Best time to go to Quebec

Changing of the Guard 2020

This unique and entertaining tradition can be observed in Quebec City

Changing of the Guard in Quebec 2020 - Best Time
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© Conrad Kuiper

Following the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, this tradition has been held since 1928 near the walls of the Citadelle of Québec. Guards who have been on duty for the last 24 hours are replaced with new ones, while the military band performs “Vive La Canadienne,” the old anthem of Quebec.

The spotlight of the show is “Batisse”, a billy goat and the Régiment’s mascot. In 1883 this breed of goat was sent to Queen Victoria from the King of Iran and is considered a symbol of the province.

Regimental mascot Batisse the Goat 2020
Regimental mascot Batisse the Goat

The ceremony only takes place from June 24th until the first Monday of September (Labour Day). Every morning, at 10 a.m you can watch for 35 minutes, near the fortified military base overlooking the St. Lawrence River.

The Changing of the Guard does not take place on July 1 or July 3 due to other official ceremonies that mark Canada Day and Freedom of the City. It can, at times be cancelled due to bad weather or operational reasons. It is recommended to arrive 15 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. People with the restricted mobility are provided with a limited number of seats and reservation is necessary.

Apart from the daily Changing of the Guard, summer visitors to the Citadelle of Québec may watch another ceremony that involves the guards—the Beating of the Retreat marks the end of the day's service. It takes place every Wednesday in July and August, at 4 or 5 p.m and lasts for 30 minutes.