HISTORY

The history of the Vancouver Police Pipe Band reveals a local pipe band which has been in continuous existence since 1914. The pipe band which is the “Official Band of Vancouver”, and its many individual members, have had a distinguished past and shows no sign of letting past tradition fall by the wayside.

 

TheVancouver Police Pipe Band is the oldest non-military pipe band in British Columbia and ranks amongst the most senior police pipe bands in the world. Like the band of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada formed only a few years previously, theVancouver Police Pipe Band has during its long history occupied a special place in the hearts of Vancouverites. Its stalwart, strapping members have long been regarded in the city with great pride and affection.

 

The band’s humble beginning occurred in 1914 at the opening of the “new” police station on Cordova Street. A handful of pipers within the department had organized themselves to play for the opening ceremonies. Chief Constable Malcolm MacLennan was so impressed with this performance that he authorized the formation of a departmental pipe band.

 

To find out more about the Vancouver Police Pipe Band’s rich history, scroll through the history below to see where we’ve been through the years…

2015 Estes Park, Colorado

September 8, 2015

In September 2015, the pipe band travelled to Estes Park, Colorado to participate in the Longs Peak Scottish Irish Festival. The band reconnected with Gagetown Pipes and Drums from New Brunswick and performed alongside the United States Marine Corps.

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2015 Chief Constable Unit Citation

January 8, 2015

For demonstrating more than 100 years of exceptional skill, judgement and dedication to duty, the Vancouver Police Department Pipe Band was awarded the Chief Constable’s Unit Citation.

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2014 London, England

June 7, 2014

In 2014, to celebrate 100 years, the Band set its sights on what many considered to be an unattainable goal; to play at the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. No non-military band had ever been permitted to take part in that historic and…

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2014 Night Patrol Gala

February 25, 2014

In late February the band performed for the Vancouver Police Foundation ‘Night Patrol Gala’. The event focused on the centennial of the band and brought awareness to the role the Vancouver Police play in the community. The evening exceeded all expectations and to a sold…

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2014 Freedom of the City Award, Vancouver, BC

February 17, 2014

2014 marked the Centennial of the Vancouver Police Pipe Band making us the only police band in the world with 100 years of continuous, uninterrupted service. This remarkable achievement was officially recognized by the City of Vancouver by bestowing the honor of “Freedom of the…

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2013 Basel Tattoo

July 12, 2013

After three international trips within a fifteen-month period the band took a much needed break before returning to Basel in 2013. The 8th edition tattoo was the biggest to date with over 200 musicians making up the Massed Pipes and Drums again under the direction…

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2011 Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Germany

October 30, 2011

In November of 2011 the band traveled to Berlin, Germany to perform in the Berlin Tattoo which was produced by the Basel Tattoo Production team. The event was very well attended and featured a recreation of the Brandenburg Gate. Not satisfied with only marching through…

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2011 Retirement of Andy Perrie

September 1, 2011

A special retirement party was held high above the city at Harbour Centre for retired pipe major Andy Perrie. After finishing school in 1947, Andy worked at a number of jobs until 1951, when he joined the Vancouver Police Department and the Pipe Band. As…

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2011 Las Vegas, Nevada

April 10, 2011

The band received an invitation from retired Major Bruce Hitchings to perform at the Las Vegas International Tattoo. Bruce was the Senior Pipe Major of the British Army while we were in Edinburgh in 1999. The tattoo was a spectacular performance under Bruce’s watchful eye…

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2010 Basel, Switzerland

July 11, 2010

In only its 5th year in operation the Basel Tattoo had grown to be the second largest of its kind second only to the Edinburgh Tattoo. The Vancouver Police were so highly regarded by Captain Stuart Samson MBE, the Director of Massed Pipes and Drums,…

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2009, Seixal, Portugal

July 1, 2009

While in Albertville we became good friends with the Portuguese Air Force Band and as such they invited us to Portugal in 2009. The band performed a series of concerts throughout the region of Seixal to very recipient crowds that had never experienced a pipe…

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2007 Albertville, France and Rome, Italy

