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Old February 1st, 2007, 21:48   #1
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Mississauga/Downtown Toronto
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Newly Opened Canadian Forces' Indoor Urban Operations Training Center at Toronto

Hi all,

For your own interest, the following is an article I read on Toronto Star Page C7, Jan 26. The newly opened combat simulation training center discribed in the article is localed at Downsview Park area, downtown Toronto. It's owned by Canadian Force, and used to train urban operators and law enforcment officers.

I haven't done much research on the facility, but just a thought, maybe we, airsofters, can take some advantage of such facility in one way or another.



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Training for the 3-block war - News - Training for the 3-block war

New training centre simulates urban warfare for both police and soldiers

January 26, 2007
Bill Taylor
Feature Writer

It's an old aircraft hangar at Downsview Park. But what's in it could be a slum in Kandahar. Or a subdivision in Brampton or Barrie.

The scenarios may be very different but there are common elements to a firefighter in a crowded urban area in Afghanistan and a police takedown in a suburban Ontario shopping mall.

Which is why yesterday's opening of the Canadian Forces' new Indoor Urban Operations Training Centre attracted about 30 police officers from forces all over the region, including the OPP and RCMP. Many belong to emergency task forces.

"I'm curious to see what this might offer for police training," said Insp. Mark Neelin, of Barrie Police Service. "We're always interested in new techniques."

The cops lined up to put on helmets and face masks for a short "patrol" in what looks like a labyrinth shantytown of rundown houses and shops. In 10 minutes, they encountered a suicide-bomber, a flurry of gunfire (all blanks) death and dismemberment. "That," said one burly officer, "was intense."

That's the idea. The training centre, the brainchild of 32 Canadian Brigade Group reserves and the first of its kind in Canada, is meant to recreate "the edge of a typical urban space in a failed state," according to a Canadian Forces statement. There's an open marketplace and a warren of narrow alleys and tiny rooms; imminent peril around every corner, behind every doorway.

With trained role-players portraying townspeople and insurgents, Sgt. David Williams, who oversaw the building of the project, led a mixed group of police officers and soldiers through the troops armed with rifles. They passed windows with laundry hanging from them and into a "street" with stalls selling everything from tires to clothes. Scrawled on a plywood wall: "Go home, Canada. Die, die."

Suddenly, out of nowhere a man was advancing toward a checkpoint, ignoring the order to, "Halt! Halt! Halt!" He threw something, there was a flash, a bang, and a cloud of smoke (talcum powder). Then an arm and leg flew through the air. The soldier manning the checkpoint slumped over the sandbags.

Williams ordered everyone down as his troops opened fire. One soldier went down and was dragged to cover. One of the officers was ordered to put a compress on his leg. Meanwhile, two insurgents were rushing forward shooting wildly. The troops returned fire and the men went down. As the area was "secured," the wounded soldier was carried to safety.

Maj. Mark Welsh, who is also an OPP constable, has served in Somalia and Rwanda. "It's always been in urban areas," he said. "That's where 80 per cent of the world's population lives.

"It's not about being out in the woods and digging trenches anymore. We needed this kind of training area for everything from crowd control to chasing down bad people. Risk assessment, dealing with a bad guy in a crowd... there are a lot of parallels with police work.

"The aim is never to set anything off. A show of force, maybe, or peaceful negotiation, but nothing more than that if it can be avoided. Better to gain trust and build rapport.

"A police officer is often in exactly the same sort of situation so we're hoping a lot of them will come and train here."

Col. Gerry Mann, commander of 32 CBG, said the centre will also give his forces the chance to train with local fire and ambulance departments "to give a domestic response capability in the event of, say, a train derailment where you need to evacuate people quickly. In a domestic emergency, a natural disaster or whatever, civilian resources can be overwhelmed."

It was soldiers returning from Afghanistan who came up with the idea for the indoor training centre. It's taken a year to build, at a cost of $58,000. There are other urban-training facilities in Canada, including in Meaford, Ont., and Edmonton, but "none of them simulates the current operations overseas; what you might call the three-block war," said Mann.

"Within a three-block area, you could have peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and war-fighting going on simultaneously. That's today's reality."

A local imam will do diversity training, said Capt. Julie Misquitta. "Something as simple as, when you go into a mosque you take off your footwear," she said. "We can even have people playing embedded reporters and teach soldiers how to deal with them."

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