The Force in the North

Introduction

The North-West Mounted Police were formed in 1873 and were intended to serve as the "Mounted Police Force for the Northwest Territories".   Now seen as an icon of Canada, for over 100 years the Mounties have played an important role in Canada’s history. Their role as a representative of the country is enormous and while some of their stories are famous, many are not yet told.  In some cases the mythology and the reality are far removed from one another.

Particularly in the North, where the North-West Mounted Police came to enforce the border and protect Canada’s sovereignty, only parts of the story are readily available. The Mounties are associated with the most famous gold rush in the world in the Klondike, yet their impact on the North was much larger.

Many myths have grown up around these men and the site will illustrate the importance that myth exercises in popular culture from the radio stories of the depression to Hollywood heroes to television and advertising icons. While the myths endure, the site will also illustrate the harsh reality of the life for the real Mounties who served the North.

For a long period of time, the Mounties were the only agent of government in many northern communities. Judge, mining recorder, mailman, doctor: the Mounties played all the roles, for real. While their lives were adventurous, they were also arduous and dangerous. With few amenities and distant from help, the Mounties explored, protected and developed the North, assisted by local First Nations.

Many of the early North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) officers became famous for their steadfastness, strength and leadership. The stories of these men and their contribution to the North will be explored in The History of the Force in the North. Some went on to great careers beyond the North, serving with honour in international battles as well as with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The site will tell the stories of individuals from Constantine to Cameron who became legends for their actions.

While many are familiar with the basics of the NWMP history around the time of the Gold Rush, the story since the depression is not often told.  One of the most interesting aspects of the Force in the North history is the commonality in the duties for Mounties in modern days with their turn of the century counterparts.  The job of the Mountie was certainly not enforcement only.  With the assistance of our partners, the Yukon Royal Canadian Mounted Police Veterans Association, we will provide a picture of the changing circumstances of the officers who served in the North.

The themes explored are Sovereignty, Reality of Life, Adventures and Characters and Modern Mounties.  Each of these areas has a number of sub-themes and stories to accompany it. 

There are over 600 historical photos, many taken by the Mounted Police members who served Canada’s North, as well as 200 video interview clips with retired Mounties on the site.  These images show us how the Mounties lived in the North and the role they played in opening up the Canadian frontier.

The site also hosts an interactive map with locations of posts, an investigative game:  The Murder at Gold Bottom where you get to play RCMP Investigator online, rare home movie footage plus cartoon and Hollywood sound bites of Mountie mythology.

We hope you enjoy it.