The Achives of Ontario Celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II: Pomp and Ceremony, Decorations and Decorum

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Visits to Ontario by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II have usually been timed to coincide with other momentous occasions: the inauguration of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, Canada's Centennial in 1967, a meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government in 1973. Her presence dramatically raised the profile of these events and lent them an air of ceremony that was both formal and festive.

Photo: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on a dais, Parliament Buildings, Ottawa (detail)

Over the years, at the Province's request, Queen Elizabeth II has posed on balconies, inspected guards of honour, accepted bouquets of flowers, visited hospitals and shopping malls, and graciously presided as the guest of honour at numerous staged spectacles.

She has waved, signed, and shaken hands across Ontario from Windsor to Kapuskasing.

The three images here give an indication of the pomp and ceremony staged for a royal visit to Ottawa. The scarlet uniforms, the precision marches, the choreographed inspections of honour guards - all against the backdrop of the architecture of officialdom - provide a rare opportunity to celebrate Canadian institution and tradition.



Click to see a larger image (108K)
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on dais,
Parliament Buildings, Ottawa (detail)
Reference Code: RG 65-35-7-22.1
Archives of Ontario

Photo: RCMP procession approaching Parliament Hill Parliament Buildings, Ottawa
Click to see a larger image (386K)
RCMP procession approaching Parliament Hill
Parliament Buildings, Ottawa
Reference Code: RG 65-35-7-22.1 X S1517
Archives of Ontario, I0040918

Photo: Band and Guard of Honour for H. M. the Queen in Ottawa
Click to see a larger image (141K)
Band and Guard of Honour for H. M. the Queen in Ottawa
Reference Code: RG 65-35-7-22.3
Archives of Ontario


Celebration is contagious. When official government buildings raised their flags and polished their brass, private business followed suit. When Queen's Park (left below) was decorated for a visit in 1953, the Eaton's store on Yonge Street was also creatively decked out.

Photo: Queen's Park decorated for the cornonation of Queen Elizabeth II, 1953 (detail)
Click to see a larger image (130K)
Queen's Park decorated for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, 1953 (detail)
Reference Code: RG35-65-3 11764 X 2514-1
Archives of Ontario, I0005519

Photo: The entrance to T. Eaton Co., Yonge St. Toronto, decorated for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, 1953
Click to see a larger image (144K)
The entrance to T. Eaton Co., Yonge St., Toronto,
decorated for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, 1953
Reference Code: RG 65-35-3, 11764-X2522
Archives of Ontario, I0005522



These and other images can be found in the
Archives of Ontario Visual Database.


In a symbolic gesture in 1973, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were led from the airport to Queen's Park in a colourful motorcade which included Premier Bill Davis and then Lieutenant Governor William Ross Macdonald.

Video Clip: Queen Elizabeth waving from a passing  motorcade
Click the links to the right to download a short
video clip of the 1973 arrival and motorcade, 1973.
Reference Code: RG 9-138-0-85

For Windows Media Player 386K 1.2MB
For Quicktime Player 1.19MB 2.05MB
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Wave, Sign and Shake

For the Queen, tours are relentless days of waving, signing, and shaking hands. For the recipients, they are treasured memories and photo opportunities for government records and scrapbooks.

Photo: Royal couple riding in a parade in Sault Ste. Marie, 1959
Visit to Sault Ste. Marie, 1959
Reference Code: RG 65-35-1 1-G-859
Archives of Ontario

Photo: Royal train stopped in Torrance, 1959
Royal train stopped in Torrance, 1959
Tourism Promotion Photographs
Reference Code: RG-65-35-1, 14-G-459
Archives of Ontario

Photo: Queen Elizabeth dinner in her honour at the Royal York Hotel, 1959
Queen Elizabeth at a dinner in her honour at
the Royal York Hotel, June 29, 1959
C 328 Frank McEachren fonds
Reference Code: C 328-1-0-3, album E 211
Archives of Ontario


