Ceremonies and Celebrations

The Air Force remembers its history through annual ceremonies that recall the sacrifice and valour of its veterans. These are opportunities to honour the heroes, remember the fallen and remind current Air Force personnel of the rich heritage that it must preserve for the future. 

Battle of Britain

The Battle of Britain is commemorated each year on the third Sunday of September. The ceremony recognizes the heroic contributions of aircrew and groundcrew from Britain, Canada, the Commonwealth and other nations to defeating the German Luftwaffe. Battle of Britain Day is the most honoured day of the year on the Air Force calendar, and is marked by parades and ceremonies at Air Force locations across the country. The national celebration is held in Ottawa.

Battle of the Atlantic

The second most sacred day of the year for the Royal Canadian Air Force is one we share with the Royal Canadian Navy: the Battle of the Atlantic Day. For six long, arduous years during the Second World War, the sailors and airmen from the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force and United States Navy battled the U-Boat menace in the North Atlantic. This long fight for maritime supremacy is celebrated across Canada on the first Sunday of May.

Air Force Birthday

April 1 is recognized as the Royal Canadian Air Force’s birthday. Across the country, the day is marked by celebrations and often by mess dinners or dinings-in.

Bruce Beatty, designer of the Order of Canada, carries the Royal Canadian Air Force Association’s flag during a Battle of Britain ceremony in 2005.

Remembrance Day

Every November 11, Air Force members join their Army, Navy and Merchant Marine colleagues to pay homage to the fallen at Remembrance Day parades across Canada. The date commemorates the Armistice that ended the First World War and was enforced “at the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month” in 1918. The national Remembrance Day ceremony is held at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, where serving personnel join veterans and other citizens to remember the sacrifices of all who have served. Four military sentries are posted at the memorial during the ceremony, one of whom is from the RCAF. They are selected for their exemplary performance of duty.