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 remained constant.

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 are LOUD!

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: The Sunset Ceremonies experience is already an award-winning (eight time winner as one of Ontario’s Top 100 Events by Festivals and Events Ontario), world-class event.” 

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 wonderful event!

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.

Have dinner 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 summer evening!


Watch a short video showing the new light and sound features! 

Just click on the white arrow below!