It is often said that the best camera to use is the one you have with you. The morning of July 7, that happened to be my cell phone. I haven’t used its camera very much—and it is clearly limited, compared with my Nikon DSLRs—but when it’s what you have with you, it is the best camera to use.
That morning, while we were in Alberta, we started the day back at Spruce Meadows to watch a bit of the horse jumping while we ate breakfast before heading off to Calgary for the Stampede. It was just a leisurely way to spend the morning so I left my camera in the car. As we stepped outside the doors of British House, though, we found a crowd of people gathered on the roadway below, including a few dozen soldiers standing at ease. Moments later we were whisked off the entryway by Spruce Meadows co-founder Marg Southern herself, saying “the General will be here in just three minutes.”
This was news to us. Curious, we moved across the road and waited. Sure enough, a car with little flags arrived a couple minutes later, escorted by horseman from the Strathcona Mounted Troop. The soldiers snapped to attention, someone in a uniform with lots of gold braid hopped out of the car, everyone saluted, we snapped pictures, several people in full dress uniform shook hands with the welcoming party on the steps of British House, they went inside and it was all over.
Or so we thought. It turns out, that wasn’t the guest of honour—he was coming in the next car.
Five minutes later, the soldiers snapped to attention again, and more Mounted Troop horses arrived escorting another car with little flags. Out hopped another man in uniform, everyone saluted and we bystanders snapped photos. This visitor turned out to be none other than Gen. Walt Natynczyk, Chief of Defence Staff of the Canadian Forces. He smiled and waved at us, then went to inspect the soldiers on hand.
We left after that, but you can see highlights from the rest of his visit in this Canadian Forces video. Apparently Alberta’s Lieutenant Governor was there too, although I didn’t spot him. Maybe he arrived later.