With their scarlet tunics and their bearskins headdress, the Ceremonial Guard of the Canadian Armed Forces is probably the most recognizable military unit in Canada. For over 50 years the changing of the guard has been a top Ottawa summer attraction, viewed by thousands of visitors on Parliament Hill.
This year an Albany, P.E.I., resident has the opportunity to spend his summer as part of this tradition. Zachary Muttart is a 20-year-old reservist who is a private with the 1st Battalion Nova Scotia Highlanders (North).
"Ceremonial tasking gives me an opportunity to perform my duties in the public eye," says Muttart. "The public will be able to see military discipline and training in its most fundamental form."
Muttart is currently undergoing three weeks of intensive drill during which he will master the precision movements, attain a high standard of dress and deportment, undergo extensive physical fitness training, and be fitted and tailored in the scarlet uniform. He will also expect to gain better drill, dress, and deportment; characteristics that he can take back to his home unit.
The Ceremonial Guard provides sentries at the National War Memorial and at Rideau Hall, the official residence of David Johnston, the Governor General of Canada.
During the summer Muttart will also participate in Ceremonial Guard appearances around eastern Ontario and as well as the culmination event known as Fortissimo. Fortissimo is a military and musical event that takes place on the lawns of Parliament Hill and features massed military bands, pipes and drums, guest performers and the soldiers of the Ceremonial Guard.
Members of the Ceremonial Guard come from military units across Canada. They are in Ottawa for the summer while they work, train and perform.