Whoo, it’s been a whirlwind of a week. Early out to do stuff, and late in afterwards. So catch up posts between now and Vancouver.
Between Winnipeg and Saskatoon, I had the choice of a couple different routes. One would have veered north right away, through Yorkton. The other would have stayed on the Trans Canada through Regina. So I did what I’ve done for every stop on this trip; researched the towns. (I can’t imagine what trip planning was like before the Internet!)
Yorkton had, if I recall correctly, nothing. But Regina had the RCMP Heritage museum. It’s attached to a training academy, where fresh recruits try to earn their boots-and-reds. As part of their exercises, they participate in the daily Sgt. Major’s Parade.
A unique museum AND a marching parade? Choice. Made.
Upon arrival, we signed up to watch the parade, which takes place on the Academy’s grounds. We were told for security, leave behind purses and camera bags. But they let us bring the diaper bag. Why? Because purses and camera bags were not allowed, but there wasn’t anything saying diaper bags aren’t allowed. And those are the rules. Hurray for federal government bureaucracy.
Are you sure you don’t want to even inspect the gigantic sealed bag? No. OK.
We used a locker for the bags, and went to see the parade. Inside a historic church, the tour guide gave us the primer. The academy has been active since 1885. The church was built on the insistence of one of the higher-ups wives. Although it is very denominational in decor, in modern days it’s a non-denominational place of worship. It’s just that since it’s a historic building, it can’t be modified.
The parade is a chance for the recruits to show off, and/or to graduate. There are non-uniformed fresh recruits running around. That’s because they HAVE to run everywhere. Arms up to their chest, in a run. Until they’ve been there long enough to earn their boots, and the right to walk. Then they start earning more of their uniform throughout their training. The parade is part of the training, so they will be receiving “feedback” throughout. And by that, I mean they will be yelled at for missing steps and doing maneuvers wrong.
The only rules were stay on the sidewalk– pictures and video is allowed, but no closeups of anyone’s faces– and if there’s an “exercise” (a mock arrest), no filming.
Oh, and we were warned– every recruit has to take on a job on base. Some of them have been voluntold to be in the marching band. They’re here to become police officers, not learn to place instruments. So the band might not be– good. And, as the video I’ll eventually stitch together shows– well, let’s just say that at least they’ll make good police officers.
Afterwards, we toured the museum. One of the things I found most interesting and amusing was the very first infocard I came across: the reason the RCMP was formed.
It’s all very dry and diplomatic:
But reading between the lines, it says “Canada didn’t want to repeat the insane, gun-toting maniac poop-show that was the USA’s westward expansion”.
The rest of the place was as expected; history of the force, the uniforms, native Canadian relationships, info about the horses. Very neat to see.
Molly, of course, found things she liked…
(including the gift shop)
Can’t forget about this on the grounds:
They also have a VR setup– sit in a saddle, put on a VR headset, and experience some Musical Ride horse maneuvers– either from the stands, or POV from a horseback rider. Based on the shadows in the show, it looks like they strapped a Google Car type 360 camera to a rider’s head.
If you’re passing through Regina, put aside a couple hours to see the museum. It’s an interesting little slice of something so very core to the Canadian identity.
Shockingly, no entries into the license plate game at the museum’s parking lot. Oh well, many more thousands of KMs to go.