Video Clip: Queen Elizabeth at EXPO '67
Click below to download a short video clip of
Queen Elizabeth at EXPO 67.
Reference Code: RG 9-136-1-3-6

Video Clip: Queen Elizabeth at the 114th running of the Queen's Plate
Click below to download a short video clip of Queen
Elizabeth at the 114th running of the Queen's Plate

For Windows Media Player 395K 1.23MB
For Quicktime Player 1.30MB 2.23MB
Choose the appropriate file format for your computer and select a file size depending on the speed of your internet connection. The image quality will depend on the file size.
For Windows Media Player 552K 1.73MB
For Quicktime Player 1.84MB 3.16MB
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The image to the right captures a moment when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II loaned her authority with a discreet flourish of the pen.

Queen Elizabeth signing a guestbook with
the mayors of Kitchener and Waterloo, 1959 (detail)
Reference Code: RG 65-35-7-22.2 XS-1912
Archives of Ontario

Photo: Queen Elizabeth signing a guestbook with the mayors of Kitchener and Waterloo, 1969 (detail)

The Archives of Ontario has a clear example of both the Queen's and Philip's signatures in the Guest register of John Robarts, F 15-4-9. Elizabeth signs her name, "Elizabeth R". The "R" stands for the Latin "Regina" for queens and "Rex" for kings.

Image of guest register of John Robarts
Guest register of John Robarts
Reference Code: F 15-4-9
Archives of Ontario

Image of Royal signatures in guest register of John Robarts, 1959
Click to see a larger image (95K)
Page from guest register of John Robarts
with Royal signatures, 1959
Reference Code: F 15-4-9
Archives of Ontario


Queen Elizabeth II was baptized Elizabeth Alexandra Mary. Members of the Royal family have little use for surnames but the families from which they descend are attributed to "houses". Elizabeth's original family house goes back to 1840 when her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, married her great-great-grandfather, Prince Albert. Albert was the son of Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Elizabeth's great-grandfather, King Edward VII, reigned under the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha; however, by royal proclamation, her grandfather, King George V, changed the family name to "Windsor", a more English sounding name, during the First World War.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was born Prince of Greece and Denmark. His grandfather was Prince Louis of Battenberg, who became a naturalized British subject in 1868 and changed his name to "Mountbatten" during the First World War. Prince Philip adopted the family name of Mountbatten when he became a naturalized British subject and renounced his Greek title in 1947.

Prince Louis married one of Queen Victoria's granddaughters making Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip distant cousins as they share their great-great-grandmother.


The Flower Children:

Every stop was marked by the presentation of flowers to Her Majesty. Queen Elizabeth II graciously accepted every one with as much pleasure as if it was her first. And the occasion would be a claim to fame for each young presenter. The photographs below from the Ministry of Tourism capture a few of the flower presentations made during the extensive cross-country tour of 1959.

Photo: The Queen accepting a bouquet from a girl in Sarnia, 1959
Click to see a larger image (28K)
The Queen accepts a bouquet from a girl, Margaret Running, in Sarnia, 1959
Reference Code: RG 65-35-1, 7-6-359
Archives of Ontario
Photo: The Queen accepting a bouquet from a boy and girl in London, 1959 (detail)
Click to see a larger image (82K)
The Queen accepting a bouquet from a
boy and girl in London, 1959 (detail)
Reference Code: RG 65-35-1, 17-G-0259
Archives of Ontario
Photo: The Queen accepting a bouquet from a girl in Stratford, 1959
Click to see a larger image (44K)
The Queen receives flowers from the little girl, Margie Polley, Stratford
Reference Code: RG 65-35-1, 19-G-0259
Archives of Ontario

Do you know who these children are?

If viewers recognize themselves as the children in the snapshots or know who they are, and would like to share identities or memories, please contact us.


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A Brief Biographical Sketch | Pomp and Ceremony, Decorations and Decorum
Celebrating Celebrity: Unofficial Royal Watchers | Empire Day | Royal Symbols
The Monarchy in Ontario | Behind the Scenes | Royalty in the Archives | Just For Kids