Royal Canadian Mounted Police
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Historically Relevant Dates to the RCMP

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.

Fort Dufferin

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”.

March 11, 1874: 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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

January 1, 1917: The RNWMP is relieved of provincial policing duties in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, with the creation of their own Provincial Police forces.

No. 1 Provost Company

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.

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.

December 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.

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.

March 1969: The last patrol by dog team departs from Old Crow, on their way to Fort McPherson and Arctic Red River.

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.