Inspection of the Ceremonial Guard by Canada's Governor General David Johnston height=

At the annual inspection of the Ceremonial Guard
by Governor General David Johnston.
Copyright 2011 [Sgt Serge Gouin, Rideau Hall]


Fortissimo is the annual Sunset Ceremony and Beat Retreat which takes place on Parliament Hill. This military and musical spectacular happens on August 8th, 9th, and 10th, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. on the lawns of Parliament.  Note that in the case of inclement weather, they will post cancellation notices by 6:00 p.m. on their Facebook or Twitter accounts.

The performance features bands of the Canadian Forces, pipes and drums with dancers, invited guest bands and the musicians and soldiers of the Ceremonial Guard. The Dominion Carilloneur and the 30th Field Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery, the “Bytown Gunners”, also perform.

The spectacle has drawn thousands of fans and spectators since 1997. Two evening routines, once carried out every day by soldiers, form the basis for the performance. The first routine was “Retreat”. At sunset, the soldiers fired evening guns, withdrew into their camps and cities, locked the gates and lowered the flag for the night. The second routine became known as the “Tattoo”. This routine was performed at or near dusk when the night watch was set and rounds were made to check the sentries. The drums beat the warning to return to barracks. Traditionally, the band played popular tunes, an evening hymn and finally the national anthem.

Highland dancers, a soldiers’ obstacle race, the massed bands and pipes, a performance of the 1812 Overture and Artillery Fire will be included in the musical spectacle.

Following Fortissimo, stay for the “Sound & Light Show”, presented by the National Capital Commission. (Note: The “Mosaika — Sound & Light Show” is presented nightly from July 6 through September 5, 2011 against the backdrop of Parliament Hill).

Admission is FREE.

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