One Hundred Years of the RCMP

A look back on a century of service.

Written by Dave Baxter

Posted January 14, 2020

Today, items like the red serge jacket and Stetson hat, and events like the Musical Ride, have become some of the most recognized symbols of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

It was one hundred years ago in 1920 that what is now known as the RCMP came into being when two Canadian police forces merged.

Since then the Mounties have served across Canada. Today the force’s scope of operation includes fighting organized crime, terrorism, and illicit drugs as well as patrolling the nation’s borders. 

As the RCMP marks its centennial anniversary, here are a few key dates in the history of Canada’s most recognized police force. 

May 3, 1873 

The Parliament of Canada establishes a central police force to patrol newly acquired land in western Canada, and sends 150 recruits west to Manitoba. The new police force became known as the North West Mounted Police  (NWMP).

February 1, 1920

Just months after Parliament voted to merge the NWMP and the eastern-Canada-based Dominion Police Force, the RCMP officially comes into being. The RCMP headquarters is moved from Regina to Ottawa.

December 10, 1939

The No.1 Provost Company, a contingent of RCMP members, sets sail for Europe to serve as military police during the Second World War. The Canadian Provost Corps was amalgamated into the Canadian Forces in 1968. 

December 16, 2006

Beverley Busson is named the first female commissioner of the RCMP, a position she held until July 17, 2007. The RCMP only began to accept applications from women for regular police duties in 1974. 

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This article originally appeared in the February-March 2020 issue of Canada’s History.

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