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Robert Land Academy: Wikis


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Robert Land Academy is Canada's only non-university level military academy. Located in the former township of Gainsborough on the north shores of the Welland River five kilometres west of the hamlet of Wellandport in West Lincoln, Ontario, the Academy (shortformed RLA) began to accept students in 1978.

The Academy is an all-boy's institution. On average, a total of 160 students between Grade 6 (third last year of elementary school) and Grade 12 (last year of high school) are enrolled at the Academy during any one school year.

All students enroled at the Academy live in military-style dormatories located on-campus throughout the school year. The barracks are normally named in tribute to famous military figures in pre-Confederation Canadian history, such as Major-General Isaac Brock (leader of British forces at the Battle of Queenston Heights during the War of 1812) and Major John Butler (leader of the irregular militia regiment named after him, Butler's Rangers, formed for service in the American Revolutionary War).

The Academy is serviced by over 75 staff.



The school itself is named after Robert Land, a United Empire Loyalist originally from New York who migrated into what later became Upper Canada with his family in the mid-1780s, in the wake of the American Revolutionary War. Land is often seen as one of the first inhabitants of modern-day Hamilton, Ontario. The Academy's founder and current headmaster, Mr. Scott Bowman, is a direct descendant of Land.

The Academy's Purpose

According to the Academy's website, the military theme allows for the reinforcement of the importance of organization, teamwork, discipline and personal responsibility. Students admitted to the Academy are chosen for their potential for success. Students admitted to the Academy have, while trying to succeed in the public school system, experienced difficulties related to attitude, concentration, focus or respect. Other students have been diagnosed with various learning disorders, including Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and various forms of learning disability. For the most part, students attending the Academy often experience an increase of at least one full academic grade within their first year of attendance. The Academy's website also asserts that, during the 2008 school year, 100% of graduating students who applied gained admission to the university or college of their choice.

Motto and Insignia

The Academy's motto is Deus et Patria (Latin for "God and Country"). The Academy's crest originally portrayed a country church in a forest, all seated on a brown-and-gold lanyard with the Academy motto on a scroll underneath. The current crest portrays the church over the background of the centre-piece of the National Flag of Canada (an 11-point stylized red maple leaf), the lanyard and motto/scroll remaining the same as before. In earlier versions of the Academy's crest, the five values (see below) were emblazoned on a circlet around the crest. The present crest displays the church, lanyard, scroll and maple leaf on a circular white field trimmed in gold, the white trillium flower of Ontario on the base. This badge is capped by a coronet and framed by two wreathes of five maple leaves conjoined at the bottom with a blue scroll bearing the Academy's name.

Affiliations With The Canadian Armed Forces

The Academy has an in-house unit of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets, #2968 Robert Land Academy Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, which is also affiliated with The Lincoln and Welland Regiment (the Niagara Region's local Canadian Forces army reserve infantry unit) and The Royal Canadian Regiment (one of the Canadian Forces' three Regular Force infantry regiments). Membership in #2968 RCACC was mandatory for grade 9 students of the 08/09 year.

The Five Values of Robert Land Academy

The Academy emphasizes five core social values in everything it strives to teach to its students, within and beyond the bounds of the class: Loyalty, Labour, Courage, Commitment and Honour. As the Academy's parent's handbook explains:

  • Loyalty as a concept is self explanatory. How one makes it tangible as a value determines the nature of one's conduct. Modelling plays an important role. It is paramount that loyalty is displayed to each other and the Academy. We expect loyalty as a matter of course and it is rewarded when displayed. The necessity and benefits of loyalty to something outside and other than oneself must be demonstrated in a concrete fashion, through verbal explanations and providing opportunities to demonstrate its value in life situations. By graduation, each Cadet should understand and be capable of displaying loyalty to something greater and other than himself.
  • Labour for Robert Land Academy Cadets entails far more than the routine performance of menial jobs. We are committed to labour as a way of life and to the importance of fulfilling one's life work with an attitude of self-respect as well as respect for the labour of others. We view life itself as labour, in the sense that one must work for what one earns, whether rights or remuneration. This is not to say that we believe life to be drudgery; rather, as Robert Land himself believed, life is a toiling after the best, in the realms of work, rest and play. We instill this value in our Cadets by demanding from them their best in all activities. All Cadets share in the work done at the Academy, and their work must meet our standard of excellence. Our Cadets also labour in academics, life skills and extra curricular activities, and again, they must labour to be the best they can be.
  • Our Cadets are taught to have the Courage to speak their minds, act on their convictions and be able to finish what they start, despite hardships. With courage our Cadets will learn to master their limitations and exploit their strengths in order to achieve maximum success. It should be noted that courage is not the absence of fear, but its conquest. The person who has never been afraid has never had to display courage.
  • Commitment is perhaps the most fundamental of our values. Robert Land's life was based on a commitment to principles and institutions which were not accepted universally. For this he suffered considerably. Commitment breeds endurance in adversity, a necessary attribute for anyone seeking success. Cadets must learn that commitment means binding one's self to someone or something else, and that such binding is both necessary for one's development and beneficial to one's personality. Cadets will be taught to show commitment to each other, to the Academy and its values, and to excellence in all their endeavours.
  • Cadets at Robert Land grow to Honour themselves, their families, their friends and the Academy. The service theme facilitates the development of all of the values in our Cadets, especially honour. Through the continual insistence of honour for the values of our Academy, our Cadets will learn respect for a code of conduct that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives. The honour associated with the life of Robert Land should be a fine example to the entire Robert Land community.

