|Queen Victoria (Charles Léandre,|
Le Rire, June 12, 1897)
Back in 1951 as well as Victoria Day we had another occasion to show how true, blue and loyal we were and show it we did. The young Princess Elizabeth and her husband came to Canada for a visit in October of that year. For 33 days she toured Canada and included in that trip was a 48-km ride through the streets and boroughs of the Queen's City - Toronto. As I recall we were given the day off school and little union jacks, red ensigns and buttons that proclaimed our welcome to the Princess and her Prince were distributed.
A few days ago while going through a drawer I came across two of those small buttons - long forgotten souvenirs of a childhood memory. In all probability my mother had kept them and when I was cleaning out her apartment I found them and as now so then memories were revived and I put them away as a memento of an era that even in 1996 had been long past. An era when like the young Princess we looked forward to the last half of the 20th century with optimisms and high expectations.
Of course I don't remember the exact date or really the details but because it was October we must have dressed warmly for the trek up to the Queen Elizabeth Highway. A 10 minute walk from our hose the QEW was the major highway (4 lanes! can you believe it?); it had been named after the Princess's mother and dedicated on the Royal Visit in 1939. I do remember that my mother and father took Teresa - our next door neighbour and my best friend - and I up to join the crowd that lined the road - our whole neighbourhood was there. We were all waiting to greet the Princess - flags at the ready, buttons proudly displayed and hearts primed to show our future monarch how much we loved her and her Prince. The motorcade moved passed us - we waved and cheered and behind the glass a small figure acknowledged us with a smile and a wave. It was a fleeting moment but I knew then as I am as sure 51 years later that she waved and smiled right at me!
21 May - 1502: The island of Saint Helena is discovered by the Portuguese explorer João da Nova.