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With a flash of scarlet and a skirl of pipes, history comes to life in Fredericton, the Capital City of New Brunswick, Canada with the Changing of the Guard Ceremony... The Fredericton Military Compound is a military complex which housed the British garrison at Fredericton from 1784 until 1869. It was an important military establishment that contributed to the early character and development of New Brunswick. In 1960 the compound was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada primarily based on its four surviving early 19th century buildings: the Soldiersâ€™ Barracks, the Guard House, the Officersâ€™ Quarters (Fredericton Region Museum), and the Militia Arms Store (City Tourism administration office) â€“ now referred as the Historic Garrison District of Downtown Fredericton. The Museum faces Officersâ€™ Square (the old parade ground), which is the location of one of Fredericton and New Brunswickâ€™s most popular tourist attractions, the Changing of the Guard Ceremony. The Royal Canadian Regiment is one of Canada's oldest Regular Force military units. The regiment itself was formed as the Infantry School Corps (ISC) on December 21, 1883, authorized by a Militia Act which also created the Cavalry School Corps. These school corps, created as regular units, would train the Canadian militia. ISC established its first three company stations at Fredericton, St Jean, Quebec, and Toronto, Ontario. New Brunswickâ€™s first Ceremonial Guard, or Changing of the Guard, was carried out by the Royal New Brunswick Regiment in their ceremonial uniforms, which comprised of white wosley helmets with a spike, red wool tunics, navy trousers, black boots and authentic cap badges from the Corps. Al King, former military, worked with CFB Gagetown and the local militia to re-create the Ceremonial Guard. Eventually the ceremony became too big a commitment for the Base in their already busy timetable, so about 1972 King, as Frederictonâ€™s first Tourism Officer, convinced the City that they should keep the Guard. About 1999 the Guard took on a new look and started to represent the Infantry School Corps. For the next several years the Guard would be restricted to only ceremonial duties because of firearmâ€™s regulations. With the revamping of the regulations this freed the Guard up to re-enact some of the drills and tactics used by the soldiers in 1883, including the â€˜Bayonet Advanceâ€™ (originally the bayonet attacks were so feared that commanders often ordered troops to unload muskets). The ceremonial axe and apron indicate these corps were part of a â€˜pioneer unitâ€™ and much of their work was akin to military engineers in clearing encampments and building defences. An integral part of that first corps was a military band, today represented by pipes and drums. The red serge jackets and pith helmets are those used by the ISC and the rifles that the Guard carry are actual reproduction rifles issued to the soldiers in 1883. The cap badges, belt buckles, and buttons worn by the Guard were reproduced from moulds cast from originals obtained from the Royal Canadian Regimental Museum in Ontario. Guard Commander Doug Hall trains and supervises about twenty-five students throughout the summer months as members of the Guard. Besides the ceremonial Changing of the Guard, this ensemble often appears at special events upon request. The Guard truly represents Fredericton and itâ€™s rich military past. During July and August in Fredericton, NB, the colorful Changing of the Guard Ceremony can be viewed at Officersâ€™ Square seven days a week at 11:00am and 4:00pm (with a third ceremony on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:00pm). Sentry duty changes daily on the half-hour at City Hall between noon and 3:00pm. You could even be selected to â€˜inspectâ€™ the Guard at this free event. (Source: Carol Randall, 2018)
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