Monarchy in Ontario: Wikis


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Queen in Right of Ontario
Coat of Arms of Ontario.png
Royal Coat of Arms of Ontario
Elizabeth II greets NASA GSFC employees, May 8, 2007 edit.jpg
Elizabeth II
Queen of Canada

since 6 February 1952
Style: Her Majesty
First monarch: Victoria
Formation: 1 July 1867

By the arrangements of the Canadian federation, the Canadian monarchy operates in Ontario as the core of the province's Westminster-style parliamentary democracy;[1] and is thus the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the province's government.[2] As such, the Crown, as it operates in the jurisdiction, is referred to as The Crown in Right of Ontario,[3] Her Majesty in Right of Ontario,[4] or The Queen in Right of Ontario.[5] The Constitution Act, 1867, however, leaves many royal duties in Ontario specifically assigned to the sovereign's viceroy, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario,[1] whose direct participation in governance is limited by the conventional stipulations of constitutional monarchy.[6]


Constitutional monarchy in Ontario

The Crown functions in Ontario in the same way it does in all of Canada's other provinces, with the Canadian monarch – since 6 February 1952, Queen Elizabeth II – being represented and her duties carried out by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. This arrangement began with the 1867 British North America Act,[1] and continued an unbroken line of monarchical government extending back to the early 1600s. However, though Ontario has a separate government headed by the Queen, as a province, Ontario is not itself a kingdom.[7]

A viceregal suite in the Ontario Legislative Building in Toronto is used both as an office and official event location by the Lieutenant Governor, while he or she resides in another home provided by the provincial Crown; the sovereign and other members of the Canadian Royal Family will reside at a hotel when in Ontario. The buildings are owned and/or leased by the sovereign in her capacity as Queen in Right of Ontario, and not as a private individual; the house and other Crown property is held in trust for future rulers and cannot be sold by the monarch except by her Lieutenant Governor with the proper advice and consent from the Executive Council of Ontario.


Royal associations

The Crown has held a place of special significance throughout Ontario's history. The visit of our Queen serves as a reminder of this fact, and I believe it can be a more memorable occasion for our young citizens if it is supported by a meaningful learning experience.[8]

Thomas Leonard Wells, Ontario Minister of Education, 1973

Ontario's monarchical status is illustrated via associations between the Crown and many organizations within the province, as well as through royal names applied regions, communities, schools, buildings, and monuments, many of which may also have a specific history with a member or members of the Royal Family; for example, Ontario has at least 47 distinct features named for Queen Victoria: one county, one township, 14 populated places, and 31 physical features.[9] This has been the case in Ontario for over a century; on the site of the present day Royal York hotel (where the Queen and members of the Royal Family stay when in Toronto) once stood the Queen's Hotel, where all Victorian visitors of note were guests, including the then Prince of Wales.[10] Monuments today include the statues on the grounds of Queen's Park of King Edward VII, King George V, and Queen Victoria, that of King George VI in Niagara Falls, and the one of Queen Victoria in Hamilton,[11] as well as the Queen Elizabeth Way Monument in Sir Casimir Gzowski Park, on the east side of the Humber River, and the Alexandra Gates at the north end of Philosopher's Walk in Toronto. The latter was built in 1901 at the instigation of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire to commemorate the visit of Prince George, Duke of Cornwall and Mary, Duchess of Cornwall, that year, and each post bears the letters E and A to honour Edward and Alexandra, the reigning king and queen at the time.[12] There can also be found in Toronto the 1936 built Canada Post Station K, which bears the rarely found Royal Cypher of Edward VIII, who was King of Canada for only eleven months in 1936. Within many parks, schoolyards, cemeteries, and private yards all across Ontario are what are known as Royal Oaks or Coronation Oaks, which were grown from acorns shed from oaks in Windsor Great Park, around Windsor Castle, and shipped to Canada, first in 1936, to mark the coronation of George VI, and then in 1953 for the coronation of Elizabeth II.[13] King George V also gifted to Victoria College at the University of Toronto a silver cup used by Queen Victoria when she was a child and the Royal Standard that had flown at Osborne House and was draped on the coffin of the Queen when she died there in 1901.[14] Those in the Royal Family today perform ceremonial duties when on a tour of the province, presiding over official events, dedicating various monuments around Ontario, as well as visiting hospitals, charities, schools, communities, and the like.

