An excerpt from Social Secrets, a novel of the investigation by the RCMP of international human trafficking.
Our appreciation to retired RCMP Member Roy Davidson for naming The Horsemen and his contribution to Social Secrets & Vancouver Secrets and to retired Member Richard Drought and currently serving Inspector Lorne Wood for their assistance in the plot development.
The Horsemenwas an iconic Edmonton pub which catered to first responders, but primarily it was a social house for RCMP Mounties, their families and friends.
The Mounties, often referred to as Horsemen or Rainbow Warriors for the mounted officer and rainbow stripes on their patrol vehicles, socialized primarily with their own, very much as health care professionals and others do in careers that deal directly with the public. Fraternizing among themselves is far less stressful than having to interact with those not in their profession.
The Horsemen was like that. Shop talk may enter conversations, discussing a particularly difficult case or arrest but most of the time when the Rainbow Warriors patronized The Horsemen it was with their spouses, partners, and friends and conversations were seldom about work.
There was irony with the pub’s name. Members are of both genders, but the law enforcement agency’s sobriquet had been around for so long, it was accepted by female Members harboring no ill will that the pub wasn’t the Horsewomen.
The Horsemen’s location blended with the uniqueness of the name. It was the primary business in a neighborhood mall, partnered with an upscale barbershop and law offices, both of which sent their clients to The Horsemen.
Although there wasn’t a membership, secret handshake or code, any potential patron was recognized by their demeaner as being law enforcement; the way they carried themselves, their heads in perpetual motion, scanning their surroundings, psychologically in the state of yellow of the Color Code of Awareness, a four phase personal safety system and always sitting facing the entry with their backs to a wall.
The Horsemen’s proprietor, Roy Davidson saw that in his clientele and often greeted each with a welcoming handshake and menus, while personally seeing them to a table.
Davidson was a thirty-year veteran of the Force, having served in isolated communities in the early days of his career then specialized in traffic safety.
He wanted the interior to speak to the conviviality and authenticity of Mountie culture and generate camaraderie and friendship. He began by capturing every patron’s attention with a massive three-meter, faux buffalo head hanging from the rear wall.
The buffalo or bison’s significance, dated back to 1873 when the North-West Mounted Police patrolled the prairies and depended upon the behemoth animal for food, fuel, and clothing. Many current-day detachments have mock tatanka in their foyers.
Patrons’ attention was drawn next to the ambiance, accomplished with steel grey walls throughout-out including behind the curved cherrywood bar to the left as one entered. The floor completed the mood, paired the walls with light grey stained planks.
The bar was absent of stools as no law enforcement officer would leave their back exposed. Rising from the bar’s edge were six, evenly spaced, beer spigots delivering several varieties of local craft beer, the most popular being Grizzly Paw Brewery’s Beavertail Raspberry Ale. National and international varieties were available in bottles, but the fresh keg beer outsold the others by fifty to one.
The welcoming, cozy atmosphere was enhanced by end to end, triple pane windows which began twelve-feet from the floor and rose to the twenty-foot textured ceiling, home to eight circulating, paddle fans aiding the controlled temperature.
Across from the bar, under the windows, were several seating arrangements with tables turned at an angle so no guest was with their back to the entry.
The one-hundred and twenty seating arrangement was accomplished primarily with sets of four and six weathered grey finished tables with pedestal bases. Adding to the monochromatic color scheme were matching grey, hardwood chairs with a neutral beige cushion made of a cotton and polyester blend. The furnishings were rescued from an establishment consumed by an expanding condominium village and refurbished.
The bar’s back wall was accentuated by steel grey wood panels staggered between photos of officers of the North-West Mounted Police, the RCMP’s predecessor organization and shelves of various world renown whiskies, gins, bourbons, and vodkas.
Moving further into the pub, the space branched off to the left with a twenty-foot-long gas fireplace and light grey mantle with two sixty-inch flat-screen televisions, side-by-side, always muted but closed captioned. The tables were set so any guest could view either screen, which on most nights were tuned to hockey or football.
From any angle all patrons were aware of a conversation area at the far end of the restaurant with several groupings of leather, steel-grey couches, coffee tables and accent chairs. The furnishings were enhanced by a large, cherrywood wall-plaque with the following adhered in brass: Maintiens le droit or Defending the Law. Surrounding the plaque were the photos of seventy-eight Members who had lost their lives fulfilling that motto.
Below the dedication wall was another, identical, twenty-foot long, centered, gas fireplace, highlighting the social groupings.
Every patron visiting the tribute stood silently as they read the brief caption under each photo…many saluting. The first photos to be honored were Cst. Fabrice Gevauden, 45, Cst. David Ross, 32 and Cst. Douglas Larch, 40, who lost their lives at the hands of deranged Moncton shooter Justin Bourque, 24, who was sentenced to seventy-five years for murder.
The deaths of these Members were particularly difficult to understand because the officers responded to rifle fire with short-range service pistols. The Force had approved the purchase, training, and distribution of carbines several years previously but the then commissioner, for reasons only he was aware, denied them.
In Mayerthorpe, Alberta, in 2005, four Members were murdered. They too, were outgunned by an assailant with a rifle.
The most recent tragedy added to the memorial wall was Const. Heidi Stevenson who was among the twenty-two victims of a mass shooting in Nova Scotia in 2020.
The Wall didn’t reflect the many Members who were injured in the line of duty, or those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a medical condition created by the many horrors they witnessed over the years and injustices from senior RCMP management.
Mountie culture meant quality cuisine. The Horsemen’smenu boasted some of Edmonton’s finest recipes, attractively plated and priced to appreciate a Mountie’s income.
Completing their menu were slow cooked beef ribs with Prince Edward Island wedged fries, a shaved beef sandwich with fried onions on a chipotle bun, served with French fries, white cheddar cheese curds and gravy and lastly, several twists on the traditional hamburger, utilizing a chorizo and beef mixture on a spicy chipotle bun with The Horsemensauce and all of the trimmings.
100% of the royalties are donated to women’s support groups. Thank you for supporting an end to violence against women & children.