The City of Toronto mourns Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Queen of Canada 1952 – 2022

Queen Elizabeth II was the longest reigning Sovereign in modern Canadian history and the longest reigning female Queen Regnant in world history. The Queen surpassed the length of Queen Victoria’s reign on September 9, 2015, and was the longest serving Head of State in the world.

The Queen and the late Duke of Edinburgh were the longest married royal couple in our history, having marked over 73 years together prior to Prince Philip’s death on April 9, 2021.

Canada and Toronto marked Her Majesty’s Silver (1977), Golden (2002), Diamond (2012) and Platinum (2022) Jubilees. The Queen, with the Duke, visited Toronto on seven occasions, starting in 1951 and finally in 2010. Several of her visits marked important milestones in Toronto.

Flags have been half-masted at all City facilities, parks and vessels throughout the mourning period.

A State Funeral for Her Majesty The Queen was held in London on September 19.

September 8, 2022

Image of the Coat of Arms in black and white

 

“On behalf of the people of Toronto, I offer heartfelt condolences to The King and members of the Royal Family as well as to the many people throughout the Commonwealth who will be feeling a profound sense of loss as we mark the passing of our Queen, Elizabeth II.

So many of us have known no other Queen. She was the one constant and reassuring presence in our own country and on the world stage – a beacon of eloquence, stability and commitment to duty – over so many decades.

Our city has had a long and warm relationship with The Queen, our longest-serving monarch. This relationship began in October of 1951 when a young Princess Elizabeth visited Toronto in place of her ailing father, King George VI. During this visit, she and Prince Philip were greeted by excited crowds and experienced a quintessential Toronto tradition – watching a Leafs game at the storied Maple Leaf Gardens.

Over the course of her more than 70-year reign, The Queen’s sense of duty and devotion to public service was unflagging. She traveled more than any other monarch, and Canada was the country she most often visited. She even referred to Canada as her second home.

Her Majesty’s first visit to Toronto as our Head of State was in 1959 during a tour of Canada. The Queen and Prince Philip arrived in HMY Britannia, attended the 100th running of the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine racetrack and visited City Hall, where they were shown a preview of the design for the new City Hall which she visited in 1973 and 1984. She returned to Toronto in 1973, 1984 (to celebrate Toronto’s 150th birthday), 1997, 2002 and 2010.

On her visit to Toronto in 1973, The Queen praised our city’s diversity. She was interested in learning more about our neighbourhoods. During her Royal Tour in 1984, she visited Corso Italia, where 20,000 people came out to greet her. Her last visit to Canada ended in Toronto in 2010.

We are thankful for the time she was able to spend here in our city and in Canada. Many people, including me, had the privilege of having met The Queen and to a person appreciate that opportunity to witness her quick wit, grace and wonderful smile.

The Queen will be profoundly missed. We will be reminded of her through landmarks around our city, including the Queen Elizabeth II Building and Queen Elizabeth Theatre at Exhibition Place, rose gardens named in her honour at Queen’s Park and Grange Park and the Diamond Jubilee Promenade. The City recently planted 70 trees in Rowntree Mills Park to mark her Platinum Jubilee, a living tribute for the public to enjoy for many years to come.

Her legacy will also live on through her relationship with this country, province and city over the years and the length of time she has been our Queen, together with her commitment to the Commonwealth.

Today, as we mourn The Queen’s passing we are thankful for the long life she has lived, devoted to our service and the service of the entire Commonwealth. We pray that she has now found rest and peace everlasting.

Across Toronto, our thoughts are with the King and all the members of the Royal Family at this sad time.”

John Tory
Mayor of Toronto

 

National Commemorative Ceremony

A National Commemorative Ceremony was organized by the Government of Canada and held in Ottawa on September 19. It is available online. For more information, visit Commemorative events on the Government of Canada website.

Memorial Services in Toronto

A Memorial Service was organized by the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto and held on September 20. For more information, visit the Cathedral Church of St. James’ website.

Presentation in Council on September 28

Toronto City Council considered a condolence motion and the Mayor spoke at the Council meeting on September 28.

