Fort Saskatchewan RCMP will be marching to the sounds of pipes and drums on Wednesday evening (Aug.22) at an event never before held in the city.
Inspector Mike McCauley, officer in charge of the local detachment, said that to his knowledge there hasn’t been a Sunset Retreat Ceremony in the Edmonton area for at least 10 years. The ceremonies are a weekly event during the summer in Regina – McCauley is excited to see the tradition come to Fort Saskatchewan.
“I have no doubt that families, kids of all ages will find some interesting things to see and do at this event,” he said.
The Sunset Retreat Ceremony, held in cooperation with the City of Fort Saskatchewan, will run from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. at the Fort Heritage Precinct. The ceremony, complete with mounted riders, a pipes and drums band, a cannon display and RCMP marching in red serge, will end with a lowering of the Canadian flag. Before the marching begins (5 to 6:30 p.m.), visitors will have a unique chance to learn more about what police do on the job. RCMP will be setting up a number of displays for the public to look at, including an RCMP helicopter and drag racer, a bomb unit disposal truck, and a police dog demonstration.
“And maybe a bite on a poor rookie that’s strapped up in some gear,” McCauley hinted.
Up to 50 police officers will be playing in the band or taking part in the ceremonial troop marching. Deputy Commissioner Todd Shean, Commanding Officer of the Alberta RCMP, will also be attending, along with Edmonton police chief Rod Knecht and other dignitaries.
According to the city, sunset retreat ceremonies had their origins back in 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. A flag lowering ceremony would be held once the soldiers were back to mark the end of the day. McCauley said that given local policing history—the city’s logo features a mounted police officer—Wednesday’s event will be a great fit for Fort Saskatchewan.
McCauley added that the RCMP is more than just officers driving around in police cars.
“We have a lot of really interesting toys that we're bringing out to show people,” he said. “And it shows the different facets of policing and of community outreach that the RCMP are involved in.”