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The Queen's visits to Canada

Canada's longest-serving monarch celebrates her 90th birthday today. Between 1957 and 2010, she visited Canada 22 times. Michelle Pressé takes a look at 10 of her most memorable trips and how The Globe and Mail covered them

The Globe and Mail


October 12-16, Ottawa and Hull, Que.

The Queen opened the first session of the 23rd parliament.

On her first official visit to Canada as Head of State, the Queen addressed Canadians in a speech broadcast on TV and radio in which she declared her hope that the opening of the 23rd parliament would provide a glimpse "of the solid and durable foundations of our existence." After addressing Parliament, she attended a state dinner – greeted in the photo by Chief Justice Patrick Kerwin, wearing the Maple Leaf of Canada dress that featured a garland of green velvet maple leaves and white roses.

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The Globe's story, published on Oct. 14, 1957, said of her speech in Parliament: "Her Majesty, breaking into French twice, stressed her own role as Queen of Canada and her unashamed pride that she is able to consider herself as a member of the family."



June 18-Aug. 1, Canada

The Queen and Prince Philip's first official tour of Canada and the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

During the longest royal tour in Canadian history, the Queen and Prince Phillip travelled more than 24,000 kilometres during the 45-day trip through all 10 provinces and (then) two territories. Just before the tour, Buckingham Palace released an official portrait.

The Globe and Mail wrote about the Royal couple's stop in Nanaimo, B.C., where 38 aboriginal tribes welcomed them and a beaming Mrs. Nels Wilson offered the Queen a fistful of "Indian ice cream from a yellow plastic pail." The July 17 article, with the headline, Queen Elizabeth Becomes a Princess of B.C. Indians but Decides Against Ice Cream, reported: "Mrs. Wilson had worked up the creamy brew with her fist from green soup berries, sugar and water… The Queen beamed back at Mrs. Wilson but did not dip."

The Globe and Mail


Oct. 5-13, Charlottetown, Quebec City and Ottawa

The Queen and Prince Philip commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Fathers of Confederation's meetings in Charlottetown, PEI, but her arrival in Quebec City was overshadowed by anti-monarchy protests. Approximately 1,000 demonstrators chanted "Elizabeth stay at home," leading to the clubbing and arrest of several separatists in what became known as Le Samedi de la matraque (Truncheon Saturday). Members of Quebec City's special riot squad swung newly issued oak nightsticks at protesters outside the Château Frontenac, where the Queen and Prince Philip attended dinner.

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Globe and Mail columnist Bruce West wrote about Truncheon Saturday under the headline, An Insult to Canada. He wrote, "To insult her in Quebec, or anywhere else in this world, is to insult us and our fathers and our forefathers."

Fred Ross/The Globe and Mail


June 29-July 5, Ottawa and Montreal

The Queen attends Expo '67 in Montreal and Canada's centennial ceremonies in Ottawa, including a garden party at the Governor-General's residence on July 1.

During the Queen's Ottawa visit, The Globe and Mail wrote: "She comes as Queen of Canada to celebrate with her people our 100 years of nationhood. Her presence on Parliament Hill on Saturday will be the highlight of our Centennial ceremonies, and we can be certain that her joy and pride on the occasion will be as great as our own."

Canadian Press


June 25-July 5, Ontario, P.E.I., Saskatchewan and Alberta

The Queen participated in events marking the centennial of PEI in Confederation, the 300th anniversary of Kingston., Ont., and the RCMP centennial. In Regina, Sask., the Queen accepted a peace pipe from Chief David Ahenakew during a visit to the RCMP training depot.

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In a June 25 article, The Globe and Mail reported on the details of the Queen's protocol and security during a visit to Scarborough, Ont., including the challenge of choosing a flower girl to present a bouquet to the Queen, who "prefers whatever flowers are in season in each place she visits."

Canadian Press


July 13-25, Montreal, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia

The Queen attends the 1976 Olympics in Montreal

The Queen was joined by Prince Philip, and sons Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward for the Olympic Games, in which Princess Anne competed as a member of the British equestrian team. In the image, the Queen and Prince Philip receive an ovation as they arrive for the opening ceremonies on July 17, 1976.

The Royal Family also stopped in the Maritimes for a brief visit, including a tour of the Halifax Shipyards Ltd. in Nova Scotia. A story headlined Royal grit amid the grime, published on July 14, 1975, noted that the shipyard "did not make her wear a safety helmet although everybody else had to – and I tell ye, b'y, a red-coated Mountie in a bright green safety helmet is a sight that every Canadian should see."

Ron Poling/The Canadian Press


April 15-19, Ottawa

The Queen visits on the occasion of the Proclamation of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Approximately 32,000 people gathered in the rain around Parliament Hill on April 17, 1982, to watch the Queen and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau sign the Royal Proclamation of the Constitution, severing Canada's last colonial tie to Britain. In a roundup of the day by The Globe and Mail's Ottawa bureau, it was reported that the Privy Council Office discovered the day before the ceremony that it had forgotten to provide an appropriate pen for the Queen to sign the proclamation. "A staffer was quickly dispatched to Birks and bought a $75 gold pen for the occasion," the report noted.

Ron Poling/The Canadian Press


Oct. 9-24 British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Quebec

The Queen's first official visit to Quebec since 1964.

The Queen participated in the opening sessions for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting during the 16-day tour. The majority of her time was spent in Western Canada, but her Quebec visit rekindled a fire for some French Canadians. A story headlined Not welcome here, Quebec protesters tell visiting queen, was published on Oct. 24, 1987. It said a "small but vocal group of nationalist protesters" attended her visit. A more appreciative crowd greeted the Queen in Regina, where a young boy presented her with flowers on Oct. 16, 1987.

Shaun Best/Reuters


Oct. 4-15, Iqaluit, NU; Victoria and Vancouver, BC; Winnipeg, Man.; Toronto, Hamilton, Oakville, Ont.; Fredericton, Sussex, Moncton, N.B.; and National Capital Region.

The occasion of the Queen's Golden Jubilee

During the Queen's 12-day Golden Jubilee tour, she thanked Canadians for their "loyalty, encouragement and support" during the 50 years of her reign. The Queen started her Jubilee tour Oct. 4 in Iqaluit, escorted by Nunavut Premier Paul Okalik and a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer.

In an Oct. 14, 2002 Globe and Mail article, Admiration for Canadians 'strong and sure,' Queen says, provided details of the Queen's final speech to Canadians. In it, she said that "wherever the future might take us," she wanted the country's citizens to know that her admiration for them remained "clear, strong and sure."

Fred Thornhill/REUTERS


June 28-July 6, Halifax, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Toronto and Waterloo, Ont.

The Queen visits Halifax to mark the navy's 100th anniversary, Ottawa for Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill and Winnipeg for a dedication of the cornerstone for the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. The 2010 tour was the Queen's 22nd official visit to Canada as reigning monarch and included a stop to visit with war veterans gathered outside Research in Motion headquarters in Waterloo, Ont., July 5, 2010.

While visiting Halifax on June 29, The Globe and Mail published Royal Visit: Home, for the 22nd time the Queen reveals her feelings for Canada. She told the crowd, "It's very good to be home."

Editor's note: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of provinces the Queen visited. This version has been corrected.


Queen turns 90: Nine things to know about her not-quite-officially-a-birthday Queen Elizabeth II is Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, but this April 21 will be a low-key affair, at least by royal standards. Evan Annett explains why.

From the archives: Watch Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953


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