The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada was formed on April 26, 1860. Originally the Regiment’s name was the Second Battalion, Volunteer Militia Rifles of Canada. The cap badge still bears the number two as recognition of the unit’s seniority. In 1863 the name changed to 2nd Battalion "Queen’s Own Rifles of Toronto." It was under this name that the regiment fought at the Battle of Ridgeway, during the Fenian Raids of 1866. Thereafter, the unit was called the 2nd Battalion "Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada" in 1882.
When Louis Riel launched the North-West Rebellion in 1885, the "Queen’s Own" fought the Cree Chief Poundmaker at the Battle of Cut Knife Hill. The Regiment’s first overseas action came when the Queen’s Own provided thirty-three soldiers for duty in the South African War 1899-1900. These men became part of "C" Company (representing Toronto), of the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment.