The first Royal Visit of Canada’s reigning monarch occurred in 1939, when King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth came to Canada. To commemorate the occasion, the brand new highway connecting Toronto to Niagara was named the Queen Elizabeth Way in honour of Queen Elizabeth. The dedication ceremony, attended by the King and Queen, took place at the Henley Bridge in St. Catharines on June 6, 1939.
The royal couple continued to Niagara-on-the-Lake, then up the Niagara Parkway in a 1939 Lincoln convertible to Niagara Falls.
Mayor Carl D. Haniwell offered the welcome address and presented dignitaries to their Majesties. The mayor’s four year old son David had a bouquet for the Queen, but the boy initially refused to hand over the flowers because the royal couple “weren’t wearing their kings’ hats”.
Tea was served in the administration building, followed by a car ride to Table Rock, and 20 minutes of viewing the falls. The “roars of the cheering crowd” were said to have drowned out the thunderous roar of the waterfalls. It was the first visit for Queen Elizabeth, and the second for the King.
At the Hotel General Brock, the King and Queen had dinner, and waved to crowds from the balcony. Their visit lasted about four hours in total.
In 1981 Queen Elizabeth, now the Queen Mother, returned to Niagara for the bicentennial celebration of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
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