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Parliament Hill - Changing of the Guard Tips (18)

Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill

Every summer morning Parliament Hill is alive with music and colorful drills. The Changing of the Guard is a large-scale production includes a regimental band and pipers. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. each morning, but arrive about 15 minutes early to grab a spot with a great view.

apbeaches's Profile Photo
Nov 08, 2014


Don't miss this ceremony that is held from late June to late August on Parliament Hill, no matter how the weather is. Get there early in order to have a good view as the ceremony gets underway at 10 am. The guards will march from their Cartier Sq. drill hall up Elgin st. to Parliament Hill. There are bands from two regiments but most of the ceremonial soldiers are reservists in the forces and are usually university students. After that you can explore the buildings on the hill which overlooks the Ottawa River.

davidjo's Profile Photo
Mar 29, 2012

Watch the Changing of the Guard

From late June to the 3rd week of August, the Changing of the Guard Ceremony takes place on Parliament Hill. It starts a little before 10:00 in the morning when the Old Guard arrive. Once they have been inspected, the New Guard arrive to relieve them.

Redcoats, bearskin caps, pipes and drums; the whole thing involves the Governor General's Foot Guard (Ottawa - red plume worn on bearskin) and the Canadian Grenedier Guards (Montreal - white plume worn on bearskin).

If you are downtown Ottawa at the right time, it's worth about 40 minutes of your time; and the price is right - FREE.

GrumpyDiver's Profile Photo
Aug 01, 2011

Every summer at 10:00 AM

Every summer (daily, beginning in late June to the end of August) the Ceremonial Guard performs the Changing the Guard ceremony on Parliament Hill.

'The parade begins at the Cartier Square Drill Hall with the Drum Major, followed by the band, an officer carrying the Regimental Colours, the old guard, and finally the two divisions of the 'new guard'. Turning North onto Queen Elizabeth Dr., the parade continues underneath the Laurier Ave. bridge and then turns left onto the ramp leading onto Laurier Ave. The parade then continues with a right turn onto Elgin St, then 'wheels' onto Wellington before the parade arrives on Parliament Hill precisely at 10:00AM.'

kris-t's Profile Photo
Jul 17, 2011
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Changing the Guard & Parliament Building

The Parliament Buildings are the are home to the Canadian House of Commons, Hall of Honour, Library of Parliament, Senate and magnificent Peace Tower. They are worth the visit. There are guided tours several times a day and you will be glad to take one of them.
If you are here during the summer, do not miss the Changing of the Guard ceremonies (June to August, daily from 10 am to 10:30 am). Try to get here 20 minutes earlier, to get a good spot! They are free and it is quite a show!

Check out the official web site for more information and for a virtual tour:

monica71's Profile Photo
Apr 04, 2011


Ottawa's Parliment Hill changing of the guards is quite a sight. The beautiful Parliment Building standing proud in the background and the drums being beaten with a long roll, while the marching guard parade in cadence down the slope of the hill, is thrilling to watch and hear. This is the only replica of the London changing of the guard in North America. Parading during the summer months starting at 10:00am makes for a lot of tourists, so arrive early to Parliment Hill to be up close to where you can feel the drums sound vibrate through you as the guard march by.

travelgourmet's Profile Photo
Jan 19, 2011

Changing of the Guard

The Changing of the Guard is a favourite of mine. I often take a short coffee break in the summer to go down and watch them march by my office. The changing of the guard takes place every day (weather permitting) in the summer (from late June to late August). With a brass band and pipe band, members of two reserve units (Governor General's Footguard from Ottawa (red plumes) and the Canadian Grenadier Guards from Montreal (white plumes)) wearing their ceremonial scarlet and large bear skin hats perform this historic military tradition. They leave their drill hall on Laurier (next to City Hall) at approximately 9:50 AM and march west on Laurier, turning right onto Elgin, marching past the National War Memorial, watch for the "heads left" order, and then left onto Wellington, making their way up to Parliament Hill.

