The Sunset Retreat Ceremony in Fort Saskatchewan was a unique first.
Before the ceremony began on Wednesday night (Aug.22), demonstrations kicked off in front of the Fort Heritage Precinct. The public was able to learn about the RCMP with vehicle displays, a robot, a bomb-disposal suit and an RCMP helicopter.
The actual ceremony began at 6:30. Well over 100 people flooded the precinct as the ceremony began.
"I was really impressed. There was a fantastic turnout," said Inspector Mike McCauley, the officer in charge of the local detachment.
Emcee Mike McCreedy shared some words, McCauley spoke, as did mayor Gale Katcher and there was a blessing from Elder Tony Arcand.
Once introductions were over, about 50 RCMP officers as well as the K-Division Pipes and Drums Band marched in. The officers proceeded to unfold a large Canadian flag in preparation to sing the national anthem. Dozens of kids had the opportunity to rush out of their seats and hold the flag along with them as the audience sang.
"We love it when the audience gets engaged," said Cpl. Laurel Scott with the RCMP.
The rest of the evening was filled with entertainment such as traditional Aboriginal dancers, a dismounted calvalry drill, a police dog demonstration, music and even the firing of a cannon towards the end. The night finished off with the RCMP lowering the Canadian flag at around 7:30 p.m.
"I think the biggest thing I was really impressed with was the people seeing the police. Not just them policing, but dressed in uniform and getting to see what kind of people they are," noted Arcand. "To have them come and perform for the people - that was something else. I love it. I'm glad they asked me to come and be the Elder today. I would come back again, with no questions asked."
The ceremony is a weekly event during the summer in Regina. According to the city, the origin of the Sunset Retreat Ceremony dates back to the 17th century, when a lone drummer would walk the streets of town at sundown, tapping a beat on his drum to signal it was time for soldiers to return to their posts.