Heritage Structure | Section 2 – Gun Salutes


  1. Gun salutes are classified as:
    1. Royal or State Salutes consisting of 21 guns to the reigning Sovereign, members of the Royal Family, foreign sovereigns and members of reigning foreign families, heads of state of foreign countries and the Governor General of Canada;
    2. General Salutes in which the number of rounds fired depends on the occasion or the status of the personage being honoured; and
    3. Funeral Salutes in which the number of rounds fired depends on the status of the deceased.


  1. The procedure for firing gun salutes is detailed in the appropriate gun drill manuals.
  2. Gun salutes, as a general rule, shall not be fired before sunrise or after sunset. (Within the Royal Canadian Navy, sunrise may be interpreted to be "colours".)
  3. Gun salutes shall not be fired so as to cause aural discomfort to the receiving dignitary (refer to reference d).
  4. Salutes to reigning royal personages of other nations and authorities and dignitaries of other nations are authorized only when their country or the government they represent is formally recognized by the Government of Canada.
  5. When guards of honour are mounted in connection with visits of distinguished personages or general officers, gun salutes as prescribed in Annex A are normally fired on the visitors’ arrival and may be fired on departure.
  6. Gun salutes shall normally commence at an appropriate time so as to terminate with the receiving dignitary’s arrival in location. If the location is one in which troops have been drawn up for a review or a guard of honour has been mounted, the point of arrival is normally the dais. When gun salutes and arms drill salutes are connected in the same ceremonial event, the event commander can coordinate the two, as well as the musical salute, for best effect. When circumstances prevent adequate warning of the dignitary’s arrival, it may be most effective to render the gun and arms drill salutes together. On these occasions, the gun salute shall normally commence on the final movement of the present arms, and the arms salute shall be concluded in its normal manner and the parade continued regardless of the fact that the gun salute may still be underway.


  1. The following places are designated as saluting stations:
    1. St. John’s (Newfoundland and Labrador)
    2. Charlottetown
    3. Halifax
    4. Fredericton
    5. Québec
    6. Montréal
    7. Ottawa
    8. Toronto
    9. Winnipeg
    10. Regina
    11. Edmonton
    12. Vancouver
    13. Victoria (Esquimalt)
  2. The senior Canadian officer in command of a CAF formation serving abroad may authorize the firing of salutes on the occasions prescribed in this order for saluting stations, provided operational and local conditions permit.


  1. Twenty-one gun salutes shall be fired at all saluting stations listed in paragraph 8 on 1 July, Canada Day, at 1200 hours.
  2. A Royal Salute shall be fired at the saluting stations located in the national and provincial capital cities (i.e., those listed in paragraph 8, except Montréal and Vancouver) at 1200 hours local time on the official birthday of the Sovereign, which is celebrated in Canada on the first Monday immediately preceding 25 May.
  3. A Royal Salute shall be fired at the appropriate saluting station on the following occasions:
    1. on the arrival and departure of the Sovereign, or a member of the Royal Family during official visits to Canada;
    2. for the Governor General of Canada –
      1. on reading the Royal Commission and taking oath of office;
      2. on arrival at the Houses of Parliament to open, prorogue, or dissolve Parliament;
      3. on arrival and departure when officially visiting a saluting station, but not more often at any one place than once in 12 months; and
      4. on departure from Ottawa at the expiration of the term of office.
  4. A Royal Salute will be fired annually at Saint John, New Brunswick on Loyalist Day, 18 May.
  5. A 15-gun vice-regal salute shall be fired at the appropriate saluting station on the following occasions:
    1. on the assembling and closing of a provincial legislature; and
    2. on an official visit by a lieutenant governor to a saluting station within the sphere of jurisdiction, but not more often than once in 12 months.
  6. When anniversaries or other special occasions are set by Proclamation, National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ) will ascertain the correct date and notify all concerned. NDHQ will give authority for the firing of salutes on these occasions.


  1. A 21-gun Memorial Salute shall be fired following the two minute period of silence commencing at the beginning of the Rouse at 1102 hours local time at all saluting stations on 11 November, Remembrance Day. The interval between rounds shall be 60 seconds. Flags shall be flown at half-mast in accordance with Chapter 9, paragraph 8.


A separate” Marker” round may be fired to signal the start of the two minutes of silence; this round is not part of the 21-gun salute. This protocol has been agreed to by the Royal Canadian Legion. The 2 minutes of silence is sacrosanct.


  1. Military officers temporarily holding any higher command or granted an acting rank are entitled, while holding the appointment, to the gun salute which is prescribed for the higher office. Distinguishing flags are flown in accordance with Chapter 14.


  1. All salutes to the nation by foreign ships will normally be fired only once during an official visit. Saluting stations at St. John’s, Halifax, Québec, Montréal, Vancouver and Victoria (Esquimalt), when tasked by NDHQ, shall return salutes gun for gun up to a maximum of 21.
  2. Gun salutes made to the Sovereign or Governor General in residence at the Citadel in Québec shall not be returned.
  3. When a foreign warship is visiting a saluting station and official notification is received that this ship intends to fire a salute in honour of an important occasion in its own country, a salute in reply shall not be given.
  4. Normally, personal salutes to CAF flag and general officers will not be returned. If it is the known custom of the nation concerned to return personal salutes, this initiative may be taken by the ship or saluting station. In this case the number of guns fired shall be those for the foreign senior officer afloat as authorized in Annex A. Officers in command of saluting ships below the rank of commodore are entitled to a salute of seven guns as a return salute only. Officers in command need not be physically present at the gun position.


  1. When a burial with military honours is authorized for a personage or flag/general officer listed in Annex A, minute guns, not exceeding the number to which the individual was entitled while living, may be fired when the remains are being conveyed to the place of interment. As the remains are deposited in the grave or in the sea, a second gun salute may be fired at normal intervals (see Section 1, paragraph 2).
  2. If an individual has died afloat but is being buried at a place on shore where there is an artillery battery, minute guns may be fired during conveyance as follows:
    1. from the ship when the body is being conveyed to the shore; and
    2. by the battery while the funeral procession is moving from the landing place to that of interment.
  3. When the remains are to be transported to another location for burial, an additional salute may be fired.
  4. Minute guns will only be fired on additional occasions during a funeral when authorized by NDHQ.

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