About the Ceremonial Guard

The Ceremonial Guard was established by the Canadian Armed Forces 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 Canadian Armed Forces. All newly enrolled personnel must successfully complete Canadian Armed Forces basic military training prior to being granted permission to wear Canadian Armed Forces uniforms and the full-dress uniform of one of the Guards Regiments.

The Ceremonial Guard, today, is a composite Canadian Armed Forces Unit of over 400 people that includes a Foot Guard company and the Band of the Ceremonial Guard. This year, the majority of the Guard is composed of Regular and Reserve Force Guard and includes soldiers from regiments across Canada and for the first time, the ceremonial members from Canada's Navy and Air Force.

Our History

The first Guard Mount took place on Parliament Hill on July 2nd, 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 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 a composite CAF unit of over 400 people that includes a Headquarters Company, a Public Duties company, the Band of the Ceremonial Guard and the Pipes and Drums of the Ceremonial Guard.

The majority of the Guard is composed of Regular and Reserve Force Guard and includes soldiers from regiments across Canada. The Guard also employs Regular Forces members from the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Navy to execute sentry duty at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The Band

The Band of the Ceremonial Guard is part of the CAF Primary Reserves. It forms each year for the purpose of providing musical support for the world famous Changing 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 sites around the national capital region.

Distinctive in the scarlet uniform and bearskin headdress, 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 Canadian Forces. Selected candidates are not only excellent musicians, but also fine ambassadors of the Canadian people.

The band has been given 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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