Since Fort Henry was restored and opened as a “Living Museum” in
1938 the Fort Henry Guard have been there to entertain and inform
guests. Over the years their uniforms have changed, their
performances have changed, but their dedication and enthusiasm has
Fort Henry Guard in 1938 - with Prime
Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King
Fort Henry Guard in 2013
Today “the Guard” is made up of college and university students and
they are involved in a wide variety of activities throughout July
and August. The guard wear uniforms similar to those from the
1860’s. These dedicated young men and women are always on hand to
greet visitors to Fort Henry and to explain to guests what military
life was like for a British soldier in 1867. There is a daily
Garrison Parade at 3:00 p.m., the troops are inspected and then
perform some of their marching drills.
The highlight, in our opinion, is the Sunset Ceremony presented by
the Guard every Wednesday and Saturday evening in July and August.
It is an amazing spectacle. A narrator provides commentary as the
Guard, clad in the type of uniforms worn by British troops in 1867,
demonstrate marching drills, battle tactics and military strategies
from that period in history.
The Parade Ground is alive with the beat of marching heels; the
limestone walls echo the sounds of drums, fifes, bagpipes, rifles,
mortars and cannons! Yes, real cannons . . . those 32 pound cannons
In 2013 Fort Henry and the Fort Henry Guard
celebrated their 75th year and an amazing new sound and
light feature was added to the Sunset Ceremony. The official Fort
Henry web site describes the event:
Ceremonies experience is already an award-winning (eight time winner
as one of Ontario’s Top 100 Events by Festivals and Events Ontario),
Their mission was to update the popular historic
event in a way which complimented both the historic content and the
live performance aspects of the ceremony while keeping guests
riveted to their seats for the entire 90 minutes. They certainly
succeeded in that mission.
As you enter the Parade Ground the south wall is subtly illuminated;
the doors and windows are framed with white light. That is all you
see of the new addition until a trumpeter arrives . . . then in a
fanfare of light and sound the south wall is transformed into a huge
fluttering Union Jack.
Throughout the rest of the performance the south wall is alive with
scenes from Canadian history. There are troops on horseback,
explosions, flaming battlefields, scenes from key Canadian military
victories and also scenes of fallen heroes returning home in flag
wrapped coffins. It is an engaging and moving addition to this
The ceremony ends with a bang when the 32 pound cannons, all 5 of
them, are fired. WOW – they are loud! The bugler sounds Taps as
the Union Jack is lowered. After the flag retreat ceremony, just
when you think your evening is over, the fireworks show begins. The
grand finale is a barrage of fireworks fired over the east side of
Fort Henry toward the St. Lawrence River. What a great show!
The 32 pound cannons!
If you have never seen the Sunset Ceremony be sure to add it to your
plans for next year. Even if you have enjoyed it in previous years
you should head back to see the exciting new addition of light and
sound! You'll be very glad you did.
before the show. You can be served by a soldier in the Officer’s
Mess or you can enjoy an amazing view of the St. Lawrence River from
your table in the Battery Bistro. Dinner and a show – it’s a great
Watch a short video showing the new
light and sound features!