Organizations in Ontario may be founded by a Royal Charter, receive a royal prefix, and/or be honoured with the patronage of a member of the Royal Family, such as the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club, which is under the patronage of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and received its royal designation from Queen Victoria in 1891,[15] and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, which, though founded in 1886, was constituted through royal charter by King George VI in 1947. Further, though the monarch does not form a part of the constitutions of Ontario's honours, they do stem from the Crown as the fount of honour, and so bear on the insignia a St. Edward's Crown and/or an effigy and/or Royal Cypher of the sovereign.

For more than 60 years the Department of Education (later the Ministry of Education) promoted homage to the monarchy and patriotism within the British Empire and, later, the Commonwealth, by setting aside one school day a year to observe Commonwealth traditions and ideals. Called Empire Day, it was observed in May, on a date preceding Victoria Day. Teaching aids and information were issued in published Empire Day pamphlets, each issue including a message from the Minister of Education as well as specific instructions for teachers of children from kindergarten to Grade 8. This material ceased to be distributed in the early 1970s.[8]


King James VI & I, in whose name some of the original territories of Ontario were claimed.

Between French and British crowns

The area that is today Ontario was claimed partly by Henry Hudson in the name of King James VI and I after 1611, along the shores of Hudson Bay, and partly by Samuel de Champlain in the name of King Louis XIV after 1615, in the area of the Great Lakes. The latter was declared in 1663 by King Louis XIV to be a royal province of France, and, in an effort to boost the population of this new province, sent over 600 women of marrying age to be wed to colonial men, as well as engagés (male indentured servants) who were encouraged to wed with the Natives. However, as a result of the Treaty of Paris of 1763, the French region was ceded by King Louis XV to King George III in exchange for Guadeloupe. On 7 October of the same year, a Royal Proclamation laid out the policy of the King regarding his newly acquired colonies of America.

The population of the province greatly increased when, during and after the American revolution, 46,000 people loyal to the Crown – dubbed United Empire Loyalists – fled north from the United States, about 10,000 settling in the southern area of the Province of Quebec, where the King granted each family 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land. At the same time, thousands of Iroquois and other Aboriginals were expelled from New York and other states, resettling under the protection of the Crown in what is now Ontario. The descendants of one such group of Iroquois, let by Joseph Brant Thayendenega, settled at Six Nations of the Grand River, the largest First Nations reserve in Canada. Continuing today, Ontario residents descended from these original refugees retain the post-nominals UE, standing for United Empire. The political culture that emerged following this immigration, however, in combination with the rise in power and influence of the United States, led William Lyon Mackenzie to use his Toronto newspaper to stir up republican sentiment, eventually leading to the Upper Canada Rebellion in 1837. Most colonists, though, did not espouse a break with the Crown,[16] and the rebellion failed, with Mackenzie fleeing, along with 200 supporters and American sympathisers, to establish the short-lived Republic of Canada on Navy Island. Responsible government was thereafter granted in 1848 by Queen Victoria, altering the naure of the Lieutenant Governor's role.

The Queen was widely respected, and it was noted that for her birthday in 1854, some 5,000 residents of Toronto gathered in front of Government House to give cheers to their queen.[17] The city grew during her reign, and in 1860 her son, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), in Toronto opened Queen's Park before heading on to see Niagara Falls, which were illuminated for the first time for his visit.[18] There, he rode on the Maid of the Mist, met at Queenston Heights with veterans of the War of 1812, dedicated Brock's Monument, and visited with Laura Secord,[19][20] and in Hamilton dedicated and planted a tree in Prince's Square.

Province of a new kingdom

Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, talks with river guide Neil McDougall at their camp on the Nipigon River, 1919.
King George VI and his Royal Consort, Queen Elizabeth, walking through Queen's Park, Toronto, May 1939.

Canada West continued to grow, and Queen Victoria chose Bytown (today Ottawa) as the capital of the Province of Canada. It soon, though, became the capital of the newly formed kingdom called the Dominion of Canada,[21][22][23] with the Crown continuing, though in a modified guise, as the core of governance in the new province of Ontario; though the Fathers of Confederation had intended otherwise, Ontario gained through the union its own semi-sovereign segment of the Crown's jurisdiction, with the Lieutenant Governor acting as the direct representative of the Queen, rather than her federal viceroy in Ottawa.[24][25]

