JA Snow Funeral Home

339 Lacewood Drive, Halifax, NS


Bruce Thomas Calnen

January 13, 1952September 2, 2019

CALNEN, BRUCE THOMAS ‘RAT’, RCMP ret’d, Passed away Monday 02 September 2019 in the Palliative Care Unit of the Victoria General Hospital holding hands with Dale and Keegan. Born in Halifax 13 January 1952, Bruce was the son of the late Charles and Catherine (Connors) Calnen and brother of the late Sandra (Sandy) Morgan.

Bruce was a retired member of the RCMP and while his career was cut short after 15 years because of serious health issues, the times he spent on the Force were some of the most interesting of his life including his time spent working as an undercover officer. During that period, he made many lifelong friends working with other RCMP and police officers from various forces who, in some cases, were tasked to keep him safe. He learned quickly who to trust in life and, once he placed his trust in you, it remained that way until his death. How many times have we been regaled by the stories only Bruce could tell in his very special way. His memory was flawless and family and friends were often left speechless at his recall of events whether recent or from years ago, and should anyone get even the smallest detail wrong, he was always quick to remind them of how it actually happened. When asked, the advice he often gave to potential or new recruits was "never disgrace the uniform".

He enjoyed travel and would often visit significant historical and religious sites of the countries he visited remarking that he read about it and wanted to see it. He liked to read, particularly anything having to do with crime, John Grisham novels, history books and anything about Oak Island, following the mystery from his childhood to the most recent television series and frequently offering his opinion on the subject. Then again, Bruce offered his opinion on almost everything in life, whether we were prepared for it or not.

Family and friends were very important to Bruce and he often spoke fondly of growing up with his buddies from childhood through to high school and the mischief they caused, as well as camping with Pete, travelling to Florida with Dan, golfing with Ross and the boys, watching Keegan grow into the husband and father he has become, keeping Cathy and Kim on their toes because they never knew what Uncle Bruce might do or say, a good party and quiet times with Dale. He lived life his way, never apologizing for anything, offering his advice whether it was asked for or not. He protected his family fiercely, would go out of his way to help if he thought you deserved it, took family and friends to task if he disagreed with what we were doing, and constantly reminded us that we were loved. His last few weeks were filled with the love, laughter and fond memories of a life lived to the fullest.

Bruce leaves to mourn the love of his life Dale Lawrence, son Keegan Dawson (Natalie) and adored grandchildren, Abigail, Zachary and Cassandra; his very tolerant brother in law, Dan Morgan, especially on those long drives to and from Florida; and his much loved nieces Cathy (Brian McKinnon) Middle Sackville; and Kim (Glen Baker) Fall River; great nieces and great nephew, Aaren, Andrea, Damon, Stephanie and their families.

Bruce was predeceased by his parents, Charles and Catherine Calnen, and his sister, Sandra (Sandy) as well as numerous Aunts and Uncles. It can never be said that Bruce did not live life to its fullest!

Family flowers only. Donations to the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) Halifax who were instrumental in his care and comfort through the last five years of his life or a charity of choice. Cremation has taken place. Visitation will take place on Monday September 9th from 1-4 pm at J.A. Snow Funeral Home, 339 Lacewood Drive, Halifax. Memorial service followed by a reception will be held at J.A. Snow Funeral Home, Tuesday, September 10th beginning at 11 am.


  • Visitation Monday, September 9, 2019
  • Funeral Service Tuesday, September 10, 2019
  • Reception Tuesday, September 10, 2019


Bruce Thomas Calnen

have a memory or condolence to add?

Joe Renzi

September 15, 2019

I was saddened to learn about the passing of my friend Bruce. We shared good times working in Toronto. My sincere condolences to his family. Bruce will be remembered in my thoughts and prayers.


Stephen and Janet Dawson

September 14, 2019

Dale and Keegan - We are so sorry to hear of Bruce's passing. Hope you and the family are doing okay. You are in our thoughts. Janet and Steve

Ron Belanger

September 9, 2019

My condolences to Bruce's family and friends. I worked with Bruce on a couple of undercover operations, one targetting bikers near Peterborough and the other against organized crime figures in Toronto/Mississauga. His eidetic memory made him a great storyteller and policeman. I never fancied the nickname 'Rat'. It may have suited his undercover role but did not match his real character. He will be missed.

Elizabeth Boyles

September 9, 2019

Dale, Keegan and family, sorry I can't be there with you. We are stuck in Cape Breton due to the hurricane. I will call you as soon as I can. Love to everyone Aunt Betty. Xoxo

Lee searle

September 9, 2019

I lost my husband over a year ago,at one time he worked with bruce ,to us he was rat!He was a good guy,made us laugh many many times!So sorry for your loss!!My prayers go out to you and your family!!He will be so missed!Keep the memories in your heart,thats what I am doing!!We all miss peter so much but he also was very sick,and know hes in heaven!Perhaps they will see each other again!!I do feel your pain!!

Ernie McGrath

September 8, 2019

Sorry to hear of Bruce's passing. Bruce and I were school buddies when we both lived in Spryfield. In 1972 at the ripe old age of 20 we both joined the RCMP and ended up together at Depot Division Regina in troop 10. Boot Camp was a very challenging time for us and all our fellow troop mates. It was a very different place from today. After graduation Bruce transferred to Ontario and I went on to Manitoba where I am today retired living in the city of Winnipeg.
Bruce was one of the smaller guys in our troop but he more then made up for size as he was a very bold and gutsy individual. His accomplishments as a UC operator were second to none. May God give his family comfort during this time. Rest in Peace my good friend and troop mate.

Frank Yakimchuk

September 8, 2019

I never actually knew Bruce but his work in the field was outstanding and when I worked a JFO Drug Unit from HPD in the early 1990’s with the RCMP H Division his name was often mentioned with respect. God Bless Bruce, his family and past co-workers.

Thomas Kavanaugh

September 8, 2019

Dale, Keegan & Family:

I was a Troopmate of Bruces' and I have many fond memories of our great times spent together. Please know our thoughts and prayers are with you as you go through this difficult time. Hopefully the good memories will lighten sad hearts and help you all to look ahead the way your husband, dad, and granddad would have wanted.

Marlene & Tom Kavanaugh
Niagara Falls, Ontario

Allan Mac Donald

September 7, 2019

Dear Dale, Keegan and family. Please accept our deepest condolence on the passing of our friend Bruce. We worked together in Toronto Drug Section in the mid 1970's and Bruce did excellent work as an undercover officer. We will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers. I will have a mass offered up for Bruce from our Catholic Church.

Allan & Eileen Mac Donald
Oakville, Ontario.

Mike barrett

September 7, 2019

After going through training with Bruce, I can attest to his memorable character. The escapades in 10 Troop for 6 months will always be remembered. Then we never spoke for the next 40 years? One morning the phone rings and I recognized the voice from the past…“the rat” was back. Over the next few years, Bruce and I would continue with the spontaneous phone calls. They were always the highlight of the day and we had planned to get together again one day..We still will.
Special thoughts for Bruce's all who helped my friend over the years. He was a special man.