With the possible exception of the Red Serge tunic, no other element of the RCMP uniform has the mystique of the stetson hat. From the earliest days of the North-West Mounted Police on the western Canadian frontier, the stetson cowboy hat was worn unofficially by members of the Force on mounted patrol. Members incurred the cost of purchasing a stetson because it was preferred to the official pith helmet for practical policing. While the official headgear was de rigueur on the parade ground, the stetson's wide brim was better suited to protect the riders from the harsh elements.
By 1904, unofficial practice became enshrined in the Dress Regulations. After years of serious discussions, led at times by Commissioner Perry himself, the stetson, also known as the "Boss of the Plains" was adopted as part of the official uniform of the Mounted Police. The contract to supply the stetson, with its distinctive ''Montana peak" crown, was awarded to Messrs. Christy and Company of London, England.
The stetson now worn by members of the Force is exclusively crafted by the Biltmore Stetson Canada Company in Guelph, Ontario. Each hat is stamped on the inside with the initials "RCMP-GRC" along with a contract date to ensure authenticity.
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