The "Queen's weather" finally caught up with the royal tour last week as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip ended an arduous five-country, 26day whirlwind tour with a three-day visit to British Columbia. The torrential rain, which had
turned red carpets soggy throughout the Queen’s inaugural trip to California, was still shadowing the royal yacht Britannia when it gingerly nosed into Victoria’s inner harbor last Tuesday. But the Queen’s legendary power to dispel gloom was restored the next day in Vancouver.
Memories of Californian protesters and the grim lines of riot-geared police, who cut off ordinary Americans trying to catch a glimpse of a real superstar, were left behind at the 49th parallel. It was more like a homecoming—the Queen was in British Columbia, and the first stop was Victoria, a city that collects tourist dollars each year with its carefully cultivated image of preserving a little bit of Britain. Mounties were everywhere throughout the tour, not all of them in red coats and stiff hats. But the plainclothes ring of security police around the royal couple was much less obtrusive than in the United States, allowing the Queen and Prince Philip to walk among ordinary people as well as local dignitaries. In the United States slogans chanted by demonstrators who wanted Britain out of both the Falkland Islands and Northern Ireland were aimed at the Queen. In British Columbia the demonstrations were affectionate ones, and the only objects tossed her royal way were flowers thrown by excited children determined to add their contribution of daffodils and roses to the 11 official bouquets presented.
The Queen noticed. At a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in Vancouver, she said that the flowers had turned the Britannia into “a floating flower shop.”
During the brief tour the Queen and Prince Philip visited five cities in one day—Nanaimo, Vernon, Kamloops, Kelowna and New Westminster. As the monarch who reigns but does not rule, the Queen did her job as she has for 30 years. She smiled at the right times, waved, shook hands (three fingers only) and politely accepted such well-meaning gifts as five leather-bound volumes of the debates of the legislatures of Vancouver Island and British Columbia, 1851-1871.
Politicians took full advantage of their opportunity to reflect in the glory of the royal presence. Trudeau included a plug for the federal Six-and-Five restraint program in his toast to the Queen. At a hokey ceremony at B.C. Place, Premier William Bennett was effusive in his boast of presiding over the province with “Canada’s only domed stadium.” The Queen was pressed into service to invite the world to Expo 86, a world transportation fair to be held in Vancouver—an event that will mean jobs and business for the province, as Bennett noted. The premier’s remarks sounded remarkably like the opening shots in an election campaign which could be held this spring. If that was the case, the politics of the event were overlooked by the 30,000 people filling the gleaming and almost completed stadium. They, like the thousands of others throughout the Americas, were there for only one
reason: to see the Queen.
thrust their symbols of spring into the monarch’s hands at every stop. Neither police nor precautions could hold them back. In New Westminster girl guides offered their welcome.
salmon, prime rib and Okanagan peaches, she hailed Canada’s determination in fighting to restore economic growth. Then, after just 51A hours of sleep, she bade Canada a fond farewell.
for the royal couple on their month-long tour. Docked in Vancouver harbor, it lit up the friendly West Coast skies, symbolizing the glitter and gaiety of the Queen’s three-day Canadian visit.
finished domed stadium. A cheering crowd of 30,000 helped her issue the worldwide invitation to Expo 86, Canada’s international transportation fair.
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