On Monday morning, we visited the RCMP Heritage Centre. When we arrived at the Centre’s parking lot, we made a connection with a gentleman who noticed our Ontario license plate. He was John Worthington, retired RCMP, and Director of the Board of the RCMP Heritage Centre. During our conversation, John informed us that the Centre was designed by Arthur Erickson, world-renowned architect and built on the grounds of ‘Depot Division’. John took the time from his busy schedule to take us on a personal tour of Section 1 of the Centre, which details the formation of the North-West Mounted Police in 1873, later to become the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Centre is filled with interactive displays and a wide range of history of both the North West Mounted Police and the RCMP. During our tour, there was an announcement that the RCMP Sergeant Major‘s Parade of new recruits, members-in-training, would be held on the parade grounds. John suggested we view the parade and at that point, we parted ways. I am very grateful to have met this fine gentleman.
Since 1885, Depot Division has been the training centre for members of our national police force. This parade originated from traditions of the North-West Mounted Police, and is probably the only regiment to still perform this type of dismounted cavalry drill. The parade is held three times a week in the summer on the parade grounds.
While waiting for the parade to begin, I spoke with a woman standing next to me, who told me that she was from Red Deer, Alberta. Doreen was in Regina to attend the RCMP Memorial Service, which took place the previous day. During the parade, she shared with me that her son Cst. Anthony Fitzgerald Orion Gordon was one of four RCMP constables shot and killed on duty in Mayerthorpe, Alberta. As we parted following the parade, I told her it was an honour to have met her and extended condolences on behalf of members of IODE Canada for the loss of her beloved son, who had once paraded on these grounds. Two hundred and thirty members of the force have fallen since the formation of the North-West Mounted police in 1873. The memorial to fallen RCMP personnel on the grounds of Depot Division is not open to the public except during the RCMP Memorial Service.
Following a further tour of the Heritage Centre, we drove to view the former Lieutenant Governor’s residence, which was restored to its Victorian splendor of 1891 under the influence of IODE in Regina.
That evening, Bob and I dined with National Councillor, Sue Linnen and her husband, Ken. Before dinner, they took us on a tour around Lake Wascana with its beautiful scenery and walking paths. Sue described points of unique interest such as the fact that the majority of trees in Regina were planted, not native to the prairies. Today, Regina is beautiful in all its splendid greenery!
At noon, on Tuesday, 11 September I met with sixteen members of Saskatchewan, twelve from IODE James Henderson LL.D Chapter and four from IODE Prairie Lily Chapter at a luncheon in the Solarium of the Executive Royal Hotel. Following lunch, Audrey Forrest, President of IODE James Henderson LL.D. Chapter, which is celebrating 60 years as a chapter, welcomed members and introduced me. Following the Making Connections presentation, I had the opportunity to meet with members during social time.
Immediately following the meeting, we took advantage of a beautiful, but very crisp and windy day, to walk a path along Lake Wascana and through the park across from the legislative buildings. In this park, we found a beautiful bronze statue of our Queen amount her favorite horse and viewed several plaques describing Her Majesty’s many visits to Regina.
My visit to Regina is a memory I will always cherish, for the remarkable IODE members and people I met, and the opportunities I experienced. I thank our members in Saskatchewan, for their gracious and warm hospitality.