Surnames/tags: RCMP NWMP Police
directed from Victoria District National Historical Site
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Memorial
This memorial sculpture honours the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and commemorates the 1874 North West Mounted Police trek west. The role of Victoria Trail in the historic ride of the Force across the Western Canadian Prairies is acknowledged by the selection of this site.
The horse and rider are a symbol of the modern Royal Canadian Mounted Police, internationally recognized and nationally responsible for the safety of Canada’s people. The rider, in his western orientation, pays homage to the prairie beginnings of the red-coated Force, first known as the North West Mounted Police. The stone base displays name, and rank or regimental number, of the first twenty officers to pass along the Victoria Trail.
Dedicated August 14, 1998 in the 47th year of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.
In 1873, the thirty sixth year of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, created a mounted force to bring law and order to the Canadian west. The Force provided a Canadian presence along the American border, stemmed the unscrupulous whisky trade, and established friendly relations with aboriginal people and early settlers.
On July 7, 1874, two hundred seventy five men set off from Fort Dufferin, Manitoba on the arduous trek west. Pulling two, nine pounder cannon, and encumbered by horses, cattle oxen, and Red River carts laden with supplies, they marched across unsettled territory.
The troops rode a type of horse inappropriate for the duration and harshness of the trip. Boots made for riding did not survive the necessary walking; pillbox hats did not protect from the extreme weather. The men and livestock endured water shortages and inadequate food. On July 29, they left their mandated route and split into two groups.
The Force, the twenty men honoured here, constituted the north bound group which, struggling in ill health along the wilderness trails, passed this spot in late October, 1874 on the way to Fort Edmonton. The last seventy miles on this trail, named in honour of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, were the most difficult. The trail and river were just two of the many obstacles to the survival of these courageous men.
The mounted police became a powerful force in the west in the 1800s and early 1900s. Their prairie success resulted in assignments on other frontiers such as the Yukon Gold Rush. His Majesty King Edward VII conferred the title of Royal North West Mounted Police in 1904, and in 1920, the Force was designated the national police force and rename the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The Victoria Home Guard Society recognizes the courage, tenacity and accomplishment of the Force, the twenty individuals who marched west, and the members who serve today. We are pleased to promote awareness of the continued essential role that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police play in our community, Province, Nation and throughout the World.