Historically relevant dates to the RCMP

The following are important dates in the history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

  • May 3, 1873: The Act establishing the North West Mounted Police (NWMP) was first introduced in the House by then Prime Minister John A. Macdonald.
  • May 23, 1873: The bill passed unopposed through Parliament and received Royal Assent on this date. However, it did not immediately establish the NWMP, as it was merely an emergency measure.
  • August 30, 1873: Order-in-Council signed by the Governor General, Lord Dufferin, bringing the NWMP formally and legally into existence.
  • September 25, 1873: the NWMP's first officers were appointed by Order in Council, including the first interim Commissioner of the NWMP, Lieutenant Colonel W. Osborne Smith
  • October 18, 1873: George Arthur French takes over as Commissioner of the NWMP, the first permanent Commissioner of the organization.
  • November 3, 1873: The first 150 recruits for the NWMP gather at Lower Fort Garry
  • June 6, 1874: The second contingent of the NWMP consisting of 217 officers and regular members left Toronto for Fort Dufferin to assemble for the March West.
  • July 8, 1874: the March West begins at Fort Dufferin
  • October 9, 1874: under the command of Assistant Commissioner Macleod, divisions "B", "C" and "F" arrived at the notorious Fort Whoop Up to bring peace and order to the volatile region. However, word had spread of their impending arrival and they found the Fort almost empty.
  • December 1, 1874: Assistant Commissioner Macleod met with Crowfoot, the head Chief of the Blackfoot Nation, to help establish friendly ties. Their relationship would lead to the successful creation of Treaty 7.
  • April 10, 1875: Order in Council authorized the establishment of a post on the Bow River; after several weeks of construction, it was referred to as the Bow Fort and Fort Brisebois, before Assistant Commissioner Macleod suggested the name "Calgary", Gaelic for "clear, running water".
  • 1876: First public performance of riding skills at Fort Macleod.
  • March 11, 1876: Sub Constable John Nash dies at Fort Macleod,the first member of the Honour Roll for those who have passed away in the line of duty.
  • May 24, 1876: The NWMP band made its first public appearance, celebrating the Queen's birthday.
  • July 22, 1876: James Farquharson Macleod takes over as the third Commissioner of the NWMP.
  • November 1, 1880: Acheson Gosford Irvine takes over the command of the NWMP.
  • February 28, 1884: William Armstrong, (RegNo 843), passes away while a member at Depot. He is believed to be one of the first members of the NWMP to be buried at the cemetery at Depot in Regina, SK.
  • March 26, 1885: The Northwest Rebellion begins at the Battle of Duck Lake.
  • May 9 1885 - May 12, 1885: The Battle of Batoche, the final conflict of the Northwest Rebellion.
  • July 2 1885: Northwest Rebellion leader Big Bear surrenders at Fort Carlton.
  • 1886: Riding school established at Regina.
  • 1887: Musical Ride first performed (Regina, Saskatchewan).
  • June 5 1895: A NWMP contingent leaves under the command of Inspector Charles Constantine for the Yukon, in the extension of law and order to the northern frontier.
  • August 17, 1896: Gold is found at Bonanza Creek, sparking what was to become the Klondike Gold Rush. NWMP patrolled the area under the command of the great Sir Samuel Benfield Steele.
  • June 1897: NWMP contingent appears at Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. This was the first appearance of the Mounted Police on the international stage as well as the first use of the Stetson and the more modern uniform of the Force.
  • March 8, 1900: Members of the NWMP volunteering for the Lord Strathcona Horse, to fight during the South African Boer War, receive a sendoff at Parliament Hill
  • July 5, 1900: Arthur H.L. Richardson (# 3058) awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Wolve Spruit, South Africa, while serving with Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) during the South African War (1899-1902).
  • August 1, 1900: Aylesworth Bowen Perry takes over as Commissioner of the North West Mounted Police, a position he would hold during its change to the Royal North West Mounted Police in 1904 and to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1920.
