The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Heritage Centre is a not-for-profit, charitable organization appropriately located on the same grounds of RCMP Academy, “Depot” Division where Mounties have trained since 1885. Funds to build the Centre were raised by the Friends of the Mounted Police Museum, a separate not-for-profit, made up primarily of RCMP veterans, with a vision of creating a national centre mandated to share the RCMP story, and its role in the development of Canada.
Opened on May 23, 2007 in a breathtaking stone, glass and concrete building designed by world-renowned architect, Arthur Erickson, the RCMP Heritage Centre shares the story of the RCMP using state of the art exhibits, multimedia technologies and engaging programming and tours.
How does the experience of visiting the RCMP Heritage Center give guests a unique perspective on the history, people or culture of your region?
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been an integral part of Canada’s historical and cultural landscape since 1873, helping to form and protect our great nation, and playing a significant role in creating the Canadian identity. The RCMP were originally formed to establish friendly relations with First Nations, enforce Canadian authority, pave the way for settlers and maintain law and order on the western frontier. The role of the RCMP in ensuring a peaceful Klondike Gold Rush in Northern Canada shaped the popular image of the Mountie in Canada and around the world.
Situated on the doorstep of RCMP Academy, “Depot” Division in Regina, Saskatchewan, where Mounties have trained since 1885, the RCMP Heritage Centre is appropriately located where the tradition begins. The Main Exhibit Gallery at the RCMP Heritage Centre (Centre) takes guests on a journey through the history of the RCMP and its evolution from a frontier police to a modern police force known the world over.
When visiting the RCMP Heritage Centre, guests not only experience the history of the RCMP through all of our exhibits and artefacts, but the Centre now offers tours of the training academy: RCMP Academy, “Depot” Division, which gives the guests a look into current day training and policing within the RCMP. We also escort guests to the Sergeant Major’s Parade (Monday to Friday), where you have the opportunity to watch drill staff put cadets through their paces. The parade includes a roll call and inspection of the troops, accompanied by the cadet band.
How have the guest experiences at the Heritage Center evolved since their inception?
The experience offered by the RCMP Heritage Centre is constantly growing, creating a unique one-of-a-kind experience for guests of all ages. From self-guided audio tours, guided driving and walking tours of “Depot”, rotating feature exhibits and interactive exhibits, we have something for everyone!
Like many, technology excites us! Museums across the world are integrating technology into their everyday exhibits, making them more interactive and here at the RCMP Heritage Centre, it’s no different! From our 3D virtual reality Musical Ride experience to our hand-held, self-guided tours, the Centre, with the generous support of our partners, is constantly working to stay on top of new available technologies.
In one of our permanent interactive exhibits “Cracking the Case”, guests can find out what’s involved in real forensic work with 8 different forensic techniques including counterfeiting, ballistics, fingerprinting, forensic light source technology and more as they work to solve the crime!
What is one detail of an experience you provide that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important?
This spring, the Centre launched an exciting new experience: a 3D virtual reality experience of the world-renowned RCMP Musical Ride. Guests are invited to literally hop in a saddle and join the RCMP Musical Ride in this realistic virtual world. This is a brand new experience that everyone must try!
What do you wish every guest knew as they consider visiting the RCMP Heritage Center?
Our hope is that all guests visiting the Centre have done their research in advance and are aware of everything we have to offer so that they can plan their trip accordingly. We have many guests who did not plan a long enough visit to be able to experience all that we have to offer. Depending on the time of year, guests can spend anywhere from an hour to a full day at the RCMP Heritage Centre.
What is one travel trend that really excites you?
Although we still see a lot of the larger bus tours come through the Centre, we are noticing a trend towards individuals doing their own cross-Canada tours using camper rental companies like CanaDream. This is an exciting new trend because individuals who travel this way usually have more time to spend with us and less of a constrained schedule.
What sets the RCMP Heritage Center apart from other museums or attractions in your area?
The RCMP Heritage Centre has a unique subject-matter that all Canadians love and respect. The RCMP is not only recognized on a national level, but also internationally, as we have guests from all over the world who come to learn more about Canada’s Mounties. Due to our location, on the doorstep of the only RCMP training academy in Canada, we are able to showcase the past and present of the RCMP.
What is one insiders tip to getting the most out of an experiential travel vacation?
We are currently working on a new website that will provide guests with all the needed information on getting the most of their experience. We encourage all guests to check out www.rcmphc.com when planning their trip to the Centre.
What is one strategy that has helped the Heritage Center to grow? Please explain how.
As a not-for-profit charitable organization, our success and continued growth is attributed to all of our local, provincial and national partners. As well as the generous support and feedback we receive from individuals at home and away who appreciate this unique Canadian story that we share. Without their support and generosity, the RCMP Heritage Centre would not be where it is today.
What is one personal habit that has helped you to be successful?
We listen to our guests and our community. We want to know how each guest enjoyed their experience. We encourage all guests to fill out a survey or leave a comment on our trip advisor page.
Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience you provided to them.
We have a very special guest who now receives VIP treatment at both the RCMP Heritage Centre and at RCMP Academy, “Depot” Division. His name is Matty and he is pretty much a celebrity around here, with everyone knowing his name! He comes once a week on Tuesdays. I could try and paraphrase his experience, but it is probably best if you just check it out for yourself. Here is an article leaderpost.com/RCMP+Heritage+Centre+friendly+place+visit/8419750/story.html . You can also check out his Facebook page is “For the love of Matthew”. I have taken a picture to show you just an example of his love for the RCMP: