National Sentry Program

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

On May 15, 2023, the National Sentry Program (NSP) resumed its programming for 2023. The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), sentries will stand guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, until November 10, 2023.

The National Sentry Program may pause, adjust hours, or end early to ensure sentries and visitors' health and safety. If planning a visit, please check one of our social media pages to confirm any changes to the program.

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About the program

The National Sentry Program reinforces Canada's commitment to remember and honour Canadians who served in the twentieth century's major wars, including both World Wars. NSP also honours those who have contributed to Canada's long-standing tradition of military excellence through to the present day.

On October 22, 2014, Corporal Nathan Cirillo was tragically killed while on sentry duty. Sentry duty at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier now holds an even deeper meaning for both the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian public.

The Canadian Armed Forces have posted sentries at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier since 2007. The program includes a rotation of sentries from the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the Canadian Ranger units from across Canada.

Sentries to represent their units' milestones and pay personal respects through sentry duty at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

It is important to commemorate significant anniversaries and accomplishments instrumental to Canada's growth, prosperity, and military heritage. However, the CAF scheduled the National Sentry Program only after consultation with health agencies and the City of Ottawa.

The City of Ottawa has assured the CAF it welcomes this outdoor activity as a low-risk opportunity for residents and visitors. As Canada begins to adopt reopening phases, it is good to feel there is a sense of normalcy following isolation measures.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is Canada's most iconic and visible reminder of the service and sacrifice of the Canadian Armed Forces members.

On May 28, 2000, the remains of an unidentified Canadian soldier who died in the First World War were repatriated from France. They were buried in a special tomb in front of the National War Memorial in Ottawa with great ceremony.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier honours the more than 116,000 Canadians who sacrificed their lives in the cause of peace and freedom.

The Unknown Soldier represents all serving Canadians – Navy, Army, Air Force, or Merchant Marine. Those who died or may die for their country in all conflicts – past, present, and future.

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