  • September 28, 1901: Two troops of the NWMP escorted His Royal Highness the Duke of Cornwall and York (later King George V) during his visit to Calgary. This was one of the last occasions on which the old style full dress uniform was used by the organization, as it would change by the following year to a style more akin to today's uniform.
  • 1903: Detachments established at Herschel Island and Fullerton.
  • April 29 1903: A gigantic wedge of limestone from Turtle Mountain crashes on the town of Frank, killing seventy persons. NWMP reinforcements are sent to the area, with a local detachment temporary converted into a hospital for the injured.
  • June 24, 1904: King Edward VII confers the title of "Royal" upon the North-West Mounted Police as a part of the Coronation Honours.
  • July 21, 1908: An Order in Council officially approves the fingerprint system.
  • July 28, 1908: The Musical Ride performs in Quebec City as part of the Tercentenary celebrations, the first time it did so in Eastern Canada. The Prince of Wales was in attendance, the first member of the Royal Family to witness the Ride. The riding school was first established in 1886 in Regina, and the first performances out west took place in 1887.
  • December 21, 1910: Under the command of Inspector Francis Fitzgerald, a patrol leaves Fort McPherson for Dawson. The patrol would face adverse weather conditions and would become lost, resulting in the death of all four members. This case has become known as "The Lost Patrol".
  • March 21-22, 1911: The bodies of the four members of what was to be known as the "Lost Patrol" are found, only 20 kilometers from their original starting point. They were found by Corporal W.J. Dempster, a highly experienced and skilled member who executed many successful northern patrols.
  • February 1, 1915: Michael O'Leary (# 5685) is awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Cuinchy, France, while serving with the British Army's Irish Guards.
  • January 1, 1917: The RNWMP is relieved of provincial policing duties in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, with the creation of their own Provincial Police forces.
  • August 1917: Murder trial of Sinnisiak and Uluksak at Edmonton, Alberta. These two men were being trialed for the murder of two Oblate priests in 1913. This is one of the earliest examples of criminal law being enforced amongst the Inuit.
  • October 30-31, 1917: George Randolph Pearkes (# 5529) is awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Passchendaele, Belgium, while serving with the Canadian Mounted Rifles.
  • April 18, 1918: A draft for overseas service commenced for a volunteer squadron of RNWMP members to participate in the First World War. The 200 regular members and 500 new recruits would be known as RNWMP Squadron "A".
  • November 17, 1918: A second group of members of the RNWMP go overseas to Vladivostok to guard the Trans Siberian Railway. RNWMP Squadron "B" would play an important role towards the end of the First World War.
  • 1919: The entire arctic was under Canadian jurisdiction containing 25 detachments and over 70 men.
  • June 21, 1919: Members of the RNWMP clash with demonstrators during the Winnipeg General Strike
  • July 14, 1919: An order in Council increases the size of the RNWMP to twenty-five hundred members, a significant increase from the three hundred limit under the NWMP Act in 1873.
  • 1920: RCMP Headquarters moved from Regina, Saskatchewan to Ottawa. Ontario.
  • February 1 1920: The Royal North West Mounted Police becomes the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) with the absorption of the Dominion Police.
  • June 1, 1928: The RCMP takes over provincial policing duties for Saskatchewan.
  • February 17, 1932: With the help of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals and bush pilot Wilfred "Wop" Mays, the Mad Trapper of Rat River is cornered, bringing to end a manhunt which had taken the life of one member of the RCMP.
  • April 1, 1932: The RCMP absorbs the provincial police organizations for Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
  • April 1, 1932: 32 patrol boats and 246 officers and men are transferred from the Department of National Revenue's Preventive Services fleet creating the RCMP Marine Section.
  • May 12, 1933: King George V confers four Campaign Honours on the RCMP for its military service during the Northwest Rebellion, Boer War and First World War.
  • April 13, 1935: RCMP Guidon presented by the Governor General, The Earl of Bessborough at a dismounted ceremony held in the riding school in Regina due to inclement weather.
  • April 1, 1937: The RCMP Air Services is created with the purchase of 4 De Havilland Dragonflys.
