The troops guarding the Canadian Parliament building in Ottawa during the summer are not all they seem.
The troops guarding the Canadian Parliament building in Ottawa during the summer are not all they seem. Although they are carrying on a proud tradition, they are students drilling for the tourists.
SYNOPSIS: The Governor-General's Footguard. Carrying on a proud tradition. These men are one of the Canadian capital's top tourist attractions. People are awed by the bearing of the guards. But they aren't all they seem.
The changing of the guard take place at Parliament every morning at ten during the summer. The daily scene attracts throngs of tourists. At one time the guards were real soldiers. But nowadays, the Canadian Army is so small, the Government felt it didn't make sense to send 180 soldiers to put on a show for the tourists. So they hired holidaying college students instead.
For the Canadian Government, the daily event is purely and simply a show for the tourists. The guards don't guard anything and their guns are empty.
The summer-season soldiers can have most afternoons off after their daily performance is over. There are rehearsals and drills to keep the students proficient.
Technically the students are in the militia and they do receive a little military training.
But there's a big difference between regular army troops and these students. They student-soldiers can quit the ranks if they find a better job.