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The Musical Ride

The Musical Ride Canada Postage Stamp
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Title

The Musical Ride

Denomination

15¢

Date of Issue

March 9, 1973

Quantity

13,200,000

Postal Administration

Canada

Series

RCMP, 1873-1973

Series Time Span

1973

Perforation or Dimension

12

Printer

Ashton-Potter Limited.

Creators

Designed by Jean Morin.

About Stamp

On May 23, 1873, Sir John A. Macdonald made an historic announcement to the House of Commons: the formation of the North-West Mounted Police. It would be the task of this Force to police some 300,000 square miles of wilderness in the Canadian North-West, to suppress the whiskey trade, to calm the growing unrest among the Indians and, in general, to stamp out lawlessness in that vast territory. Fear of the Fenian raids from the south and the possibility of losing the West by default made it imperative that Canada quickly take official possession of the area. July 1874 saw three hundred raw recruits under G.A. French, the first commissioner, set out from Dufferin, Manitoba, across the plains to Old Man's River in what is now southern Alberta. There they constructed Fort Macleod, named for the Assistant Commissioner. The rigorous trek, which is portrayed on the 8¢ stamp, revealed in the men a stamina that augured will. Within a very few months the Indians came to sense the meaning of the scarlet tunic and the motto it represented: "Maintiens le Droit", "Uphold the Right". The North-West Mounted Police made an important contribution to the settlement of the West. The members of the Force soon found themselves in the roles of doctor, counsellor and friend to the influx of settlers that followed in their tracks. They were also called upon to prove themselves in dealing with Sitting Bull, who had fled to Canada after his battle with Custer, in the skirmishes of the North West Rebellion, and in the stampede of prospectors to the Yukon during the Gold Rush. In 1904 the Force became the Royal North-West Mounted Police and in 1920 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police received its present name. Today, the R.C.M.P. is responsible for the enforcement of all Federal statutes throughout Canada and for national security. It is the only police force in the Northwest and Yukon Territories, and enforces the Criminal Code of Canada and provincial statutes in all provinces except Ontario and Quebec. The 1930's saw the establishment of the present marine and air divisions, the dog section and the first of five crime detection laboratories. In these laboratories trained staff engage in the most advanced techniques of police science. The spectrograph, which is the subject of the 10¢ stamp, is a device which computes the visual spectrum of a substance as a method of identification. The Force's world-famous Musical Ride, which is the subject of the 15¢ stamp, was established in 1887, although the first ride was performed in 1876. Today the Ride is usually performed by a troop of 32 men on black horses which are bred on a special ranch near Ottawa. Some of the intricate movements they execute are the Bridal Arch, the Shanghai Cross, the Wagon Wheel and the Charge. The dress by which the Force is universally recognized is "Review Order" - felt hat, scarlet tunic, blue breeches, long boots and spurs, gloves and full Sam Browne sidearm equipment. Normal duties, however, see the Mounted Policeman clad in a brown jacket, blue trousers, black shoes and a cloth cap.

Reference

Canada. Post Office Department. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1973.

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