Ceremonial Guard launches its 60th season

News release

June 25, 2018 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

The Ceremonial Guard of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) performed the first Changing of the Guard ceremony of the 2018 season on Sunday, June 24 at 10 a.m. In its 60 season, the Changing the Guard ceremony is the most recognized military tradition in Canada, and has attracted thousands of visitors to Parliament Hill in Ottawa since the first mount in 1959.

In addition to the Changing of the Guard ceremony, members of the Ceremonial Guard also perform daily sentry duties at Rideau Hall, the official residence and workplace of Her Excellency, the Governor General of Canada. Sentries are changed every hour on the hour from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Rideau Hall. Sentry duties began on Sunday, June 24 and will continue until Thursday, August 23.

The Ceremonial Guard also provides training and oversight to the members of the Canadian Armed Forces performing sentry duties at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which lies in front of the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa. Sentries will be posted at the National War Memorial until November 11.

The Ceremonial Guard also proudly takes part in celebrations on Parliament Hill commemorating Canada Day on July 1 and Fortissimo from July 19 to 21.

There will be no Changing of the Guard ceremony from June 29 to July 2 due to the Canada Day celebrations. The posting of sentries at Rideau Hall and the National War Memorial will continue as normal. 

The Ceremonial Guard is comprised of members of the CAF Regular and Reserve forces, and is one of the many ways that the Canadian Army is guaranteeing Reservists full time summer employment during the period of May to August.

Additional multimedia

Members of the Ceremonial Guard.
Members of the Ceremonial Guard perform their public duties in their first parade of the season in Ottawa, Ontario, on Sunday June 24th, 2018. © DND/MDN 2018
Members of the Ceremonial Guard.
Members of the Ceremonial Guard perform their public duties in their first parade of the season in Ottawa, Ontario, on Sunday June 24th, 2018. © DND/MDN 2018


“Joining the Reserves and becoming a member of the Ceremonial Guard is an excellent opportunity for students who are looking to finance their education, or even those who are just looking for a challenge. The commitment to provide guaranteed summer employment for Reservists enables the delivery of world-class public duties, while strengthening the Army and CAF Reserves.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Lynam, Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding Governor General’s Foot Guards

“Being a member of the Ceremonial Guard involves intense training and demands dedication and a commitment to military service. It is an honour in our 60th season to continue to deliver world-class ceremonial and public duties in the National Capital Region to thousands of visiting tourists and Canadians.”

Major Stephane Tremblay, Commanding Officer Ceremonial Guard

Quick facts

  • All the members of the Ceremonial Guard are fully-trained members of the Canadian Armed Forces, many with overseas experience on international operations.

  • The first Guard Mount took place 59 years ago on Parliament Hill on July 2, 1959. It was carried out by the Regiment of Canadian Guards, a Regular Force regiment of the Canadian Armed Forces.

  • The Public Duties Detachment was later manned 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 comprised of members from units across Canada who adopt the customs and traditions of these two Guards Regiments.

  • When required, the Ceremonial Guard mounts Guards of Honour for visiting dignitaries outside of public duties.

  • The Band of the Ceremonial Guard performs in public concerts and at military functions and other ceremonies throughout the National Capital Region.

  • The Canadian Army provides gainful employment to all Primary Reserve members who self-identify as available during the summer period up until August 31. Many of these members are employed as members of the Ceremonial Guard this summer.

  • Established on June 7th, 1872, the Governor General’s Foot Guards (GGFG) is the senior Reserve infantry regiment in Canada. Located in Ottawa at Cartier Square Drill Hall, the Regiment is comprised of members who are part-time sailors, soldiers, airmen and airwomen who serve Canada. The Ceremonial Guard is now considered a sub-unit of the GGFG, as command authority was transferred from 4th Canadian Division on March 27, 2018. Comprised of over 225 officers and non-commissioned members, the GGFG have three companies and a band. The three companies are divided by function; a Rifle Company, a Training Company and a Support Company. The GGFG and the Ceremonial Guard have been a fixture in the national capital region for over 145 years providing a functional and ceremonial presence throughout the Ottawa area. 

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Associated links


Second Lieutenant James Benning
Public Affairs Officer
Department of National Defence
Ceremonial Guard
Phone: 1-343-998-4060
Email: James.Benning@forces.gc.ca

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