On summer mornings, the lawn in front of Parliament’s Centre Block comes alive with sights and sounds of the impressive Changing of the Guard ceremony. The free event, which is modeled on the one in London, England, is a parade representing the changing of the guards. Experience the music and colourful drills of this traditional ceremony at 10:00 a.m. every day from June 23 to August 24, 2019.
NOTE: From June 25-July 4, 2019, the ceremony will not be held on Parliament Hill due to Canada Day preparations and tear-down. Revised plans during this period are as follows:
- June 25-27: No performances
- June 28 to 30, and July 2 to 5: The ceremony will take place at Rideau Hall, the Governor General of Canada’s official residence (near downtown Ottawa).
- July 1 (Canada Day): The ceremony will take place at the National War Memorial near Parliament Hill.
What to expect
Arrive on the lawn of Parliament Hill at 9:45 a.m. to obtain a good viewing spot along the corded area. By arriving early, you can also hear an audio presentation (English and French) which explains the symbolism, history and proceedings of the ceremony.
If you’re not on the Hill early, you might see and hear the parade as it makes its way up Elgin Street from the Cartier Square Drill Hall – they arrive on Parliament Hill at precisely 10:00 a.m.
Once on the Hill, the Band of the Ceremonial Guard provides music while the Guards are inspected and the Old Guard becomes the New Guard.
The first Guard Mount took place on Parliament Hill in 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 soldiers from units across Canada who wear and 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 also performs in public concerts, at military functions and other ceremonies throughout the Canada’s capital region.
Visit our webpage on Parliament Hill to learn about other events and activities that take place on this historic site year-round, including yoga, a sound and light show and more!