The Canadian Armed Forces are benefiting from Calgarians hit by the down economy.
After seeing about a 20 per cent influx in applications, representatives from the army and navy held an open house this weekend at the Mewata Armoury, drawing crowds that they hope to recruit this year.
“We saw about 30 to 40 more applications in January compared with the same month last year,” Capt. Steve Charest said.
“Calgary is certainly not exempt from the economy, so people can look at what we have to offer. They will join the army to complement their current job or have a career change altogether. We have come to a stage in time where the government has mandated growth and so we have positions to fill and jobs for everyone.”
Charest said the other reason why the open house was held was to make the military presence known in the city.
“Not every Canadian wants to join the military,” he said. “But we still want to connect with them. We let them know that we are here, and because we are downtown we are very accessible.”
While Jessica Jiang, who is working in Calgary on a work permit, can’t join the army just yet due to a lack of Canadian citizenship, she attended the open house to see what the armed forces had to offer.
“I have thought about joining someday,” she said. “It’s good to see what’s here.”
Recruiting officer Peter Stocker said the event this weekend was bigger than what they normally put on.
“We have representatives from each unit here today, making up about 20 to 25 military personnel. It’s definitely a bit of a push for more recruits,” he said. “This is a decent turnout.”
The Mewata Armoury was built in 1917 and is home to the King’s Own Calgary Regiment and the Calgary Highlanders.