Famous Visitors @ Niagara
King George VI
The first Royal Visit of Canada’s reigning monarch occurred in 1939, when King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth came to Canada.
The royal couple visited St. Catharines, Niagara-on-the-Lake, then up the Niagara Parkway in a 1939 Lincoln convertible to Niagara Falls. The procession through streets of cheering spectators ran along Erie Avenue, Queen Street, Valley Way, Victoria Avenue and Clifton Hill.
While passing through Mowat Gate into Queen Victoria Park, the car triggered a radio beam which unveiled the cornerstone of the new Rainbow Bridge, which would be constructed across the Niagara River to the USA, and replace the ice-wrecked Falls View (Honeymoon) Bridge.
Mayor Carl D. Haniwell offered the welcome address to King George, most gracious sovereign, and 55 dignitaries were presented to their Majesties. It was the first visit for Queen Elizabeth, and the second for the King, who had paid an informal visit to Niagara as a midshipman on the H.M.S. Cumberland.
After viewing the falls, the couple moved on to the General Brock Hotel, where they greeted crowds and school children from the balcony. The thick-piled red broadloom carpet on which the King and Queen trod while visiting was converted into two rugs, which were moved in the offices of Mayor Hanniwell.
The Niagara Falls Review newspaper waxed poetic that the royal visit was the “greatest day in the city’s history”.
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