  • May 22, 1937: The first official patrol by an RCMP aircraft was made by Commissioner MacBrien and two other members, aboard a DeHavilland Dragonfly.
  • December 10, 1939: A contingent of RCMP members set sail for Europe as the No.1 Provost Company, to serve as military police during the Second World War.
  • June 23, 1940: The RCMP St. Roch leaves Vancouver for its historic voyage through the Northwest Passage.
  • October 11, 1942: The St. Roch arrives in Halifax from Vancouver after two years spent navigating the Northwest Passage.
  • October 16, 1944: RCMP Schooner St. Roch arrives at Vancouver having traversed arctic waters through Lancaster Sound and Barrow Strait in 86 days (departed Halifax on July 22, 1944). She became the first vessel to traverse the Northwest Passage in both directions.
  • September 7, 1945: Soviet cipher clerk Igor Gouzenko granted protective custody in Ottawa. On September 5th Gouzenko left the Soviet embassy in Ottawa with documents outlining Soviet espionage activities.
  • January 16, 1946: Dr. Francis McGill is appointed the RCMP's first Honourary Surgeon.
  • 1950: The St. Roch travels through the Panama Canal becoming the first vessel to circumnavigate the entire North American continent.
  • September 21, 1957: Ceremony held on Parliament Hill where the Honourable George R. Pearkes, VC, Minister of National Defence, presented the Honorary Distinction of the badge of the Canadian Provost Corps and a scroll with the dates 1939-1945 to the RCMP for inclusion on the Force's Guidon in recognition of the RCMP's service during the Second World War.
  • April 1, 1960: Civilian Member category created in the RCMP for work in the crime detection laboratories and various technical fields.
  • 1966: Last year that equestrian training was mandatory for all recruits.
  • June 10, 1968: First female to achieve Chief Scientist in Serology at the RCMP Laboratories – Patricia Alain (RegNo C532).
  • March 1969: The last patrol by dog team departs from Old Crow, on their way to Fort McPherson and Arctic Red River.
  • April 28, 1969: RCMP presents Queen Elizabeth II with the gift of Burmese, a RCMP service horse that had served on the Musical ride. This is the first horse given to Queen Elizabeth II as a gift by the RCMP.
  • May 23, 1969: First Officer in Charge of the Forensic Laboratory in Winnipeg – Catherine Purchase (RegNo C651).
  • June 4, 1969: Hartley Theodore Gosline (# 27402) commences his training at "Depot" Division (Regina, Saskatchewan). He is the first Black Member of the RCMP.
  • September 3, 1970: Commissioner W.L. Higgitt is presented with the Commissioner's Tipstaff by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. The tipstaff serves in the same way as a badge of the Queen's authority for law enforcement.
  • July 4, 1973: New Guidon of the RCMP was presented to Commissioner Higgitt by Queen Elizabeth II during the Force's centennial celebrations at "Depot" Division, Regina, Saskatchewan.
  • March 3, 1975: The first all female troop graduated from Depot in Regina.
  • May 15, 1977: RCMP presents Queen Elizabeth II with the gift of Centenial, a RCMP service horse that the Queen had selected on August 2, 1973 as a part of the RCMP's Centennial celebrations. Centenial is deliberately spelled with only one "N". This is the second horse given to Queen Elizabeth II as a gift by the RCMP.
  • 1978: First civilian member Officer i/c Translation Branch - Thérèse Ayotte (RegNo C63).
  • April 1, 1981: First female promoted to corporal - Cpl. Diane Sheppard (Wright) (RegNo 31824).
  • 1981: First 2 females on the Musical Ride - Cst. Joan Merk (RegNo 34018) (15-Jan-1981) and Cst. Chris Windover (Mackie) (RegNo 32341) (23-Jan-1981).
  • July 16, 1984: The RCMP Security Service ceases to exist with its duties taken over by the newly formed civilian agency called the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).
  • December 17, 1984: First female in RCMP Band - Cst. Kerry Ann Kutz (RegNo S2874).
