RCMP Depot – Where They Change Boys & Girls Into Mounties

After the serious thunder storm last evening we woke up to the sun beating down from a clear, blue sky. With a warm, sunny day in Regina we have to plan our visit the RCMP Heritage Museum & Training Depot and Wascana Park. Due to the heat we can’t leave the dogs in the car, while we visit the museum. So, the plan is:

  • RCMP Museum in the morning,
  • Return for lunch and walk the dogs,
  • Head out again to Wascana Park.

RCMP Heritage Centre

RCMP Heritage Centre built on the Training Academy, or "Depot" Grounds

RCMP Heritage Centre built on the Training Academy, or “Depot”

The RCMP Regimental Museum, known as the RCMP Heritage Centre is operated as a non-profit society and is located on the grounds of the Training Academy, or “Depot”. Various levels of Government announced the concept in early 2005, with construction commencing in October 2005. The current 70,000 square foot building is now open and a 2nd phase with an additional 8,000 square feet is planned. All funds for construction and operation come from donations.

On entering the facility we went to the cashier and Andy requested tickets, for an adult and a geriatric, since the senior rate applies to 60 and over. The cashier then commenced almost an interrogation to determine where we were from, work history, etc. This included asking if we had any military service to which we responded, negative, just the non-armed Merchant Navy. Handing over my Visa, she responded thank you, but they consider Merchant Navy retirees as complimentary access, including a guest. Wow, certainly didn’t expect that one. We both agreed we will support the museum through gift shop purchases – I’m thinking more new born clothes.

First display showing a replica gun carriage that was hauled West by the Mounties, as they claimed additional lands

First display showing a replica gun carriage that was hauled West by the Mounties, as they claimed additional lands

We started off in the display gallery before our scheduled tour of the depot and Sgt Major’s parade at 12:15. This photo depicts a replica gun carriage that was pulled West, by the North West Mounted Police, the predecessor of the RCMP, which were tasked with enforcing law and order out West and in the NW Territories. The middle display shows the RCMP operating in the Arctic and Northern Territories and the last display show the variety of roles performed by the force, which includes UN Peacekeeping.

Display showing the current spacious cadet accommodations
Display showing the current spacious cadet accommodations

 

This displays what Andy considers to be the spacious and reasonably luxurious accommodations enjoyed by the cadets during their 6 months of basic training at the Depot. While not luxury, compared to a modern condo, they are considerably nicer and more spacious than he experienced on the Otaio, his first ship, which was a cadet training vessel, or boot camp at sea.

Cadet Dormitory

Cadet Dormitory

While the cadets have a tough life during basic training, they at least have a modern building housing their bunks.

 

 

 

 

Some additional displays, difficult to get good photographs, due to numerous reflections

RCMP Uniforms through the years

RCMP Uniforms through the years

Buffalo Coat and Red Serge Tunic

Buffalo Coat and Red Serge Tunic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once we completed the displays, it was time to head to the theatre for the next film, which shows every hour on the 1/2 hour. It was an informative 25 minutes, showing how they accept boys and girls and in 6 months convert them into Mounties, ready for an additional 6 months of on the job training.

Perfect timing, as shortly after the film finished it was time to head outside to join our group for the tour of the Depot, which at 12:15, includes the Sgt Major’s Parade.

RCMP Depot

The Perry Building and Parade Ground

The Perry Building and Parade Ground

“Depot” is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Training Academy, where every Mountie completes their first 6 months of basic training. The Parade Ground is delineated by the blue and yellow lines and nobody should walk though it unless on parade. If required to cross the Parade Ground you must walk around, or if a cadet you march. The building fronting the Parade Ground is named after A.B. Perry, the 6th Commissioner of the RCMP, who held the position from 1900 to 1923. Initially the force was known as the North-West Mounted Police, but during his tenure, in 1904 King Edward VII added the “Royal” designation and the force became the Royal North-West Mounted Police. After absorbing the Dominion Police the Force was again renamed in 1920 to the current Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Sgt Major’s Parade commences at 12:45 and consists of multiple troops of cadets varying from senior cadets about to graduate to the raw recruits. The cadet band provides the music.

When the parade completed Judi just had to check out the horses, Andy of course was entirely happy to be behind the camera, with a really long lens.

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Prior to continuing the tour we visited the Depot Chapel, which is also adjacent to the Parade Ground. Initially built as a Mess Hall in 1883, it was converted to a Chapel in 1895. It is a listed building.

Stained glass windows at the rear of the Chapel

Stained glass windows at the rear of the Chapel

At the rear of the Chapel, on either side of the Altar, are 2 stained glass memorial windows. These were created in 1943.

The memorial window to the left depicts a Mountie in mourning, leaning on his rifle. The window to the right depicts a Mountie sounding reveille on the trumpet. This memorial project commemorates the death of a Mountie in Saskatchewan in 1939.

At the rear of the Chapel, in a display case, is a loose leaf book with hand written pages. Each page contains the name and details of a Member, who lost their life while on duty. A new page is turned daily.

RCMP Training Depot - Cadet Drill Hall

The Drill Hall, where raw recruits are transformed into Mounties.

One of the circuits where cadets learning advanced driving skills

One of the circuits where cadets learn advanced driving skills

One of the driving circuits with lots of cones.

Cemetery Gates

Cemetery Gates

The gate to the RCMP Cemetery, where any member killed in the line of duty, or any member with at least 20 years of service is laid to rest. A spousal plot may also be purchased.

On completion of the tour and return to the Heritage Centre we headed for the gift shop for souvenirs, which included the obligatory baby clothes. A thoroughly enjoyable few hours and we highly recommend this attraction, if you are stopping in Regina.

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