Rick Mercer scales Albion Falls — no joke
Comedian impressed by different side of the city
Rick Mercer is set to show the country a different side of Hamilton.
In Tuesday’s episode of The Rick Mercer Report on CBC, the comedian repels down Albion Falls with the help of Hamilton Police’s Emergency Response Unit. He was stunned by the beauty of the waterfall and suspects the scenery will surprise many viewers who have a different impression of Hamilton.
“I don’t think that when people think Hamilton they think stunningly beautiful,” he said, noting he was also impressed by the waterfall’s easy accessibility.
One of his favourite parts of the show is showing people parts of Canada they don’t know well, Mercer said in an interview. Though he’s been to Hamilton a few times for special events or to film segments, Mercer said he isn’t very familiar with the city and enjoyed experiencing its natural offerings.
Mercer filmed the segment in late October and left a positive impression with the officers who dangled him over the rushing water.
“He’s very trusting,” said Constable Darren Murphy, a repel master with the ERU. “He doesn’t hold back at all.”
Murphy noted police are frequently called to Albion Falls and other locations along the escarpment for rescues or to search for evidence. The team regularly practices high-risk repels to be sure they are ready for an emergency.
Though respectful of the officers’ skills and training, Mercer did take a few pokes at the team.
“He made fun of us,” said Murphy, who is eager to see the final cut, which will condense a day of filming in the city. “We had a lot of fun.”
Mercer also spent time with the force’s Action Team bicycle unit downtown. He’s a fan of two-wheeled policing, which he notes is like a throwback to beat cops. “They seem more accessible.”
The bike unit had to battle a bit of bad weather, but no criminals during the shoot, Mercer said with some disappointment. “We didn’t have to solve any crime.”
Acting Staff Sergeant Marty Schulenberg, head of the team, said he was impressed with how easy Mercer was to converse with and his respect for policing.
“He really does come across as an everyday guy … but you can always see the wheels turning,” Schulenberg said of Mercer’s quick wit.
The officers taught Mercer take-down techniques and some bike skills, including driving down stairs at Jackson Square.
“Except for a collision with a water foundation, he did really well,” said Schulenberg.
Mercer said everyone he encountered in the core was friendly, especially “when they took a second glance and realized I wasn’t a cop.”
Schulenberg added the Action Team enjoyed Mercer’s visit as a chance to show off their proactive policing approach, which has lead to 1,500 arrests and 1,900 charges since it launched in May 2010.
“It was an opportunity to show what we do,” agreed Murphy.
The Rick Mercer Report
Tuesday, Nov, 29
8 p.m. CBC