Four-year-old marches with Ceremonial Guard on Parliament Hill
Published Friday, August 2, 2013 10:26PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 2, 2013 11:58PM EDT
When spectators on Parliament Hill watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony, they’re likely to take particular notice of Isaac De Franco marching along.
Clad in a uniform himself and carrying a trombone almost twice his size, the four-year-old is hard to miss as he tries to keep pace with the Ceremonial Guardsmen and regimental band.
This is serious business for Isaac, who can be found participating in the pomp every morning in the summer.
His mother, Jennifer Bardell, says Isaac has a passion for the pageantry, and it shows even when he’s not marching. He practices his instruments -- he sometimes marches with a drum -- at all hours of the day.
Now Isaac is drawing his own attention on the Hill. Tourists take his picture, and members of the Ceremonial Guard -- all of whom are trained soldiers of the Canadian Forces -- know him by name.
“He’s not even part of the band, technically or officially, but he’s still walking up with us,” says Cpl. Steve Donegan. “And that’s a huge morale booster and it’s just awesome.”
Sometimes Isaac has trouble keeping up on the sidelines but he dutifully quickens his step, and always completes his march, dressed in the traditional red shirt, belt, black pants and furry hat resembling the Ceremonial Guard’s bearskin cap.
Bardell says she’s proud of her son’s dedication but admits she found it mildly embarrassing at first.
“I think the pride that I feel from his determination outweighs the embarrassment that I feel,” she told CTV News.
And Bardell said she likes that Isaac pays attention to real-life heroes.
“They’re real people who he can admire and actually look up to as opposed to Superman who he can never actually meet or touch, like a human being,” she said.
The Changing of the Guard is held each morning on Parliament Hill from June 24 through Aug. 24. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. sharp, weather permitting.
With a report from CTV’s Daniele Hamamdjian