I'm a bit photo heavy over the next three days, but it was well worth it.
Every year on Parliament Hill, for one weekend usually in the latter half of July, there is an event called Fortissimo. This is a Beat Retreat ceremony, something that goes back to the days of walled cities when the gates would be shut at the end of the day. Today the practice survives as a military ritual, a coming together of massed military bands in performance. Each year the Ceremonial Guard are joined by other Canadian military groups and even a foreign unit or two (this year it was a German unit, hence the presence of a German flag on the premises) for a ceremony that takes a couple of hours, involves cannons and the Peace Tower carillon, and the lowering of a flag by sunset. Here the field artillery were being set up on the east side of the Hill, with the Chateau Laurier as a backdrop.
There was also a truck parked outside the Peace Tower bearing a mobile set of carillon bells, which were playing various tunes during the time leading up to the beginning of the evening. This truck pulled out at that point, and later in the evening, the carillons of the Tower itself were incorporated into the occasion.
This event has been going on for years, and is quite popular with the locals. I took up a position at the west side of the lawn.
There was something new this year. In the half hour before the arrival of the bands, members of the Canadian Forces did a skydiving demonstration. These are active members from each branch- army, navy, air force, and special forces- who do this routinely for their regular work, as well as a number of demonstrations for the public through the year. They are called the Skyhawks, and their plane did a number of pass overs, dropping jumpers, many of whom were bearing smoke signals, and all of whom had parachutes in the Canadian flag patterns. All of them made flawless landings on the west lawn.
I have absolutely no idea why the ground seemed to curve in this one particular shot, but I liked the effect.