Today’s Army Reserve has evolved from what was once known as the militia. The militia in Canada was made up of groups of citizens who organized as a security force to protect their families and communities when threatened by outside forces. Settlers, equipped with whatever weapon was at hand, collected together for protection and then when the threat ceased, they disbanded and returned to farming or hunting.
In 1673, Count Frontenac, the French Governor of Canada, formalized the notion by directing all adult men to drill together monthly. The British kept and expanded this tradition following the Conquest in 1759. Originally these militias provided logistical support to the British fighting troops rather than being a fighting force.
In 1855 the Militia Act was passed in Canada, officially creating the Militia. (The Air and Naval Reserve were not established until the 1920s).
During the Great War (1914-1918), the Militia evolved from a recruiting agency for the Regular Army into a massive fighting forced called the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Following the Second World War, it underwent post-war reductions and, by 1957, had transformed into a post-nuclear survival force. It survived force reductions again in 1964 and continues to experience ongoing change in today's Army.
The Army Reserve is progressively more active than it has been in years with an increased operational role in the Canadian contribution toward the maintenance of peace and security in the world.