More Regina…

Regina (Sightseeing). DAY: 00.00km. ODO: 2,459km. AVS: 00.0km/h. MXS: 00.0km/h. ATM: 0:00.

I decided to walk out to the RCMP Museum, which is located at the site of Canada’s only RCMP Training facility. It turned out to be a little further than I thought – 10km. Most of my thinking in terms of calculating distances is based on 10km, and not because that is the metric standard. 10m is, roughly, the distance around Vancouver’s Stanley Park seawall. It is a distance that I can relate to, having walked and cycled it on numerous occasions. Therefore, when I am on my bike and it’s 4:30 in the afternoon and I have already ridden 120km, and have 30km more to go to reach my intended destination, I remind myself that it’s really only three times around the seawall, which is a snap.

Anyway, I am digressing from the topic at hand. The RCMP Museum.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t find a few flaws to pick out, and I’ll start at the entrance. The RCMP has a fairly large tract of land. The first one you come to has a sign out front that says “Training Facility”. The buildings are all set well back from the road (about half a kilometre) and there is a security booth halfway in. Obviously not the museum, so I continue on, as I can see another RCMP sign up the road. When I reach it, I find that it is the RCMP Forensic Centre (presumably where they study DNA and analyse corpses or something). Now, my map seems to show the museum as being before the training site, so I walk back and beyond the training buildings, in case I missed the museum the first time. Nothing but suburban tracts and a park.

My next step was into the security guard at the training site. Once I got up to the guards booth, I could see a small sign that said “Museum Parking”, with an arrow. I told the guard that I wished to visit the museum and, after expressing astonishment that I actually wanted to walk, gave me a set of directions that featured a diagonal trek through a field, two left turns and a right turn and if I walk past the airplane, I’ve gone too far.

The first thing I notice as I walk through the site is that it seems a little bit like a university campus, and a little bit like a concentration camp (the neatly ordered, one-storey, rectangular red-brick buildings gave me quite a vivid flashback to Auschwitz). The second thing I notice is that all of the RCMP recruits walk about the campus swinging their arms up and down like they are soldiers marching on parade, even if they are just running out of class to the john to take a leak. Needless to say (but I will anyway), this didn’t do anything to lessen the mental association to fascism for me).

I’ve never been a big fan of police, as my experiences with them (mainly professional contact in previous careers, I hasten to point out!) have given me the idea that most are aggressive, sexist soldier wanna-be’s who like to smack their girlfriends around on Friday night. However, I have traditionally had a great deal more respect for the RCMP, as I have never encountered an officer who didn’t seem genuinely compassionate and fair (unless of course they later became a Reform party MP). Whether they are truly better police than the average city cop, or just better marketers, I am not certain, but I tend to favour the former. Therefore, I was disappointed to see the militarism of the academy. However, I shall not let it diminish my esteem too much.

After the museum, I took the bus back downtown and had lunch at the hostel, then went for tea at Abstractions Coffee House, which is the only pace I could find that had inernet, but was also kind of cool. Even better, as I was plugging in my own computer rather than using their terminals, they didn’t charge me. However, the made up for it in what I spent their on tea and lunches.

My next activity was to buy a passport for “Mosaic”, Regina’s three-day multi-cultural festival in which various pavilions scattered around the city provide a venue for the food, drink and creative traditions of various ethnic communities. A number of prairie cities have similar annual events, such as Winnipeg’s “Folklorama”. Some pavilions are more about drinking than anything, but others tend to be more culturally interesting, and some have good food.

I went to the German, Aboriginal Peoples and Chilean pavilions. I did not stay long at the German one, as it just wasn’t doing it for me. My next stop was the Chilean, where I had a couple of overpriced empanadas. My last stop of the night was the Aboriginal Peoples, where I had an “Indian Taco”. This pavilion featured a number of performances by various native dancers and drummers, as well as Metis fiddlers and dancers. Also, there was no booze (they solicited corporate funding rather than rely on a bar to cover costs), and the result was a greater emphasis on the culture itself. I found this pavilion to be the best of the three, as it seemed much friendlier and inclusive.

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