Annual Inspection of the Ceremonial Guard
Rideau Hall, Thursday, June 20, 2013
Every summer at Rideau Hall, visitors enjoy the sight of scarlet uniforms marching down the driveway. Led by a kilted bagpiper, the men and women of the Ceremonial Guard are part of an annual tradition that has delighted so many.
Today’s inspection of the Guard marks the beginning of your duties here, at the National War Memorial and on Parliament Hill. It is a pleasure to welcome you.
This year, we are also marking a milestone for the place I like to call the home of the people of Canada. It was 175 years ago that Thomas MacKay constructed the first building of what would eventually become Rideau Hall.
Since that time, so much has changed. Yet, much has also remained constant. Although the Ceremonial Guard cannot claim to have been here the entirety of Rideau Hall’s history, it has nonetheless been a consistent presence here year after year.
So much so that Rideau Hall in summer would look and feel empty without you.
It is tradition that brings us here to Rideau Hall today, but it is the spectacle that keeps bringing us back. The inspection of the Ceremonial Guard is a duty that I look forward to every year. I am delighted at the opportunity to witness the professionalism, dedication and precision you display.
Your intensive training shines through on this day and is a testament both to your commitment to excellence and to your command staff and instructors. You make them proud and, as commander-in-chief, you make me proud as well.
You strive for excellence and, time and again, you achieve it. I can see the proof displayed upon your uniforms—medals from campaigns around the world, honours that signify duty and service to your country. We owe a debt of gratitude to those of you who have dedicated yourselves to defending this country’s ideals and values.
In the coming months, you will see countless Canadians and visitors from abroad come to take in the pageantry of the Ceremonial Guard, and I know that our guests will not overlook your presence. Indeed, it is hard to do so. You stand out not only because of your uniforms—although they certainly are distinct—but because of your composure no matter the situation.
No doubt you will experience much during your time serving in our nation’s capital, and I have every confidence that you will comport yourselves in the manner we have come to expect from our men and women in uniform.
Canadians are grateful for your service to our country. I hope that your time as members of the Ceremonial Guard will be rewarding and enriching.