The design of the tartan was undertaken to mark the 125th Anniversary of the RCMP in 1997. A volunteer tartan committee consulted extensively across Canada, called for submissions and hosted a friendly competition to select an appropriate tartan. Mrs. Violet Holmes of Burnaby, British Columbia, provided the art work that lead to the creation of the tartan. The committee then partnered with Burnett’s and Struth Scottish Regalia Ltd. of Barrie, Ontario and Lochcarron of Scotland to produce the tartan pictured below. Following approval by Commissioner Murray, the tartan was officially registered with the Scottish Tartans Society and was formally presented to the Force by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne during her visit to New Brunswick in June, 1998.
The background or theme colour of the tartan is dark blue. It is the colour of the riding breeches traditionally worn by Mounties and is also characteristic of the shabrack or saddle blanket used in the Musical Ride. The dark hue of this blue lends a subtle character to the tartan and assures that it complements the Red Serge tunic.
Scarlet is the colour of the tunic for which the RCMP is known the world over. The rich red recalls the early years of the Force in Canada when scarlet was worn. Of course, Red Serge is the ceremonial uniform used by the RCMP to this day.
Yellow represents the cavalry stripe of the RCMP’s distinctive ceremonial uniform. It also adorns the regular working dress, on both the hatband and trousers of the dedicated men and women who serve Canadians on a daily basis. This yellow is also taken from both the crown and gilt letters of the Force badge. It is as distinctive to the RCMP uniform as the scarlet tunic itself.
Sienna is taken from the bison which is the centre-piece of the RCMP badge. It is symbolic of Canada’s expansive western plains and the heartland of the RCMP.
Green is the colour of the maple leaves which surround the scroll and bison on the RCMP badge. The maple leaf is distinctively Canadian: It symbolizes Canada as a nation. The dark green of the tartan is a link to the land, the country, and the people served by the Force
The fine white accent of the tartan is representative of the lanyard worn as an accoutrement on the RCMP’s ceremonial uniform. White is also intended as a link to Canada’s First Nations people. It has special spiritual significance, symbolizing strength and endurance – traits which are the legacy of the RCMP in Canada.
The bison on the RCMP’s badge is set into a background of sky blue. This same hue of blue is readily associated with the United Nations and has special significance to the Force, given its role in international peacekeeping.