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Look Back at the Past

Queen 1959 riding in a car waving

Queen Elizabeth II's Visits to Dundas County

In honour of the recent passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II on September 8, we reflect on the times she has come to Dundas County to pay an official visit. She touched so many of our lives. For most of us, she is the only Sovereign that we have known in our lives. Having recently celebrated her Platinum Jubilee was indeed a milestone few monarchs reach. 
During her 70-year reign, she visited this country 22 times. Four of those visits included Dundas County. The first Royal visit with the Late Queen Elizabeth was in 1957, however, she concentrated on opening Parliament and did not make it to our region. Her first official Royal tour which included Dundas County was in 1959. Her Majesty and His Highness, Prince Phillip covered a large area of Canada between June and August with a focus on Officially opening the St Lawrence Seaway.  
The Royal couple flew to Montreal and officially opened the St Lawrence Seaway on June 26, 1959. They made official stops between Montreal and Cornwall. They met with US President Dwight Eisenhower and Vice President Richard Nixon at the Moses-Saunders Power Dam. Unfortunately, the thick fog of St Lawrence on the 27th altered their plans and caused some major delays. After several stops In Cornwall, their motorcade traveled along Highway 2 with stops at Long Sault, Ingleside, Morrisburg, and Iroquois.  

Queen at store on stage during trip

The local newspapers offered details on the route of the motorcade, where they would stop, and even the speed at which they would travel. These are details that security would never release today. However, this was a different era. The motivation was to allow as many people as possible the opportunity to see the Royal couple. As it turns out the scheduling was off by about two hours. While the motorcade traveled along the Seaway Villages, the thousands of school children bussed into Iroquois from all over the region sat and waited. There were cub scouts, scouts, brownies, and girl guides waiting in the wing. Once the Royals arrived, they were finally able to have their parade. The queen was presented with flowers and gifted some towels manufactured by the nearby Caldwell Linen Mills. Shortly afterward, she and Prince Phillip left for her yacht Brittania docked at Iroquois Point. They sailed on to Brockville. The tour continued to the Great Lakes and on to the Yukon after that. 
The Queen did not arrive in Ontario again until 1964. Between October 5 and 13th, she traveled between Ottawa, Quebec City, and Charlottetown PEI. In 1967 she was back to celebrate the Centennial with stops in Ottawa and Montreal between June 29 and July 5. In June 1973 she returned for stops in most of the provinces with several stops in Ontario. The main purpose of this visit was to celebrate the Centennial of the RCMP, the tercentenary of Kingston, and PEI entering the confederation. In 1976 there was a stop at Upper Canada Village. In 1977 she celebrated her Silver Jubilee by opening Parliament again. In April 1982 she was back in Ottawa to Proclaim the Constitution. September 1984 celebrated the Bicentennial of New Brunswick, the Bicentennial of Ontario, and a visit to Upper Canada Village. July 1990 was another visit to Ottawa and Calgary. June 1992 brought the Royal couple to Ottawa again, for the 125th Anniversary of Confederation. June 1997 brought them back for another celebration. In October 2002 they stopped at most provinces but did make a stop in Toronto for the Golden Jubilee. Finally, her last official visit to Ontario was from June 28 to July 6 of 2010. She was present at Parliament Hill for Canada Day. 

Queen in car

It cannot be denied that we are presently experiencing a period of much nostalgia with the recent death of the Queen. She touched so many lives in Canada and around the world. Her image followed us on our currency, on our passports, on our government offices.  No matter how you feel about the existence of the Monarchy in Canada or the drama of the younger generation, one cannot deny that Her Majesty served dutifully with much dignity and grace. For many, she was the honored grandmother figure that brought stability in a world of instability and chaos. Most of us at some point in our lives swore an oath to honor and serve our Monarch. So, with her passing it leaves a void in our lives, we are now missing an ever-present part of our lives.  
Susan Peters 
Dundas County Archives 

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