July 1, 2007

P/M Davis’ first tour as band leader was to Italy and France in the summer of 2007. The band made a stop at the Eternal City of Rome and performed with the Tartan Pride Highland Dance Team at the Coliseum. Later we were hosted by…

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2005 Changing of the Guard – The Citadel, Quebec City

August 1, 2005

In August 2005, the Band joined 17 other Military Bands in Quebec City to participate in the 7th Annual International Festival of Military Music. The Band, once again, made its own little bit of history by becoming the first Pipe Band ever to perform the…

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2004 Calgary Stampede, Alberta

July 1, 2004

In July 2004, the Band traveled to Calgary, Alberta to participate in one of Canada’s largest parades – the Calgary Stampede Parade. With approximately 300,000 spectators along the parade route, the band wound its way from one side of downtown Calgary to the other and…

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2004 – 90 Years on the Beat

March 1, 2004

In the spring of 2004, to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the band, the returned to the studio to make their third recording. Titled “90 Years on the Beat” the CD is a salute to all those members of the band since 1914 including, as…

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2001 Bergen Op Zoom

August 30, 2001

Commemorative medal presented to each bandsman by the Dutch National “Thank You Canada and Allied Forces” Committee at the conclusion of a ceremony of remembrance in conjunction with the Calgary Police Pipe Band at the Canadian War Cemetery in Bergen Op Zoom on August 30th,…

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2001 – Netherlands International Tattoo – Breda, Holland

April 1, 2001

In 2001, the performed in Breda, Holland as part of the Netherlands International Tattoo. The band’s performances, in conjunction with the Pipe Band of the Calgary Police Service, were part of an overall military tattoo organized by the Dutch Armed Forces.

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2000 Honolulu, Hawaii

April 1, 2000

In September, 2000 the band returned to Honolulu, Hawaii yet again to perform in the Aloha Days Parade that winds its way from Honolulu through to Waikiki Beach. To date, this is the only parade the band has never completed. The tropical weather turned out…

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1999 Edinburgh Military Tattoo

August 1, 1999

In 1999, after just over two years of planning, fund raising and preparation, the band traveled to Edinburgh to perform with the Massed Pipes and Drums in the 50th Edinburgh Military Tattoo.   The band performed with military pipe bands including the 1st Battalion The…

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1998 – USS Kitty Hawk – San Diego

January 1, 1998

1998 brought more trips with the 15th Field Regiment to US Naval Air Stations. In the spring the band traveled to San Diego where they performed at Miramar Naval Air Station – the former Top Gun school for the Navy as well as performing onboard…

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1997 Police Ball

January 1, 1997

Throughout the summer of 1997, the pipe band rekindled its relationship with the military band of the 15th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery. Having produced a record together over a decade ago, the bands toured several United States Naval Air Stations together, playing at Change…

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1996 – Chiba Japan

January 1, 1996

The band traveled to Chiba, Japan in August, 1996 – a suburb of Tokyo. Hosted by the city of Chiba for a sister city cultural exchange the band performed at several indoor and outdoor venues.

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1993 – Hong Kong

October 1, 1993

In October of 1993, the band returned to Hong Kong a second time to participate with the Royal Hong Kong Police in their Beating Retreat ceremonies. As guest band for a second time, the Royal Hong Kong Police hospitality was second to none. This trip…

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1992 – Palm Springs, California

October 1, 1992

Vancouver Police Pipe Band Proclamation presented to Chief Constable Bill Marshall on January 23rd, 1992 by Sony Bonno, Mayor of Palm Springs

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1991 – Hawaii

February 1, 1991

In February, 1991, the band returned to Hawaii. The Mayor of Honolulu remembered the pipe band’s previous visits including the retreat ceremony to honour President Kennedy and presented the band with a proclamation from the city of Honolulu. The Mayor paid tribute to the pipe…

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1990 Yokohama, Japan

July 1, 1990

In July of 1990, the once again ventured back to the Orient, this time for a trip to Yokohama, Japan. While here the band played at the Kanagawa Festival 90, which celebrated the numerous sister city relationships Yokohama has, of which, Vancouver is one.

