The cavalry was created in 1885, 20 years after the Montréal police service was first established. At that time, it had 6 riders and the stables were located on the corner of Rachel and Christophe-Colomb.
Its role was to:
In 1947, downtown Montréal was suffering from serious traffic problems. Mr. Langlois, the police director at that time, decided to assign cavalry patrollers from across the territory to the downtown sector, and the exercise was a complete success. In 1948, the cavalry was incorporated into the traffic control service.
The cavalry boasted its greatest number of riders around 1950, with 45 horses. Of these, 30 were assigned to traffic downtown and 15 patrolled the parks (such as Mont-Royal, Jarry, and Île Sainte-Hélène). They participated in parades and sometimes in civic funerals.
In 1955, the cavalry stopped patrolling the downtown area and 17 horses were sold. The 24 remaining horses worked in the parks.
Then in 1962, the stables on Mount Royal were built and the cavalry acquired its first Palomino, the breed that the cavalry would favour for the next 20 years. In 1995 another breed was adopted – the Canadian Horse, which is much more robust and better suited to the patrollers’ needs.
In the following years, the number of horses in the service fluctuated as different directors took charge of the police service. In 1981, when a woman named Hurteau gathered 140,000 signatures on a petition to keep the cavalry in service, a report was ordered to assess the value of maintaining the team. The directors came to the conclusion that the cavalry was still the safest and most effective way to patrol Montréal’s green spaces.
Today we can still count on the cavalry to patrol the streets of Montréal, to maintain police presence in our parks and to increase our citizens’ sense of security.
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