Military Engineers Complete Projects and Training Exercise in Cape Breton

Image Gallery

News Release / November 22, 2017 / Project number: 17-11-22-ex-nh-sap

November 22, 2017 – Sydney, N.S. – National Defence / 5th Canadian Division

Note: to view additional photos, click the photo under Image Gallery.

The Canadian Army’s 4 Engineer Support Regiment celebrated the conclusion of Exercise NIHILO SAPPER 2017 today with the completion of several large construction projects.

Exercise NIHILO SAPPER 2017 started on November 1st when approximately 500 Canadian Armed Forces personnel deployed to Sydney, established a main operating base, and began real time technical training for its reserve and regular force participants from the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force. This large construction engineering exercise is held annually to ensure that the unit is prepared to deploy anywhere in the world on short notice to build and maintain the facilities used to conduct operations in support of Government of Canada initiatives.

In addition to the camp at Open Hearth Park, exercise participants completed several construction projects in locations throughout Cape Breton in cooperation with local community groups and other government departments. On completion of this project, Exercise NIHILO SAPPER 2017 participants will disassemble their operating base, pack up their equipment and redeploy to 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown.


“I am glad to announce that our 4 Engineer Support Regiment team was able to complete all of our complex training objectives during Exercise NIHILO SAPPER in challenging environments which equips us with a team of confident and capable Canadian Armed Forces members that are ready to deploy in support of Government of Canada initiatives whenever and wherever they are required. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our partner agencies and the communities Cape Breton that hosted us and supported our training throughout this exercise, without your assistance our successes would not have been possible.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Cotton, Commanding Officer, 4 Engineer Support Regiment

“On behalf of the nearly 500 women and men of the 5th Canadian Division, your Canadian Army in Atlantic Canada and Canadian Armed Forces personnel deployed throughout Cape Breton on Exercise NIHILO SAPPER from late October to November 24, I extend my personal thanks to area residents, community leaders and partners for your incredible warmth, support and collaboration. The exercise provided your military engineers and their support team with an opportunity to work on several community projects in close cooperation with partners from Parks Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard College and the Stone Church Restoration Society along with Royal Canadian Navy divers and Royal Canadian Air Force personnel to enhance and hone skills required to establish and maintain facilities required to support Canadian Armed Forces operations at home and around the world.”
Brigadier-General Derek A. Macaulay, Commander, 5th Canadian Division

Quick Facts

Exercise NIHILO SAPPER is an annual training event led by 4 Engineer Support Regiment based out of 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown that helps military engineers maintain a high-level of readiness for potential requirements to support Government of Canada operations.

Exercise NIHILO SAPPER 2017 participants successfully completed the following construction and infrastructure upgrade projects:

  • The construction and deconstruction of a 500-person relocatable tent camp near Sydney`s Open Hearth Park.
  • A 33 metre bridge on the Warren Lake Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
  • The construction of a pedestrian bridge and an extensive remediation of the Siege Corridor at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site.
  • Cleared approximately 2,000 metres of all-terrain vehicle trail in support of the Isle Royale ATV Club
  • Replaced the roof on the former St. Alphonse Church in Victoria Mines in support of the Stone Church Restoration Society.
  • Renovated a conference facility in support of the Canadian Coast Guard College.
  • Built a pedestrian bridge on the Canadian Coast Guard College campus.
  • Conducted a full construction survey and minor infrastructure repairs in support of the South End Community Centre.

 In addition to these projects, 4 Engineer Support Regiment conducted the following training:

  • Counter Improvised Explosive Device training in the Blue Mountain region.
  • Combat Dive and Port Inspection training with Royal Canadian Navy divers at the Canadian Coast Guard College.

Associated Links

5th Canadian Division website
5th Canadian Division Facebook

5th Canadian Division Twitter
5th Canadian Division YouTube
5th Canadian Division Flickr
#5DivSoldier #MightyMaroonMachine @5CdnDiv

For more information on Exercise NIHILO SAPPER contact:

Captain Jamie Tobin
Public Affairs Officer, Exercise NIHILO SAPPER 2017
Phone:  902-427-0239
Mobile : 902-441-3209
Email :


Date modified: