Ceremonial Guard

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Armed Forces have made the difficult decision to cancel the summer program of Public Duties including the Changing of the Guard ceremonies on Parliament Hill, as well as daily sentry guard duties at Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General of Canada.

Also cancelled is Fortissimo, the Canadian Army’s annual military musical spectacle, which is performed on the lawns of Parliament Hill each July.

The Ceremonial Guard look forward to performing again in 2023.

The Ceremonial Guard was established by the Canadian Army (CA) on behalf of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to plan, prepare and execute Public Duties in the Nation's Capital during the summer.

Every guardsman, musician and member of the support staff is a trained Regular or Reserve member of the CAF. All newly enrolled personnel must successfully complete the CAF basic military training prior to being granted permission to wear CAF uniforms and the full-dress uniform of either the Governor General’s Foot Guards or the Canadian Grenadier Guards.

The majority of the Guard is composed of members from Canadian Army Regular and Reserve Force units from CA regiments across the country and is augmented by members from the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Soldiers who are interested in positions with the Ceremonial Guard should make their chains of command aware of their interest.

The first Guard Mount took place on Parliament Hill on July 2, 1959. It was carried out by the Regiment of Canadian Guards, a Regular Force regiment of the Canadian Army. The Public Duties Detachment was later staffed by the two Reserve Guards Regiments: the Governor General's Foot Guards from Ottawa and the Canadian Grenadier Guards from Montreal.

Today, the Ceremonial Guard is a composite CAF unit of over 400 members that includes a Headquarters Company, two Public Duties companies and the Band of the Ceremonial Guard.

The Band of the Ceremonial Guard is comprised of members of the CAF Primary Reserves. It forms each year for the purpose of providing musical support for the world-famous Changing of the Guard ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. During this period, the band is also tasked with supporting official functions held at Rideau Hall, foreign embassies and other locations around the national capital region.

Distinctive in the scarlet uniforms and bearskin hats, the Band of the Ceremonial Guard attracts huge crowds wherever it performs. The band provides an excellent summer employment opportunity for music students to experience life in the CAF. Selected candidates are not only excellent musicians, but also fine ambassadors of the Canadian people.

The band has received many awards and is considered the top military marching band in the country. In 1997, the Ottawa Tourism and Convention Authority, in recognition of the Ceremonial Guards’ long association with the City of Ottawa, acknowledged the Ceremonial Guard as the most prominent tourist attraction in the Nation's capital.

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