Mapping Queen Elizabeth II’s royal tours of Canada

Queen Elizabeth II visited Canada more than any other Commonwealth nation. Here’s a colourful look at where she went and how Canadians greeted their monarch.

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Queen Elizabeth II visited Canada more than any other Commonwealth nation, making 22 official tours over the course of her 70-year reign. Whether presiding over historic milestones, such as the signing of the Proclamation of the Constitution Act, or watching sports and cultural events alongside her subjects, Her Majesty was always met with pomp, circumstance and a healthy amount of quirky Canuck charm. Here are some of the highlights.

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Highlights of Queen Elizabeth II’s royal tours of Canada, as shown on the map:

1957: The Queen, accompanied by Prince Philip, opens the first session of the 23rd Parliament, becoming the first sovereign to inaugurate, in person, a session of Parliament as head of state.

1959: An exhausted monarch takes two rest days in Whitehorse during a gruelling 45-day tour. One report blames it on bad moose meat, but it turns out the sickness is due to her yet-to-be-announced pregnancy.

1959: It’s a night of glamour as the monarch dons a tiara and attends a ball at Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel, which had opened the previous year.

1964: On a visit to the prime minister’s residence in Ottawa, the Queen is presented with a “penguin car,” a two-seat amphibious vehicle. When offered, Prince Philip declines to take it for a test drive.

1964: The highlight of a visit to Charlottetown’s new Confederation Centre for the Arts is a performance by Portia White. The internationally acclaimed Black Canadian contralto came out of retirement to sing for the Queen.

1970: Queen Elizabeth wears a pantsuit to protect against clouds of blackflies during a stop in the Northwest Territories. DDT had recently been banned.

1970: Residents of St-Pierre-Jolys arrange a frog-jumping competition in Her Majesty’s honour — a tradition that continues to this day as the annual Frog Follies.

1971: The Queen is treated to a demonstration of lumberjack sports, including an axe-throwing competition and tree-climbing races, on Vancouver Island.

1973: In an unusual event to celebrate Ontario Conservation Week, the Queen is tasked with releasing 100 bass into Grenadier Pond in Toronto’s High Park.

1976: On her first day in Halifax, the Queen is serenaded by more than 100 young ukulele players on a visit to the Nova Scotia Olympic Folk Show.

1983: On a spring visit to Victoria, the Queen receives so many bouquets of flowers from excited schoolchildren that the Royal Yacht Britannia is described as looking like a “floating flower shop.”

1997: The Queen marks the 500th anniversary of the arrival of explorer John Cabot in Newfoundland, joining crowds in Bonavista as a replica of Cabot’s ship the Matthew is sailed into the harbour.

2002: The Queen walks the red carpet to centre ice with hockey royalty. Accompanied by NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, she drops the ceremonial puck at Vancouver’s GM Place to kick off a game between the Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks.

2002: “Your land is indeed your strength,” the Queen says during a nationally televised dedication ceremony for the Nunavut legislative assembly. Throughout Nunavut, children shout “Queen Elisapee!” as she passes, the Inuktut pronunciation of her name.

2010: Winnipeg is the new home for a stone ruin from Runnymede, the English meadow where the Magna Carta was signed in 1215. The Queen unveils the cornerstone of the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights.


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This story is from the May/June 2022 Issue

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