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Fort Macleod to mark 140th anniversary with celebration on Thursday

A performed by the world-famous RCMP Musical Ride will cap Fort Macleod’s 140th anniversary celebration on Thursday, Aug. 7.
Fort Macleod’s roots date to the arrival of the North West Mounted Police in 1874.
Modelled after the Royal Irish Constabulary and the mounted rifle units of the United States army, the North West Mounted Police were created by an Act of Parliament on May 23, 1873 with the purpose of bringing law, order and Canadian authority to present-day Alberta and Saskatchewan, known at the time as the North West Territories.
Nearly 300 officers and men departed Dufferin, Manitoba on July 18, 1874 on what became known as the great “March West.” With horses and equipment in tow they arrived in southern Alberta in October.
The troops were able to build a permanent post before winter hit, selecting an island in the middle of the Oldman River.
This post, named in honour of Col. James Macleod for his strong leadership during the “March West,” served as the headquarters of the entire police force until 1878, and the fort itself remained in use for almost 10 years.
In 1883 a recommendation was made to build a new fort about four kilometres west of the original post. The new fort, completed in 1884, afforded the Mounties uninterrupted views of all sides and pulled the fort out of danger of flooding in the Oldman River.
From that post the North West Mounted Police helped stem the North West Rebellion in 1885 and 10 years later had a presence in the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1890s.
Although the 140th anniversary of the arrival of the North West Mounted Police is not until Oct. 13, 2014, Fort Macleod had the opportunity to plan a celebration around the RCMP Musical Ride.
Local officials were advised last year the RCMP Musical Ride would be in Alberta in August, and was available for a performance in Fort Macleod.
A committee was quickly struck and an exciting schedule of activities developed. The following is a schedule events at press time. For the most up-to-date listing visit www.macleodproud.com.

FORT MUSEUM
12:30-3 p.m.

  • Free admission to the museum
  • Free barbecue for the first 500 people
  • 18th Century clothing exhibition
  • Dedication to RCMP Assistant Commissioner Craig MacMillan
  • South Alberta Horse Artillery cannons
  • Fort Museum’s Mounted Patrol performances at 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

EMPRESS THEATRE
2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

  • Making Treaty 7 video
  • Question and answer period to follow with executive producer Michael Green and other members of the creative team

MAIN STREET
3-4:30 p.m.

  • Silhouette Can-Can Dancers
  • Skyanna Highland Dancers
  • First Nations drumming and dancing
  • Musicians and singers

MARCH TO THE BARRACKS
4-5 p.m.

  • Lethbridge Fire Department Pipe and Drum Brigade
  • Fort Museum Mounted Patrol
  • Procession west along Main Street out to the 1884 North West Mounted Police provincial historic site and Midnight Stadium

MIDNIGHT STADIUM
5:30-8:30 p.m.

  • First Nations drumming and dancing
  • Smokin’ Aces Trick Riders
  • Leon Goodstriker’s Indian Games
  • Fort Museum Mounted Patrol
  • RCMP Musical Rid
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