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“Awesome, great for the family!”

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride Centre
Ranked #11 of 51 Tours in Ottawa
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Visit the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride Centre for a free tour of the facility, the Stables and the horses that captivate all who see them perform in the RCMP Musical Ride. May through August (Monday to Friday, 9am- 3:30 pm). September through April (Tuesday & Thursday, 10am-2pm). Tours are every half hour. Groups of 20 or more call or email to book your tour.
Reviewed June 30, 2013

What a great experience and family event. We brought lawn chairs and had a great time. We appreciated that it was free. No complaints!

Thank Joy H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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63 - 67 of 83 reviews

Reviewed June 28, 2013

On June 27, we attended the RCMP Musical Ride Sunset Ceremony during its 5-day Ottawa stay. This performance is FREE!!!! though you really should donate an appropriate amount of money to the RCMP Foundation that helps underprivileged youth. Unfortunately we did not have time to tour the stables and attended the Musical Ride only so this review is limited.

The event is held outdoors on a lovely parade field at the RCMP Police College, the group's official home where the horses are stabled (free tour) when not on tour. The performance starts at 7"30 p.m. and ends around 9 p.m. This is truly a family event, albeit a little campy at times for adults. All announcing is in both English and French.

The upside is that I observed most kids age 7 and up paid attention and seemed to be having a good time. The 2013 Edition was a mix of "acts" including a demonstration by search and rescue dogs and their handlers (3 stars), a demonstration by the RCMP "S.W.A.T." team (2 stars),both horse and rider agility and show jumping exhibitions (2.5 stars).

Musically, live music was provided by the Canadian Navy Band (4 stars) as well as a performance by the Combined RCMP and City of Ottawa Scottish Marching bands with dancing lasses (4 stars). Note that this mix changes from year to year.

Finally, the 32 RCMP horses and riders enter the ring. Dressed in their traditional red tunics and breeches and carrying lances bearing a red and white pennant denoting the official colors (or colours) of Canada and mounted on nearly identical colored black horses, they proceed to perform several intricate maneuvers to pre-recorded music.The musical selections include....and I am not kidding....the Rolling Stones' "I Can't Get No Satisfaction." Did I mention this part of the show was very cool?

After the totally engaging main part of the performance concludes, the horses and riders turn to face the Canadian flag at the end of the field, which happens to face west into the setting sun (beautiful!), the Canadian National Anthem is sung by everyone and the flag is lowered. Seriously, folks, this is moving for many reasons, mostly because Canadians, young and old, are an incredibly patriotic lot and they sang out that anthem as if their lives depended on it.

Now for some logistics:
1. What time should I get there for the best seats? Get there early. The performance field is surrounded on three sides by terraces for attendees to set up chairs or sit on blankets. By 6:45, the place was packed. We got there around 6:00 with our canvas folding chairs and small cooler and camped out on the west side on the top tier. If you want to get up and walk around, as long as you don't leave valuables with your chairs, they seem to be perfectly safe and no one will touch or move them.
2. Where are the best seats? That depends. The east side has a VIP area that takes up 1/3 of the seating. There is seating on both sides of that. The up side is that some of the performance faces the VIP area so better for regular viewers sitting there too.The down side is that you will be facing into the sun as it sets. The end section gives a good perspective of some of the horse formations. We sat on the west end at the highest tier and had a good view of everything. If I were to go again, I would sit at the very end on the top tier.
3. Is there food and drink available? Can we bring food? There is a "wagon" for take-away but it's expensive and not very good. There is also a lemonade stand. These are located on the east side of the field, a very short walk. Many, many families brought small coolers of snacks, sandwiches and cold drinks, perfectly acceptable. No grilling allowed, obviously.
4. What about parking? Yes, plenty of free parking on the back side of the field off Vanier Parkway, a couple of turns off Boulevard St. Laurent. You may also find street parking in the neighborhood in front of the RCMP Police College if you arrive early enough. Check your map.
5. Getting there: In a word, DOUBLE UGH! If you are driving in from afar (south or west), you will hit rush hour traffic, particularly on 417, the ONLY East-West interstate across Ottawa. It is stop and go (mostly stop to slow crawl) for kilometers. If you want to arrive early for the Musical Ride, unless you know Ottawa's back streets, you are stuck in this commuter nightmare so allow plenty of time. Delays cost us sitting down in a restaurant for a nice dinner before the performance. We encountered no accident causing excessive delays but if there is, much worse. Your goal is to reach Exit 115 (Boulevard St. Laurent), and head north to the RCMP Police College at the far northern end. BSL just north of 417 is a 4-lane "strip" with a mixed bag of shopping and restaurants, both chains, fast food and little independents. The northern part becomes residential. The good news is that at 9:00, getting back on 417 is relatively easy and traffic is much lighter.
6. What is there for the kids? The Adults? For kids, a real live Mountie and his pal, "Safety Bear" also dressed as a Mountie walk around before the performance. They talk to the kids and give them stickers. They also happily pose for photos with anyone. Nice touch. For families, the stables are open for exploration until 10 p.m. There is also the "Mountie Store" for shopping.
Conclusion: You can't beat this as a free event. There is something for everyone: the pomp of Canada's British heritage that is still alive and ingrained; the absolute friendliness of everyone from the parking staff to the people sitting around you; the visually stunning and colorful performance by the Mounties themselves. I would give this 4.5 stars if I could. I would deduct a half star simply due to the misery of getting there through the City of Ottawa.

Thank Alafair08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 3, 2013

The RCMP stables or Musical Ride Centre is about an hour away from downtown Ottawa. I thought we were going to see a musical ride performance - turned out it was just the horses “on the bench”. But it was also an interesting museum of the RCMP and there were enough exhibits (like the royal escort carriage) and museum material detailing the history of the RCMP and the musical ride. The local guide led us through the practice arena or riding school (which smelled of horse poop), then the horseshoe manufacture shop, then the stables themselves. The active horses were out - they're almost always performing somewhere in the world - but then we entered another part that were the parade horses. The horses were supposedly all black and the same height but there were some horses being retained even if they were too tall or too short because of their pleasant disposition. Policemen and women could apply after two years of active service and they would then go through six months of riding training. They also cleaned after their own horses to develop bond with the horse they rode. And of course there was the gift shop. It's worth the three-hour visit.

Thank JGR001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 22, 2013 via mobile

Nice place to visit and see the RCMP horses in their stables. Our tour guide started off with a brief explanation in the museum area, then off to the stables. The enduring history of the Musical Ride was very good. Don't even think you'll get to pet the pretty all black horseys though!

Bet the lucky breeding stallion is very content taking care of all the mares each year. If I was the stallion, I'd be happy!

1  Thank BrockDaBadger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2013

Visited the RCMP Centre in June 2012. Took the guided tour, which took us around the stables, where the "reserve" horses were. The actual "ride" horses were currently on their way back from the UK. The guide was informative and answered any questions answered. Also saw places like the scool and blacksmith workshop.

After the tour, you could wander the remainder of the museum at will, taking time to enjoy the exhibits and videos on display. Excellent.

2  Thank emuslushy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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