Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Sentry Duty At The Memorial

The National War Memorial is set downtown in the heart of Confederation Square. Dedicated in 1939 to the Canadian war dead of the First World War, it has come to be dedicated to those who have served in each war and in peacetime since. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is at its base, and from early April to the day before Remembrance Day, an honour guard is found here during the day. The guard comes from each branch of the Canadian military. Specific units stand at post here for a few days; typically sentries will have a couple of shifts in a given day. Each hour they are relieved by the next shift (with exceptions made for very hot or otherwise inclement weather, in which case they are relieved every half-hour). On the occasion when I took these shots in late June, the Canadian Rangers had the duty. The Rangers are reserve soldiers posted throughout the country, in northern and other isolated regions, performing a number of duties. I chatted with one of them before the shift change- he said that this is as dressed up as Rangers get. The ceremony of changing shifts is the same regardless, with fresh sentries coming up to relieve those at the post. A bagpiper leads the way, the sentries are relieved, the commanding officer recites the duties of the sentries, and the relieved sentries head back beneath Plaza Bridge, where there are some rooms set into the infrastructure below, a place for them to relax until their next time at the post.


  1. I start to get fed up with war memorials ! During my mammoth trip I saw so many ! If only people would stop to make wars we could built nicer statues or whatever ! Meanwhile yes it is too late and wars continue !

  2. São sempre muito interessantes estes cerimoniais.
    Um abraço e continuação de boa semana.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa

  3. ...I enjoyed visiting this special place!

    1. I admire the dedication of people who maintain these special traditions.


  4. @Gattina: war is hell.

    @Francisco: thank you.

    @Tom: I enjoyed showing it.

    @Janis: it's a good tradition.

    @Marie: it's quite dignified. I take it in from time to time.

  5. i wonder about statues, what i mean is they wanna take them down around here. i think they are history, the past, where we have been ... sadly u can not remove the past. we must learn from it and head toward the future. always a fan of Canadian red. ( ;

  6. An impressive sight it would be William, this is one of my favourite memorials ✨

  7. I think they look great in their red outfits!

  8. The rangers are a very proud bunch. I knew many of them in the 60's.

  9. A colorful yet solemn ceremony.

  10. Looks like a very special ceremony.

  11. Great capture . Please tell something about my captures on my blog.

  12. This is so good, very special indeed.

    All the best Jan

  13. A very special ceremony and tradition.

  14. @Beth: in the case of Confederate monuments all over the South, I think that rather than tearing them down, they should have plaques placed by putting them in context, while statues of civil rights workers are put up facing them, perhaps, with plaques placing their story in context. It's a good sense of balance as opposed to trying to sweep the past under the rug.

    @Grace: it is a magnificent memorial- somber instead of celebratory.

    @RedPat: they certainly don't look like the sort you want to start a fight with.

    @Red: I figured you'd have some history with them.

    @Norma: it definitely is.

    @Sharon: I like the tradition.

    @Tamago: I think that it is.

    @Aditya: thank you.

    @Jan: thanks!

    @Bill: I quite agree.

  15. I think it's lovely they have ceremony for the memorial and don't just let it sit there for passersby to pass by. It draws attention to it. And we should all be reminded of its costs.

  16. I really like the bright red uniforms(?), William. Thanks for their service.

  17. Sentries are always awesome in their red uniforms ~ great photos of beautiful Canada!

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores

  18. I so remember that incident here. It is a stunning tradition.

  19. @Klara: that it is.

    @Jeanie: I agree.

    @Catarina: you're welcome.

    @Catalyst: that's as much of a uniform as the rangers have! I have to photograph a handover ceremony sometime before it's done in November.

    @Carol: thank you!

    @Jennifer: it is.