A lone, unemployed Canadian donned a Maple Leaf-red sweater Tuesday and stood guard under a blistering midday sun by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the National War Memorial.
Authorities haven't decided yet how they'll improve security after the memorial was desecrated on Canada Day, but Don Dawson wasn't going to wait for them to make up their minds.
He draped a vintage Canadian Legion flag - a British ensign with a green maple leaf imposed in the centre - over his shoulder and stood rigidly at attention.
"I got up this morning and asked myself what I could do about this, and I decided to come here out of respect for all the soldiers who died fighting for the freedom of Canada," said Mr. Dawson, who spent the whole day at the site.
Three young men were photographed urinating on the memorial on Canada Day. Police were looking for the three on Tuesday and asked them to come forward.
The ensuing outcry has spurred public officials to consider new security measures for the site even though police say similar incidents around the capital are virtually unheard of.
Pamela Price, spokesperson for Veterans Affairs, says her department as well as Public Works and the National Capital Commission are discussing how to prevent similar events.
Ms. Price could not give details about what is under consideration, nor when new measures may be announced.
Mr. Dawson said he'd like to see a member of the Governor General's Foot Guards, on parade on Parliament Hill in the summer months, assigned to the site during the day and security guards posted at night.
"When they brought him - the unknown soldier - back from France in 2000, this site changed from a war memorial to a grave site, so there should always be an attendant, at least during the day," Mr. Dawson said.
"This wouldn't be to prevent vandalism, but would be more a show of respect. Of course, it would help prevent these sorts of incidents as well."
RCMP spokesperson Martin Blais said the force keeps no statistics on vandalism and desecration of memorial statues, but as far as he could tell, the incident was an isolated one.
Ms. Price said a few years ago, a plaque was erected to keep skateboarders off the site.
But Cliff Chadderton, chairman of the National Council of Veteran Associations, says that although he can't recall other acts of desecration at this or other memorials in Canada, skateboarders continue to be a problem at the national monument. Mr. Chadderton also believes Governor General's Foot Guards are needed.
"Members of our organization patrolled the site five years ago for about six weeks to keep skateboarders away, but we received too much ridicule and abuse," Mr. Chadderton said.
"We thought it wasn't a safe thing to do and that instead it was a task for the government. We are just asking for something simple, done nicely with few people and a small budget. We aren't asking for a whole regiment to be assigned."
The United States has guards posted at the graveside of its Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington's Arlington National Cemetery. Sentries perform an elaborate changing of the guard there throughout the day. Other memorials, such as the Vietnam War Memorial, are constantly watched over by U.S. park rangers.