OTD: Mounties replace remaining dog teams with snowmobiles

On today’s date in 1969, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced its remaining dog teams would be replaced with snowmobiles.

A week later, the last patrol by a 21-dog team departed from Old Crow, Yukon, on its way to Fort McPherson, and the Arctic Red River in the Northwest Territories.

“The patrol would take them on a perilous journey through the Richardson Mountains to Fort McPherson in the Northwest Territories, then to the Mackenzie Delta community of Arctic Red River (now known as Tsiigehtchic) and then back to Old Crow,” reads an article published by the RCMP Veteran’s Association. “The journey would cover approximately 800 kilometres and take 25 days in total to complete.”

Three-quarters of a century earlier, the first-known sled dogs commanded by the North West Mounted Police (a precursor to the RCMP) in the Yukon Territory included a four-dog team shipped to Fort Constantine in 1895.

Currently, there are about 170 dog teams used by the RCMP across Canada to assist in investigations. The estimated cost to train a member and dog team is $60,000, and healthy police service dogs cost less than $1,000 annually to maintain.

On average, a police service dog retires at the age of eight.

About 10,000 1973-dated 25-cent coins were struck with the obverse die of the previous year’s quarter. This die had a larger bust of the Queen and fewer than 100 beads.

1973 25-CENT COIN

In 1973, the Royal Canadian Mint marked the RCMP’s centennial on the reverse of a 25-cent circulation coin.

Established as the North West Mounted Police in 1873, the Mounties provide policing services to all of Canada through the present day.

Designed by Paul Cederberg, the coin depicts an RCMP officer atop his horse with 100 stylized beads struck around the edge.

According to the Charlton catalogue, of the nearly 136 million 25-cent pieces struck by the Mint in 1973, about 10,000 were accidentally made using the obverse die of the previous year’s quarter, which featured a larger bust of Queen Elizabeth and fewer than 100 beads around the edge.

While the scarce 1972-backed “Large Bust” variety carries a premium, the regular 1973 pieces with the “Small Bust” reverse are only worth face value.

Beyond circulation and collector coins, the RCMP is also the focus of many other numismatic items issued in Canada since the Mounties were formed nearly 150 years ago.

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