Sam Steele, one of the most famous mounties of his era, mockingly described Livingstone as "an extraordinary spot. How on earth any person in his senses could have selected such a situation," he wondered, "is difficult to imagine." 


Colonel George French, the first commissioner of the force, reported that a group of local Metis "laughed outright when I asked opinions as to its suitability." An unexpected bonus was a nearby garter snake hibernaculum. The snakes made drilling on the barracks square an adventure; they also migrated indoors, sometimes crawling into beds.

But the mounties got their revenge. A snake-killing competition was held to celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday May 1875. The winning team was credited with over eleven hundred dead.

© Rick Kurtz 2011