To mark the 60 year reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited Toronto in May 2012 to mark her Diamond Jubilee.

The City of Toronto offered its congratulations to Her Majesty upon this historic occasion. As part of the city’s celebration of this event, the Archives compiled this web exhibit highlighting Her Majesty’s past visits to the ‘Queen City’, one of Toronto’s historic nicknames.

On February 6, 1952, while in Kenya, Princess Elizabeth received the news of the death of her father, George VI. At 25 years of age, she had acceded to the thrones of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon.

 

TTC card commemorating the visit of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip
TTC advertising card commemorating the visit of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip
1951
City of Toronto Archives
Series 244, Item 200

 

The most widely travelled commonwealth monarch, Queen Elizabeth II has made 22 official visits to Canada and seven to Toronto. Her first was in 1951 as Princess Elizabeth, where she visited in place of her father who was ill, and the most recent was in 2010.

 

Images from Princess Elizabeth’s 1951 visit to Toronto and of her travels elsewhere in Canada that year can also be found on our website.

 

Princess Elizabeth at City Hall
Princess Elizabeth arrives at City Hall
October 1951
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1266, Item 144891

 

Images from Princess Elizabeth’s 1951 visit to Toronto and of her travels elsewhere in Canada that year can also be found on our website.

Princess Elizabeth at the Royal York Hotel
Princess Elizabeth at the Royal York Hotel
October 1951
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1266, Item 144899

 

Her Majesty’s first visit to Toronto as Head of State came as part of the 1959 tour of Canada. One of her duties was to open the St. Lawrence Seaway. She and US President Eisenhower boarded the Royal Yacht Britannia at St. Lambert, Quebec for a short voyage through the locks, formally opening the canal.

 

The Queen and Prince Philip at the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway
The Queen and Prince Philip at the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway
June 26, 1959
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1652, File 40, Item 18
Evening Telegram souvenir portrait of the Royal Family
Evening Telegram souvenir portrait of the Royal Family, taken in celebration of the 1959 tour
City of Toronto Archives
Series 8, File 121

 

The Queen and Prince Philip on Bay Street
The Queen and Prince Philip on Bay Street
June 1959
City of Toronto Archives
Series 1057, Item 4986
Her Majesty at the Woodbine racetrack
Her Majesty at the Woodbine racetrack
June 1959
City of Toronto Archives
Series 1057, Item 4995

 

Then, in a strenuous 45 day tour of the country, the Queen and Prince Philip travelled to all 10 provinces and two territories. The Royal couple sailed into Toronto Harbour aboard the Britannia, were welcomed in Etobicoke and were special guests at the 100th running of the Queen’s Plate at the Woodbine racetrack.

Her Majesty next came to Toronto in June 1973 as part of an extended tour of Ontario. She visited Queen’s Park, Ontario Place and High Park, where, as part of Ontario Conservation Week, she released 100 tagged bass into Grenadier Pond.

 

Card commemorating the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Toronto in 1973
Card commemorating the visit of the Queen to Toronto
June 26, 1973
City of Toronto Archives
Series 1054, Item 2

 

Queen Elizabeth II at the Black Creek Pioneer Village display at High Park June 28, 1973
Queen Elizabeth II at the Black Creek Pioneer Village display at High Park
June 28, 1973
City of Toronto Archives
Series 35, File 17

While in High Park she also attended a Black Creek Pioneer Village exhibit, featuring a demonstration of the chores and skills of pre-Confederation Ontario, where she received a hand-made corn broom from village broom-maker, John Adams.In 1984 the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were again welcomed to Toronto, to help celebrate its 150th anniversary. The city’s original Act of Incorporation in 1834 had received Royal Assent from the her Great-Great Grandmother, Victoria.

 

 

 

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Nathan Phillips Square
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Nathan Phillips Square
October 2, 1984
City of Toronto Archives
Series 1281, File 1984-221, Item 0014
The Queen with Mayor Art Eggleton at Nathan Phillips Square
Series 1281, File 1984-221
The Queen with Mayor Art Eggleton at Nathan Phillips Square
October 2, 1984
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1652, File 1713

 

During the celebrations the Queen took part in the Metro International Caravan, Toronto’s festival of international culture, and formally dedicated the Peace Garden on Nathan Phillips Square. She also visited the Royal Ontario Museum and was greeted by thousands of members of the Italian community on St. Clair Avenue West.

Her Majesty returned to the city in 1997, in 2002 for her Golden Jubilee, and in 2010, where she was again a spectator at the Queen’s Plate, a race meeting she last attended in 1959.

 

TTC advertising card commemorating the Queen's coronation
TTC advertising card commemorating the Queen’s coronation
1953
City of Toronto Archives
Series 244, Item 201

 

Toronto has changed a great deal since the Queen acceded to the throne. In 1952 over 70% of the city’s residents were of British extract, protestant and Canadian born.

The population has more than doubled, from 1.1 million people to 2.6 million. There now more than 200 ethnic groups represented in Toronto, speaking over 140 languages, and more than half the population was born outside the country’s borders. Fifteen mayors have held office during Elizabeth’s reign.

 

Next page – Princess Elizabeth in Toronto