environmental Advisory Committee (SEAC), was formed in 1974 to advise on the environmental management of the entire Shilo training area.

Approximately 1400 military and 440 civilian personnel work at Shilo. During the summer training period as many as 1000 additional military personnel undergo basic or qualification training at the base.