 

Image of the Coat of Arms in black and white

Condolence Motion

Moved By: Mayor John Tory

Seconded By: Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong

Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, throughout her long and full life demonstrated an unparalleled devotion to her people and duties as Queen of Canada and Head of the Commonwealth.

As the longest serving Sovereign in our history, Her Majesty reigned for more than 70 years as Queen of this country and was at the time of her passing, the longest reigning woman in world history. Over the course of her long relationship with this country, The Queen paid seven visits to Toronto and participated in significant events in the life of this city and country.

Her Majesty became an iconic figure of stability and constancy in a changing world.  Over the course of this extraordinary reign, The Queen’s sense of duty and devotion to public service was unflagging to the very end. She traveled more than any other monarch, and Canada was the country she most often visited.

Our city has had a long and warm relationship with The Queen beginning in October of 1951 when a young Princess Elizabeth visited Toronto in place of her ailing father, King George VI. During this visit, The Queen and Prince Philip were greeted by excited crowds and experienced a quintessential Toronto tradition – watching a Leafs game at the storied Maple Leaf Gardens.

Her Majesty’s first visit to Toronto as our Head of State was in 1959. The Queen and Prince Philip arrived in HMY Britannia, attended the 100th running of the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine Racetrack and visited City Hall, where they were shown a preview of the design for the new City Hall. She returned to City Hall in 1973 and 1984, the latter to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Toronto’s incorporation. Her Majesty also visited our city in 1997, 2002 and 2010, which was her last visit to Canada that ended in Toronto.

On her visit to Toronto in 1973, The Queen praised our city’s diversity while visiting many communities. During her Royal Tour in 1984, she visited Corso Italia, where 20,000 people came out to greet her. Over the years, the Queen has granted royal patronage to many Toronto-based organizations, including the Toronto French School, the Canadian National Exhibition Association and the Queen’s Plate.

The Queen will be deeply missed and there are few alive now who have known anyone else as Sovereign. We will be reminded of her through landmarks around our city, including the Queen Elizabeth II Building and Queen Elizabeth Theatre at Exhibition Place, rose gardens named in her honour at Grange Park and at Queen’s Park, as well as the Diamond Jubilee Promenade (Front Street between Cherry and Bayview). The City also commemorated The Queen’s record reign by planting 70 trees in Rowntree Mills Park this past June to mark her Platinum Jubilee.

Her memory will also live on because of her deep relationship with this country, province and city over the years. The extraordinary length of her reign has been remarkable and she has been deeply committed to the Commonwealth as its Head, and from which countries so many of our residents have come.

The City Clerk is asked to convey, on behalf of Members of Toronto City Council, our sincere sympathy to His Majesty The King and the members of the Royal Family, as they mourn the loss of their mother, grandmother and great grandmother, as well as joining with all throughout the Commonwealth who are mourning this loss.

 

September 28, 2022

Minute Bells, Moment of Silence and Pause in memory of The Queen

There were several commemorations on September 19 at 1 p.m. in Toronto and throughout Canada as we joined people throughout the Commonwealth in mourning the long reign of The Queen. These included:

  • City officials and staff observed 96 seconds of silence in City Hall’s Peace Garden. The Peace Garden was dedicated by The Queen in 1984 during a visit to City Hall.
  • The bell at the Old City Hall tower tolled 96 times, once per minute starting at 1 p.m.
  • All TTC vehicles paused for 96 seconds in memory of the Queen. More information can be found here.
  • City ferries paused for 96 seconds and sounded their horns at the start and end of the tribute.

These initiatives coincided with the Provincial Moment of Silence which was observed throughout the province of Ontario on September 19 at 1 p.m. and were based on the City of Toronto’s custom and tradition.

Written Messages

Send a written message:

His Majesty The King
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA
England

Letters may also be sent through the Governor General’s Office, asking that they be sent on to the Palace. Postage to the Governor General’s Office is free of charge. Send your letters to either of the two addresses below

Rideau Hall
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A OA1

Department of Canadian Heritage
State Ceremonial and Protocol Directorate
25 Eddy Street
Gatineau Quebec  K1A 0M5

Email Messages

Canadians who wish to extend their condolences privately by email may do so at the following email address: pch.condolences-condoleances.pch@canada.ca

Flowers and Donations

There is no official arrangement for flowers or making donations in memory of The Queen.