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1989 Singapore

May 1, 1989

Another trip to the Orient was made in May of 1989, when the band traveled to Singapore. There they played for the Canada Day celebrations of the Pacific Asian Tourist Association. While in Singapore the band visited the Singapore Police Training Head Quarters and played…

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1988 Hong Kong, Hong Kong

November 1, 1988

The band made a two week trip to Hong Kong in November of 1988, where it participated in a Beating Retreat ceremony with the Royal Hong Kong Police Pipe Band. While in Hong Kong the band played at the Canadian War Cemetery at Sai Wan…

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1983 Music In Motion

January 1, 1983

The band releases “Music in Motion” and featured the 15th Field Regiment Brass Band as well as the pipe band. The album was favourably received by Billy Rankin of Nazareth, who was recording an album in the studio next door.   Billy Rankin of Nazareth…

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1980 – Edinburgh, Scotland

August 1, 1980

It is probably not common knowledge that on March 22nd, 1978, the City of Vancouver “twinned” with the City of Edinburgh. The pipe band played for the honoured guests who included The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, the Rt. Hon. Kenneth Borthwick and the Lady Provost,…

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1978 “The Pipe Band”

January 1, 1978

The band’s first album “The Pipe Band” was released in 1978.

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1976 Santa Barbara, California

July 1, 1976

In 1976, another California event took the band to Santa Barbara, where it performed daily at the Santa Barbara National Horse Show. This occasion honoured Canada and the 1976 Olympic Games.

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1967 San Francisco, California

January 1, 1967

The 1967 trip to San Francisco was extremely interesting in that together with the Canadian Guards, the band performed a miniature version of the “Changing of the Guard” ceremony. As a representative of the Canadian government, the Vancouver Police Band was there to publicize Montreal’s…

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1963 Honolulu, Hawaii

November 22, 1963

Aloha! This traditional Hawaiian phrase had become a common saying amongst the band members since their arrival to Honolulu in late November, 1963 for the Annual Aloha Festival. Every parade and every performance began and ended with a joyous ‘Aloha!’ from their gracious local hosts, and the…

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1961 – Retirement of Pipe Major Malcolm Nicholson, C.M.

January 1, 1961

Malcolm was accepted by the Vancouver Police Department in 1929 and at the same time joined the band. Malcolm recalls that he gained considerable experience from his various associations in this band, and during the next few years thereafter, furthered his piping knowledge by studying…

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1939 Mexico City, Mexico

January 1, 1939

The band made one of its longest trips to date when it attended the International Police Convention in Mexico City. The police band was part of the Canadian representation and along with other bands and drill teams from throughout North and South America, it gave…

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1937 San Francisco, California

May 27, 1937

During this trip the pipe band played at the opening ceremonies of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge.

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1932 British Columbia Pipers Association

January 1, 1932

The band has long been closely tied to the piping fraternity in the North West. In 1932 the British Columbia Pipers Association held its inaugural meeting at the police station. Band member Roderick MacLeod was elected as the first president of the association.   MacLeod…

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1925 Band Uniform

January 1, 1925

Initially, the band performed in their regular police department uniforms. A few years later from 1918 through to 1925 the band wore the Davidson tartan. In 1925 the band’s uniform was changed one final time and to this day the band wears the Prince Edward…

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1920 Portland, Oregon Rose Parade

July 1, 1920

In 1920 the Band was invited to Portland Oregon to play for the famed RCMP Musical Ride. It was during this visit that one of the Bandsmen, Allan Hoare, apprehended a hold-up suspect in an armed robbery of a downtown bank. The suspect was later…

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1917 Chief Constable Malcolm MacLennan

March 20, 1917

On March 20 1917 three officers answered a call from a landlord whose angry tenant was threatening his life after he had gone to collect rent money. When the police arrived, they were greeted with gun fire shot through the door window. Two officers were…

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1914 – Formation of the Band

November 1, 1914

The band’s humble beginning occurred in 1914 at the opening of the “new” police station on Cordova Street. A handful of pipers within the department had organized themselves to play for the opening ceremonies. Chief Constable Malcolm MacLennan was so impressed with this performance that…

Read more