Nothing represents Canadian patriotism quite like a red serge and a broad-brimmed felt hat. Even so, I had no idea of the role that Saskatchewan plays in the grooming of Mounties across the nation. A day at Regina’s RCMP Depot Division and RCMP Heritage Centre quickly brought me up to speed.
The RCMP Depot Division (more succinctly referred to as “Depot”) has been Canada’s premiere cadet training facility since its establishment in 1885. I have driven past the grounds a handful of times but it wasn’t until my tour that I realized just how developed this facility is. It’s almost like its own gated community - which makes sense, given the sizable population of recruits living there at any given time (not to mention the large staff necessary in keeping an operation of this magnitude afloat).
The RCMP Heritage Center is a much newer addition to the academy’s overall history. Built in 2007, its purpose is to make said history accessible to the public. The Centre showcases a number of fascinating exhibits and artifacts accumulated over the past century. The Centre also offers interactive experiences like an RCMP driving simulation and “The RCMP Musical Ride” where you get to take on the perspective of a Mountie via virtual reality.
Also available to the public is the Sergeant Major’s Parade which happens every Tuesday through Friday at noon. The parade includes a roll call and inspection of the troops accompanied by the cadet band. It's a patriotic display of the sheer discipline required to be one of our nation's protectors.
Given my ignorance about Depot and the RCMP in general, the faculty thought it would be fun to show me just how much tenacity is required to survive cadet training. I was taken into the simulation facility where I quickly learned that I should never operate a real gun…
I then got to play an adult variation of Gran Turismo, also known as the Police Car Driving Simulator…
This went a bit smoother than the shooting simulation - so to avoid me getting a big head, I was challenged to try the training obstacle course...this time in a real cop car. Each cadet is expected to complete this rigorous course in under four minutes and encouraged to exceed pedestrian speed limits and abuse the brake-pedal in order to do so. I successfully lapped the track in the allotted amount of time, but an unacceptable number of pylons were sacrificed in the attempt. I was left with enough adrenaline to keep me up all night and a bout of car-sickness that didn’t subside for hours. I think I’ll stick to my leisurely commutes in the CAA Wanderer Mobile!