Monday, 6 February 2012

A Diamond Jubilee.

Today is Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee and it's remarkable to get a sense of how long she has been our head of state.

The Queen's Coronation parade route went past rubble left by the blitz and commercial airline travel was just a budding industry.
Louis St. Laurent was Prime Minister, Vincent Massey was Governor General, Garnet Coulter was Winnipeg's Mayor (and Winnipeg's current city hall was a decade away from being built) and Brandon was led by James Creighton.

Here's a look back at how Manitoba celebrated her accession and coronation.

February 6, 1952, Winnipeg Free Press

Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya, just one week into what was supposed to be a five-month trip around the world, when her father, King George VI, died. At age 25 she became Queen.

City flags, which had been lowered to half mast upon news of the King's death, were raised again the next day at noon to recognize the new monarch. The 213 Field Battery, R.C.A., part of the 27th brigade stationed in Winnipeg, sounded a 21 gun salute at the Manitoba Legislature.

June 2, 1953, Winnipeg Free Press

The sudden death prompted some immediate administrative changes.

The Attorney General announced that all King's Counsel automatically became Queen's Counsel (QC) and to immediately make the necessary changes to stationery and other paperwork. Premier Campbell led the other members of the legislature down to sign the new oath of allegiance. Schools were sent new portraits to replace those of the King that hung in their classrooms.

Manitoba, October 1951, Source

Manitoba was familiar with Elizabeth II. Just four months earlier she and Prince Phillip were on a 33 day tour of Canada. It included a day-long stop in Winnipeg that included visits to Deer Lodge Hospital, the city halls of St. James, Winnipeg and St. Boniface, a state luncheon and a concert at the Auditorium. That night, it was off by train for a whistle stop in Brandon then on to Regina.

June 2, 1953, Winnipeg Free Press

The coronation ceremony was held more a year later, on Tuesday, June 2, 1953. Unlike the bittersweet mood of her accession the coronation was a celebrated affair.

Many businesses closed for the day, including Eaton's. A coronation parade began at 9:45 a.m. from Main and Higgins and proceeded to the Legislature grounds where festivities were held. A gala coronation concert was held that night at the Winnipeg Auditorium.

June 2, 1953, Winnipeg Free Press

For those not able to get into one of the city's fancier doos, there were numerous teas, dances
and parties throughout the province !


Manitoba Events

Queen Elizabeth II Official Homepage
Diamond Jubilee Official Website
Manitoba Celebrates Province of Manitoba
Queen celebrates 60 year reign BBC
Queen given Diamond Jubilee broach by Manitoba Regiment National Post
Long may she reign over us Globe and Mail

Across Canada With Princess Elizabeth British Pathé
Coronation Ceremony

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