July 30, 2013 – Brandon, Manitoba to Regina, Saskatchewan – Regina Government House, the RCMP Training Depot and Its Sunset Retreat Ceremony

First thing, we topped off our gas tank.  Can you imagine only $1.309 … per liter.  For those of use living south of the border, that translates into $5.11 per gallon … OUCH!

Leaving Brandon, the road terrain was more up-and-down than any times since leaving West Virginia.

While the intense yellow fields of canola lining the highway.

By the time we reached

the hills were gone and the road was nearly flat … and sometimes almost void of traffic.

Then and FIRST!

After nearly 43,000 miles on the road, I had a volunteer who asked to drive … and did so for the next 70 miles.  Debbie was surprised at how comfortable she got in the pilot’s seat while I had a chance to really enjoy the scenery.

Advertising signage for each of the small towns we passed through was, if nothing else, unique … a series of individual signs.

There were hay fields,

more canola fields,

grain silos and elevators,

long grain trains,

And then we were surrounded by fields of lavender … which we discovered were flax, some stretching to the horizon.

After getting settled at our campground we headed into Regina, Saskatchewan’s capitol city. 

Our first stop was the Edwardian-styled Government House,

the original home of the Lieutenant Governor, an individual still appointed by the Crown in England as its personal representative in the province.  An interesting map I suspect few Americans are familiar with is a one of Canada in the 19th century …before Saskatchewan or Alberta became independent from the Northwest Territories.

From the parking lot, we first walked the gardens which were ablaze with an incredible palate of lilies.

 Inside the house was similar to many of the large mansions we’ve been able to visit in our travels.  At Government House, however, more rooms were made available and it somehow seems more intimate.

Main Entrance Hallway

Conservatory

Billiard Room

 

Library

In which hung an original painting of Queen Victoria

Dining Room

While I’m told to work the silverware from outside to inside, I have no idea whatsoever how to figure out the glassware

Master Bedroom

Gold-plated Master Bedroom Faucets – given to the then Lieutenant Governor by the then future King of England, Edward VIII during a state visit when he stayed at Government House.

Bedroom door hinges

Drawing Room

Copper tub in Guest Bathroom – copper was used as it retained heat longer and women could bathe for longer periods before the water chilled.

And, then, there were the Salesmen’s chairs in the front hall.

While the Lieutenant Governor had a policy of seeing everyone who called, the staff had a clever way of keeping such “riffraff” uncomfortable.  When they called, salesmen would be kept waiting in the front hall where they were offered a chair … on which the front legs were shorter than the rear legs, allowing gravity to do its work and make the guest slide forward in the chair. 

However, there was also a horizontal split in the chairs seat running side-to-side

which had the effect of pinching the visitor’s fanny when he slide back.

And, if that weren’t uncomfortable enough, when someone tried to sit up straight, their back struck a bulging face in the seat back

 

making sitting for any length of time a most unpleasant experience.

From Government House we drove just a kilometer down the road to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Training Depot (pronounced “depo”) and Heritage Center.

RCMP Flag

The Heritage Center is a national museum of RCMP history.

Lobby

Heritage Center – Tunic – Norfolk Jacket – circa 1873

Standard Uniform – 1904-20

Modern Unisex Uniform (1952 to the Present)

Alternative working uniforms and RCMP vehicles

Olden wooden sled

There is also an incredibly interesting section dealing with forensic evidence and another with some of the most famous of the crimes they’ve solved.

The Depot is the training facility through which all RCMP personnel have passed before becoming officers.  In that sense it is akin to the FBIs Quantico, VA school.  The Depot’s program lasts 160 day, is physically rigorous, and covers all areas of law enforcement, forensics, weapons training, community and diversity relations and Canadian law.

Coincidentally, we were there on a Tuesday, that evening the RCMP Academy’s Depot Division presents a Sunset-Retreat Ceremony.  The ceremony is an old British military tradition dating back to the 18th century and is referred to as “military tattoo”.  The term “tattoo” comes from the 17th century when a soldier’s life was strictly controlled by his regiment.  The daily routine of a military post was signaled by the beat of a drum. 

At sunset, the lone drummer was sent into the streets of the town to beat out a tattoo.  It was the signal for the tavern owners to close down for the night and for military personnel to return to the post.  When the latter were back on the post, the flag was lowered in a ceremony marking the end of another day.

On the Depot campus,

All streets are named for RCMP officers killed in the line of duty

A memorial with an eternal flame listing the names of all RCMP killed in the line of duty

A Beech craft Model 18 once used by the RCMP

Ceremonial cannons

The Depot chapel 

is the oldest building in Saskatchewan, originally built as a mess hall in 1883,converted into a canteen and reading room in 1889.  It was partly destroyed by fire in March 1895 and reopened as a chapel in December 1895.  The steeple was added in 1939/

Church Nave

Custom Stain Glass Window

 And fire hydrants painted in RCMP colors.

Since entering Saskatchewan, in particular, we have been particularly impressed with the courtesy of local drivers, particularly at intersections and when pedestrians are crossing roadways.

One thing we have noticed is the number of people with French accents when speaking English.  Just wondering if they have an English accent when speaking French.  Having spent a fair amount of time in Alberta and working with people from that province, the French accent is rare.

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