Today is a glorious day; one in which we recognize and honour the magnificent achievements of Queen Elizabeth II. Today, Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British History.
Since Confederation in 1867, only six monarchs have ruled over Canada – Elizabeth II has been our Queen since she was 25 and for 43% of Canada’s history as a nation. I was not even born in 1953 when the Queen ascended the throne and my father, who marched in the Queen’s coronation procession with the University of Bristol Training Corps, was a twenty-year old undergraduate student.
During her reign, Elizabeth II has witnessed the election of twelve British Prime Ministers and eleven Canadian Prime Ministers (and possibly twelve a month from now). Eleven Governors General and twelve Lieutenant Governors of British Columbia have served as her representatives.
Canada has been the country most visited by The Queen throughout her reign of sixty-three years and, at eighty-nine years of age, the Queen still travels and keeps a full schedule of engagements.
Queen Elizabeth has participated in twenty-four Royal trips to Canada; She has often stated that it is her ‘second home’, feeling totally at ease in our wonderful nation. Here in Oak Bay we will never forget Her Majesty’s attendance at the 1994 Commonwealth Games. And Canucks fans across the province will recall her dropping the ceremonial puck (with Wayne Gretzky) at an exhibition game between the Canucks and the San Jose Sharks in 2002.
Her Majesty’s Canadian tours have included visits to each of the thirteen provinces and territories, frequently playing a key role in national celebrations and honour ceremonies. Though many of the Queen’s duties in Canada have been delegated to her Canadian representatives, she describes having a very deeply held affection for, and loyalty to, our country – which she first toured as Princess Elizabeth in 1951.
Our Queen is also a dedicated supporter of many Canadian charities and public organizations, such as the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Nurses’ Association, the Canadian Red Cross Society, the Royal Canadian Humane Association, and Save the Children – Canada.
Elizabeth II has shown remarkable dedication and commitment in her role as our Queen. I am sincerely grateful to Councilor Hazel Braithwaite, Mayor Nils Jensen and the Municipality of Oak Bay for creating this opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s tremendous accomplishments. Thank you for allowing me to participate in this historic event.
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