Snakes

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." 

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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