Royal Tours of Canada: Timeline
Cornerstone laid by Albert, Prince of Wales in 1860.
In April 2011, Prince William and Kate Middleton were added to a long list of royal visits to Canada as they embark on their first tour of the country together. In the past, Canada has played host to many royals on both personal and official visits. The newlyweds not only participated in the traditional obligations of past royals, but they also enjoyed new adventures on their journey through Canada. For full details on the couple’s itinerary, click here.
The first member of the royal family to visit Canada is Prince William Henry, the future King William IV. Prince William is serving in the Royal Navy when he sails his ship, the HMS Pegasus, to Halifax after completing a tour of service in the West Indies.
Queen Victoria’s son Albert, Prince of Wales, travels to Ottawa to lay the cornerstone of Canada’s new Parliament buildings.
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at Woodbine Race Course, May 1939.
Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria, is the first female member of the royal family to visit the country. Princess Louise will live in Canada for five years while her husband, the Marquis of Lorne, carries out his duties as Governor General.
King George V and Queen Mary, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, complete a two-month tour which takes them from coast to coast.
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth travel from coast to coast on a six-week tour. This is the first time that a reigning monarch has visited Canada. As World War II becomes imminent, the tour is scheduled in order to ensure Canada’s support of Britain. The tour draws massive crowds unlike any Canada has seen before; in some cities, over one hundred thousand people show up hoping to catch a glimpse of the royals. The royal walkabout also finds its origins on the tour; after unveiling the National War Memorial in Ottawa, the royals enter the crowd of spectators to greet veterans and excited onlookers.
The Beaver published a pictorial in the September 1939 issue which you can view here; click on the image.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visit the country. This is Elizabeth’s first visit to Canada, and the first time she and Prince Philip have toured as a couple. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip will visit Canada many times over the next sixty years; the two royals have completed more official tours and spent more time in Canada than any other monarch.
An exciting year for Canada, Queen Elizabeth II returns to the country to attend celebrations for both the Centennial of Confederation and the World Exposition in Montreal. On Canada Day, the Queen delivers a speech on Parliament Hill and cuts the first slice of a nine-meter tall cake to celebrate Canada’s one hundredth birthday. In Montreal, the Queen visits the British and Canadian pavilions at the World Expo. To the dismay of her security detail, Queen Elizabeth insists that she ride a mini-rail which circles the fair. Crowds of people gather underneath as she passes overhead.
The royal family travels to Montreal for the 1976 Summer Olympics. Queen Elizabeth officially opens the Games as Canada’s head of state on July 17th. Princess Anne is competing in the Games as a member of England’s equestrian team.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana embark on their first Canadian tour as a couple. The royals visit the Maritime provinces, Ontario, and Alberta. The couple open the World University Games in Edmonton and attend celebrations for Newfoundland’s four hundredth anniversary of becoming a British colony. While his parents are away, Prince William celebrates his first birthday back in England.
Charles and Diana return to Canada, this time with their young sons William and Harry. The seven day visit takes the family through Ontario as they tour Ottawa, Toronto, Sudbury, Kingston, and Niagara Falls. Much of their time is spent apart, however, with William and Harry spending the trip sightseeing, rather than partaking in Charles and Diana’s more formal obligations.
On her twenty-second official visit to Canada, Queen Elizabeth’s royal tour celebrates Canada’s record of service. Accompanied by Prince Philip, the Queen attends many public events, including Canada Day festivities on Parliament Hill.
Newlyweds Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, experience their first Canadian tour as a couple. Their itinerary will include stops in Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Charlottetown, Summerside, Yellowknife, and Calgary. Just as other royals have done before them, the couple will complete staples such as laying a wreath at the National War Memorial, planting a tree at Government House, and celebrating Canada Day on Parliament Hill.
- Emily Cuggy