History & Traditions
Since the Regiment's creation in 1872, the Governor General’s Foot Guards have consistently adapted to the needs of Canada. The Regiment has evolved from an infantry unit, to an armoured unit and back to an infantry unit. The Regiment continues to adapt to the needs of Canada by serving both combat and ceremonial roles. This dual responsibility makes the Guards unique and brings a level of prestige that is present throughout our 150 years of service.
The Regiment was first called to service to support the Nile Expedition in 1884 and since then the Regiment has been providing support for many CAF operations. From these operations the unit has received battle honours that recognize the strength and courage of the Governor General's Foot Guards.
In addition to the Regiment's contributions to operational success, the Regiment has also consistently served as Canadas ‘go to’ Regiment to support ceremonial duties. Notably, the Regiment is consistently called upon to provide soldiers for events hosted by the Governor General at Rideau Hall.
Throughout the Regiment's history, Foot Guards have worn a scarlet uniform similar to the allied regiment, the Coldstream Guards. While incredibly similar to the scarlets worn by the Coldstream Guards, the Governor General's Foot Guards scarlets display distinctly Canadian variations. Some of these variations include: A maple leaf on the shoulder strap and the regimental star with a stylized maple leaf in the base.
Perhaps the most recognizable aspect of the scarlet uniform is the bearskin cap. The Canadian use of the bearskin is based on the British tradition. In 1815, the British First Guards became a regiment of Grenadiers. Upon this assignment, that regiment was granted the bearskin cap. This was significant because the bearskin was previously exclusively worn by grenadier regiments.
To ensure uniformity amongst the British Guard units, King William IV authorized the bearskin cap to be worn by both the Coldstream Guards and the Scots Guards. The Scots Guards do not wear a plume and the Coldstream Guards use a red plume on the right side of the bear skin. These variations are important to identify themselves as Scots Guards, and Coldstream Guards respectively. The GGFG adopted the bearskin in 1872 and since then have worn the red plum on the left side of the cap, to distinguish from the Coldstream Guards.