Anyone who has spent a lot of time within Stanley Park wandering its many scenic areas will surely have seen at some point one of its most endearing and magnificent sights, that of the Vancouver Police Mounted Squad patrolling on their beautiful horses.
Having seen them on a number of occasions, we knew we had to include them in some way in our film. Many people we have talked to who are born-and-raised Vancouverites had no idea the Mounted Squad even existed and that made up our mind that we should set aside a feature for them in our documentary.
Permission was granted through the Vancouver Police media relations and I found myself in direct contact with the Sergeant in charge of the unit, Doug McMillan. After a few emails back and forth we arranged our first visit to the paddocks and our first encounter with these glorious animals and the wonderful officers that work with them every day.
It is a humbling and a rather moving experience to be up close to these gentle creatures and we can only imagine how the officers and staff must feel to be able to spend time with them each day.
VPD Sergeant Doug McMillan
Our time down at the paddock has been joyful in every moment and has to be one of the most beautiful experiences so far in this adventure of ours. Every person we met treated us with such kindness and went out of their way to help in any way they could.
We first interviewed Doug who gave us a great insight to the history of the unit, how it’s run on a daily basis and the work that they do. The second of the three interviews we did there was with Conrad and his horse Gunner. He gave us an extremely detailed interview about the horses and how they are trained for police work and the challenges involved in certain situations. The last interview was with Susan Sharp and her horse Duke. Luckily, the sun decided to shine and she suggested the rose garden as a location for the interview. Susan talked about the bond the officers have for their horse and how fortunate she feels to be patrolling Stanley Park.
VPD Conrad and his horse Gunner
Of course, they all talked about many other aspects of the unit, too many to list here but they all gave a very interesting and unique take on this wonderful and important job they do.
This feature would never be complete without filming the officers and horses riding through the park and after Susan’s interview she asked two other officers, Des Sparrow and Rich Horner to help out with some shots down at the totem poles, which was a wonderful backdrop. After filming them, Conrad and Susan met with us down at Third Beach, which made for some beautiful shots.
VPD Susan and her horse Duke
We are extremely grateful that they were all so willing to go to these locations without a moment’s hesitation and I really cannot thank them all enough for being so helpful and so generous with their time.
We would like to thank Doug for allowing us to come down and film in the first place and for giving us the freedom to film whenever and wherever we wanted. It was truly a privilege and we thank all the officers and staff of the mounted squad, you made us feel so welcome.
And thanks again to everyone for keeping up with our blogs, it’s a real pleasure to be able to share all these experiences with you. Keep smiling!
Vancouver Police Mounted Squad at the Totem poles
Every year, the Stanley Park miniature train plays host to various themes and attracts huge crowds. There is one event and one time of year, however, that attracts more crowds than any other. The time of year is Christmas and the event is ‘Bright Nights’.
As soon as Halloween is over the miniature train crew is hard at work setting up the spectacular lights and decorations ready for their biggest event of the year.
Although we filmed a great deal on the train this past summer we were very keen to include this very special time of year and show just how much the whole area is transformed.
For those not familiar with Bright Nights we should explain what it’s all about and the great cause that it’s in aid of.
For the past fifteen years Bright Nights has been raising money for the BC Professional Firefighter’s Burn Fund. Here’s their website so you can see what they’re all about: http://www.burnfund.org/
During the entire month of November a total of 3800 Firefighters from all over BC take part in the set-up of Bright Nights and by the time they’re done over a million lights will be lit and ready to dazzle the crowds. From what we’ve seen so far this will truly be an event not to be missed!
Randy Motkaluk, Director of Bright Nights, fundraiser for the burn fund
While we were filming the set-up recently we were very fortunate to meet with Randy Motkaluk who is director of Bright Nights and who very generously gave his time to talk with us on camera about the event.
He gave us a wonderful interview and talked in detail about the Burn Fund, the programs they run and why Bright Nights is such an important fundraiser. We encourage you all to have a look at their website and help out in any way you can.
Bright Nights will be running from November 29th until January 1st so be sure to get your tickets early and enjoy one of the highlights of the year at the Stanley Park miniature train. Tickets are available now from Ticketmaster or you can buy tickets from the ticket booth at the miniature train. For details on ticket sales, train times and prices, visit: -
We thank Randy very much for helping out with our feature on the train and we will be doing our part in getting the word out there about this very worthy cause.
Thanks for reading everyone, we’ll be back next week with another blog which we think you will all love!
To see our TV clip, click on this link: http://youtu.be/TNCw5JRmqTg?t=3m28s
Here's our Indiegogo page: http://www.indiegogo.com/beautifulearth