  • June 16, 1987: Andrea Lawrence (# 39482) is the first Black women to join the RCMP.
  • August 21, 1987: First female in Air Division - Nancy Puttkemery (RegNo S3367) (deceased on duty in 1989).
  • 1988: First female instructors at the Training Academy in Regina. Ruby Burns (RegNo 32691) (28-Nov-1988), Karen Adams (RegNo 31801) (28-Oct-1988), Millie Norry (RegNo O1788) (19-Sep-1988), Judy Best (RegNo 33978) (21-Apr-1989), Nancy McKerry (RegNo 34369) (17-Oct-1988), Betty Glassman (RegNo 31826) (25-Oct-1988) and Raymonde Pharand (RegNo 35533) (3-Oct-1988).
  • April 6, 1988: First female to Foreign Post, Lyon France - Sgt. Marie Pilotte (RegNo 31808).
  • November 1, 1988: First civilian member Officer i/c Strategic Planning & Corporate Policy Branch – Tonita Murray (RegNo C3834).
  • 1989: The last female-only troop goes through "Depot".
  • March 15, 1989: First female on the RCMP Honour Roll. Cst. Della Beyak (RegNo 40153) was killed in an automobile accident while on duty on 1989/03/15, near Assiniboia, Sask.
  • June 1989: First RCMP Sunset Ceremonies held at the stables in Ottawa.
  • October 19, 1989: 100 Member RCMP contingent sent to Namibia to monitor elections with UN mission (UNTAG). This was the first time the RCMP participated on a UN mission.
  • 1990: Baltej Singh Dhillon becomes the first Member of the RCMP to be issued with a turban while undergoing recruit training at the RCMP Academy at Regina, Saskatchewan.
  • January 29, 1990: First female detachment commander – Cindy Villeneuve (RegNo O1647), 1990/01/29, LaColle Detachment, Quebec.
  • June 2 1991: RCMP Ensigns created for each division in the RCMP.
  • 1992: Women are issued the iconic Stetson, boots and breeches for the first time.
  • 1992: First female commissioned officers – Beverly Busson (RegNo O1643) (11-Jun-1992), Cindy Villeneuve (RegNo O1647) (16-Jul-1992) and Line Carbonneau (RegNo O1662) (29-Oct-1992).
  • March 16, 1992: First female civilian member engaged as an electronic technician – Grace Ann Piche (RegNo C4326).
  • November 22, 1993: First female drill instructor at the RCMP Training Academy, Nov. 1993 – Debbie Reitenbach (RegNo 36934).
  • January 3, 1994: First female Deputy Commissioner - Corporate Management – Mireille Badour PS17804.
  • August 31, 1998: First female Assistant Commissioner, and first female Commanding Officer of a division. On 1999/03/23, she accepted the post as head of the new Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia - Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada (CISC) Beverly Busson (RegNo O1643).
  • October 27, 1998: RCMP presents Queen Elizabeth II with the gift of James, a RCMP service horse. This is the third horse given to Queen Elizabeth II as a gift by the RCMP.
  • 1999: Ted Upshaw (# 36891 / O.1889) is the first Black commissioned officer in the RCMP.
  • June 18 1999: First female Commanding Officer of Depot Division (Training Academy) – Lynn Twardosky (RegNo O1713).
  • October 14, 2002: Queen Elizabeth II presents the RCMP with the gift of Golden Jubilee, a horse from her own personal collection. This gift was given to the RCMP in recognition of the Queen's 50th year as reigning monarch.
  • August 15, 2003: First female member of the Emergency Response Team (ERT) – Cst. Rhonda Blackmore (RegNo 44922) (15-Aug-2003).
  • December 16, 2006: First female Commissioner of the RCMP – Beverley Busson (MacDonald) (RegNo O1643) – Served from 2006/12/16 to 2007/07/16.
  • May 16, 2009: RCMP presents Queen Elizabeth II with the gift of George, a RCMP service horse. This is the fourth horse given to Queen Elizabeth II as a gift by the RCMP.
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