However members of the public who wish to make a donation as a tribute to Her late Majesty may wish to  give to a charity of their choosing or one of the charities or organizations which The Queen supported in her public duties.

The Queen visited Toronto seven times between 1951 and 2010, and often referred to Canada as her second home. For a detailed account of her visits to Toronto, visit the Queen City: Her Majesty in Toronto webpage.

Toronto-based Regiments

  • Colonel-in-Chief:  The Governor General’s Horse Guards, Toronto
  • Colonel-in-Chief:  48th Highlanders of Canada, Toronto

Other military units represented in Toronto

  • Commissioner –in-Chief, RCMP
  • Captain-General, The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery

Toronto Non Profit Organizations of which The Queen was Patron:

  • Canadian National Exhibition Association
  • The Queen’s Plate (attended 4 times)
  • Royal Agricultural Winter Fair of Toronto (historic participation)
  • Toronto French School

National Patronage organizations

  • Canadian Cancer Society
  • Canadian Medical Association
  • Canadian Nurses Association
  • Canadian Red Cross
  • Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada
  • IODE
  • Navy League of Canada
  • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • Royal Canadian Humane Association
  • Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
  • Royal Canadian Naval Association
  • Royal Canadian Air Force Association
  • Save the Children Canada

The Peace Garden at Nathan Phillips Square

The Peace Garden was formally dedicated by The Queen in 1984 (the sod was turned by the Prime Minister, the flame was lit by Pope John Paul II on separate occasions). It is meant to stand as a commitment of Torontonians to the principle of world peace.

The Queen Elizabeth II Building at the Exhibition Place

Completed in 1956 as the Women’s Building and renamed in honour of Her Majesty during the Royal Tour of 1959, The Queen Elizabeth II Building at the Exhibition Place was designed by the architectural firm Page + Steele Inc., with Peter Dickinson as its lead designer. The Queen Elizabeth II Building was one of the seven major structures added to Exhibition Place between 1948 and 1962, exemplifying the modernist architecture movement in Toronto. The building is composed of three sections: a two-storey administration building, the 1,300 seat Queen Elizabeth Theatre with a glass-walled foyer and sculptural spiral staircase, and a one-storey exhibition hall. The Exhibition hall continues to play an important role during the Canadian National Exhibition as home of the arts, crafts, and hobbies displays.

Queen Elizabeth II Rose Garden, Grange Park (for the Silver Jubilee)

Queen Elizabeth II Rose Garden, Queen’s Park (Silver and Golden Jubilees)

Diamond Jubilee Promenade (Front Street East between Cherry and Bayview)

On May 22, 2012, The Prince of Wales visited the site of the Pan-Am athletes’ village as part of his visit to Canada to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty. At the event, Premier Dalton McGuinty announced that the Official Gift of the Government of Ontario would be to name a portion of this street as “Diamond Jubilee Promenade”.

Platinum Jubilee Tree Planting

70 trees were planted in Rowntree Mills Park to mark the Platinum Jubilee on June 5, 2022.

Where possible, all flags at the following locations were flown at half-mast from September 8 to September 20 (the date of the State Funeral), to mark the passing of Her Majesty The Queen:

  • Toronto City Hall
  • Old City Hall
  • Metro Hall
  • Civic Centres
  • City facilities, stations, parks and vessels
  • City agency and corporation facilities

Flags remained at half mast until the end of the day on September 21, to mark the death of a Toronto Police Constable.

The Canadian Flag at City Hall was flown at full mast on September 10, the date of the Proclamation of the Accession of King Charles III in Canada, according to custom.

The Toronto sign was dimmed on September 8, 2022. It was lit in Royal Blue (in rotation) as part of the National Illumination Tribute Initiative to honour Her late Majesty through to September 19. The Princes’ Gates at Exhibition Place was also lit in Royal Blue as part of this initiative.

Photographic and painted portraits of The Queen were marked with a black diagonal ribbon at the top left and bottom right throughout the official mourning period.

Owners of flagpoles half-masted their flags, at their discretion.

Contracts with the City were unaffected as they are signed with the City of Toronto rather than Her Majesty in right of Canada or Ontario.