From 10:00AM to 10:30AM the guard members are inspected by their officers while the band entertains. Arrive ten minutes early to hear an explanation of the ceremony (or use the time to march up Elgin with the Guard). They then head back down Elgin and to their drill hall. Nothing beats a parade! The Changing of the Guard is free.

Two other things. On really hot days (it can be very humid in Ottawa) you may see guards collapse, it's important to keep in mind just how difficult it is to stand at attention in full ceremonial uniform in 40 degree heat. That said, please give them a good clap when their done, for some reason nobody ever does and it bugs me!

Jul 12, 2008

The impressive East Block

This view gives you some idea how close together attractions are in downtown Ottawa, with the East Block of the Parliament buildings looming in the background as Sue begins her descent for a closer look at the locks of the Rideau Canal. The East Block, completed in 1867, was built in the ornate Gothic Revival style, with its purpose being to provide offices and meeting space above and beyond that provided by the main Centre Block and its sister West Block. Canada's most famous Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald once had his offices there. In 1910, a less ornate 'wing' was added to join the two ends of the original structure, thereby forming an enclosed courtyard which provided more privacy for the hard-working politicians :-) The main function of the building today is to provide offices for the members of Canada's Senate and I noticed signs to this effect in the adjoining parking lot as we walked past.

I must really like this building because it also features in my last visit to Ottawa, when we happened by during a Changing of the Guard ceremony (3rd pic). This ceremonial task is carried out through June, July & August and is performed daily (weather permitting) between 10-10:30 AM. The soldiers involved are from the "Canadian Grenadier Guards (with roots dating from 1764), the second-most senior infantry regiment in the reserves of the Canadian Forces. Based in Montreal, its primary role is the provision of combat-ready troops in support of Canadian regular infantry. However, since it is also a Household regiment, it performs similar ceremonial duties to the Guards regiments of the British Army, which primarily entails mounting the guard on Parliament Hill and at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, a task it shares with Canada's other Household infantry regiment, the Governor General's Foot Guards" (thanks to Wikipedia).

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Watch the change of guard on the hill

It was a very entertaining hour to watch the change of the guard. First I never did in the past, and second, it was happening in my own country! How cool. I got goose bumps at a couple occasions.

The Ceremonial Guard parades daily from the Cartier Square Drill hall to Parliament Hill (starts at 9:30) and performs the Changing of the Guard ceremony daily at 10, weather permitting. If yo want a good spot, get to parliament Hill by 9:45 am. The ceremony includes inspection of weapons and dress and the Trooping of the colours. After the guards perform their duties at Rideau hall

bicycle_girl's Profile Photo
Jul 09, 2006

Changing of the guard

Everyday at 10am during the summer months you will have the opportunity to watch the changing of the guard on Parliament Hill. This ceremony lasts about 30 minutes and presents the rigorous routine done by the guards. Come early (before 10am) to get a good spot and to learn more about the routine and history. The guards will march through the streets of Ottawa in the morning, arriving at Parliament Hill precisely at 10am.

meteorologist1's Profile Photo
Sep 16, 2005

Changing of the Guard

It's Canadian tradition at its most colourful! The Ceremonial Guard of the Canadian Forces bring stirring military drill and music to Parliament Hill. Come early (9:45 am) to learn more about the ceremony. Interpretive presentation on the ceremony at 9:45am on Parliament Hill.
June to August and performed daily (weather permitting): 10 am to 10:30 am.

Gerrem's Profile Photo
Aug 16, 2005

Changing of the Guards on Parliament Hill

The Ceremonial Guard is made up of two of Canada’s most historic regiments: the Governor General’s Foot Guards (who wear red plumes in their Bearskin caps) and the Canadian Grenadier Guards (who wear white plumes). The band of the Ceremonial Guard is composed of selected musicians from military bands and music schools from across Canada. Catch the spectacle of the Changing the Guard ceremony — Canadian tradition at its most colourful.
Go early to learn about the symbolism, history, regiments and proceedings of the ceremony.

Lisser's Profile Photo
Aug 01, 2003

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Getting to Parliament Hill - Changing of the Guard


Rideau Hall, 1 Sussex Drive, Wellington St., Ottawa, ON, Canada


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