Activities Outside The Class

As part of the Academy curriculum, the staff provide, atop regular classes, the following for the student body: monitored evening and weekend study halls to permit homework to be completed on time; an extensive physical education and outdoor sports program (including Academy teams which compete in local provincial-sponsored tournaments with nearby public schools); extensive after-school extracurricular clubs; and adventure training.

Ranks Structure Within The Academy


Student Ranks

All students, on first being accepted at the Academy, hold the rank of Recruits. The first phase of non-academic training at the Academy for new students, normally lasting a month's period, is always referred to as "Recruit Period." On passing Recruit Period, the student is then promoted to Cadet and given the right to wear the Academy's crest on their berets as a cap badge.

After being promoted to the rank of Cadet, students at the Academy, on proving their ability to demonstrate rudimentary leadership and organizational skills, may then be promoted to the rank of Barman, which is normally marked by a silver bar similar to the insignia of a United States Army lieutenant.

On reaching Barman rank, the student may then advance in either one of two ways:

  • If the student shows exceptional organizational skills but does not demonstrate equivalent leadership skills, he can then be promoted to the rank of Double Barman (marked with two silver bars similar to the insignia of a U.S. Army captain).
  • If the student does show exceptional leadership skills, he can then become a cadet non-commissioned officer in the Academy, virtually the same as what happens in any Royal Canadian Army Cadet unit. In the Academy however, some elements of the pre-1968 Canadian Army rank system is still followed, as the first rank beyond Barman is addressed as Lance Corporal. After that come the ranks of Corporal, Master Corporal, Sergeant and Warrant Officer. The rank of Warrant Officer is the highest student rank in the Academy; the position the incumbent holds on obtaining this rank is addressed as "Head Boy."

Staff Ranks

Staff at the Academy are organized into three general categories:

  • Academy officers
  • Academy staff non-commissioned officers
  • Academy "civilian" staff (staff who do not wear uniforms)

Academy officers normally wear the officer rank insignia which existed in the Canadian Army prior to 1968 ("pips" and crowns). Teachers wear a lieutenant's two "pip" stars, senior teachers and company commanders wear a captain's three "pip" stars and the Headmaster wears a lieutenant colonel's crown and one "pip".

Academy staff non-commissioned officers are normally composed of the Academy Sergeant-Major (ASM) and his immediate subordinates, the Company Sergeants-Major (CSM). The ASM and the CSMs handle all daily drill and other military-theme classes at the Academy.

Academy "civilian" staff (including the staff running the Academy kitchen, the groundskeepers and the administrative staff) do not wear military-style uniforms and do not hold an Academy rank.

Criticism Of The Academy

In 1998, the disciplinary practices of the Academy came under scrutiny when two students ran away and were killed by an oncoming train. [1]

It has been claimed headmaster and founder Scott Bowman exaggerated his military career[2][3]

Oustide Link


  1. ^ Wheeler (9 Mar 1998), "Teens die on track in apparent suicide", The Spectator,  
  2. ^ Herron (11 Mar 1998), "Academy headmaster exaggerated military history", The Spectator - Hamilton, Ont.,  
  3. ^ Simpson (2 Mar 1996), "Academy founder's military background questioned: The founder of Robert Land Academy has a military persona that is the stuff of legend. But it also appears to be a myth.", The Spectator - Hamilton, Ont.,  


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