Journey to Ottawa's Parliament Hill for the Changing the Guard Ceremony
- Ottawa Travel Guide
- Wednesday, 09 May 2012 23:08
There are not many things more iconic in Canada's capital city than the Changing the Guard ceremony held every morning at 10:00 (weather permitting) in the summer. From June 26 to August 23, trained professionals dressed in traditional guard uniforms present a special ceremony in front of Parliament Hill that is free for all to witness. While taking tours of Ottawa, travellers may want to head over to the government building and enjoy this fun and interesting outdoor event.
The Changing the Guard ceremony happens at important landmarks, buildings and historical monuments throughout the world, paying respect to the local military and their importance to the country. For instance, the ritual can be witnessed in Greece, Singapore, Portugal, India and throughout North America.
The guardsmen who participate in the ceremonial procedure are often university and college students who serve as primary reservists in the Canadian Forces. The individuals are separated into two groups, called the Governor General's Foot Guards and the Canadian Grenadier Guards, each of which features uniformed pipers and other musicians. Roughly 400 people are involved in these groups that rotate spots in the ceremony throughout the season.These guards hail from towns and cities across the country and consider it an honour to be a part of this tradition.
If travellers want to see the guards in other places around the city, there are other locations that host their own ceremonies. For instance, every hour at Rideau Hall, the Governor General's residence, the guards change positions while a bagpipe is briefly played. Before the actual event on Parliament Hill, participating guards march down the streets of Ottawa to head to their post, specifically along Laurier Avenue West, Elgin Street, and Wellington Streets. Similar events can be seen in other cities in Canada as well, including Quebec.
Just like the ceremony at Buckingham Palace, Canada's capital also has an impressive display of pride and loyalty during their Changing the Guard ritual that is seen by thousands of travellers every summer. A visit to the ceremonial event can be a great way to kick off a day of sightseeing through the downtown area, along the Rideau Canal and into the ByWard Market neighbourhood to have a memorable holiday in Ottawa.