Victoria's son-in-law, The Duke of Argyll, while serving as Governor General of Canada, in 1881 toured Ontario with his wife, Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, becoming the first royals to attend the Queen's Plate,[26] which had been founded by the Queen in 1860. Louise's brother, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, with his wife, visited Ontario in 1890, the same year that fire destroyed the University of Toronto library, leading Queen Victoria and members of the Royal Family (including her grandson, Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany) to donate funds for the restoration.[27] Later, the Queen's nephew, Prince George, Duke of Cornwall, and his wife Mary, Duchess of Cornwall (later King George V and Queen Mary), in 1901 passed through Ontario, creating "incredible excitement seldom seen since the visit of his father in 1860."[28] Amongst other duties, the Prince dedicated the Alexandra Bridge in Ottawa, in honour of Queen Alexandra.[29]

Prince Arthur arrived in Toronto once again on 14 April 1906, where he was greeted at the Canadian Pacific Railway station by 2,500 people, and three days later visited the Royal Ottawa Golf Club, moving between greens in a special electric car. By 1914, the Prince was serving as Governor General, and that year opened the Royal Ontario Museum, which had received its royal prefix through an Order-in-Council of Lieutenant Governor John Morison Gibson. Arthur's great-nephew, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, was in Ontario on a number of occasions; he first travelled throughout the province in 1919, laying the foundation stone of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill, opening the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, meeting with the League of Canadian Indians at Sault Ste. Marie, and taking a three day canoe trip down the Nipigon River to fish and hunt with two personal Ojibwa guides.[30] Then, in August 1927, he and his brother Prince George, opened Union Station in Toronto, the Princes’ Gates at Exhibition Place,[31] and dedicated the Peace Bridge across the Niagara River.

It was their brother, George VI, who became the first reigning monarch to tour Ontario when he did so with his wife, Elizabeth, in May 1939. The couple attended the Queen's Plate, dedicated the National War Memorial in Ottawa, opened the Rainbow Bridge, and unveiled a monument at the site to mark the occasion. They also inaugurated the Queen Elizabeth Way, which was named for George's royal consort, as well as various monuments along the route, including a set of decorative stone pillars on the eastern approach to the Henley Bridge in St. Catherines, each consisting of a regal lion bearing a unique shield, and the Queen Elizabeth Way Monument, which had inscribed on its base words prophetically referring to the hostilities that would break out later that year:

"The Queen Elizabeth Way was opened by the King and Queen in June, 1939, marking the first visit of a reigning sovereign to a sister Dominion of the Empire. The courage and resolution of Their Majesties in undertaking the royal visit in face of imminent war have inspired the people of this province to complete this work in the Empire's darkest hour, in full confidence of victory and a lasting peace."

After the monument was moved in the mid 1970s to a nearby park to accommodate widening of the original Queen Elizabeth Way, Elizabeth, by then the Queen Mother, returned in 1989 to re-dedicate the monument.

A modern Elizabethan era

On behalf of her ailing father, the King, Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, toured Ontario in late 1951, taking in a Toronto Maple Leafs game at Maple Leaf Gardens, and greeting Ontarians at numerous official functions. Within months, however, the King had died and Elizabeth ascended to the throne as queen. Her coronation took place in London, United Kingdom, in June 1953, and a number of Ontario dignitaries attended, including the Toronto Mayor, Allan Lamport, Premier of Ontario Leslie Frost, and Lieutenant Governor Louis Breithaupt.[32] Elizabeth returned again to Ontario in 1959, and numerous times after that, also enrolling her son, Prince Andrew, at Lakefield College School for one year.

In 1991, the Queen's other son, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and his wife, Diana, Princess of Wales, toured the province; in Toronto, the Princess was joined on board the Royal Yacht Britannia by her two sons, Princes William and Henry, and caused some controversy when she broke from established protocol by enthusiastically hugging the two boys after they ran up the gangplank to meet her. After performing official duties in the city, including a formal dinner at the Royal York hotel, the royal family then went on to visit Sudbury, Kingston, Ottawa, and Niagara Falls, where the princes, as their great-great-great-grandfather had done, rode on the Maid of the Mist.[33] A decade later, the Prince of Wales again visited Toronto and Ottawa, where his interactions with the crowds kept Prime Minister Jean Chrétien waiting for twenty minutes, and It was reported that the media and public referred to Charles "almost casually" as "our future king."

The Queen Mother (centre), during a visit to Toronto, with Lieutenant Governor John Black Aird (right), 1981.

The following October, the Queen was back in the province as a part of her Golden Jubilee tour of Canada, travelling to Hamilton, Toronto, Oakville, and Ottawa, meeting Ontarians at every stop, including a Festival of Ontario at the Canadian National Exhibition – where the achievements and advancement of Ontario over the previous five decades were highlighted – and a visit to Sheridan College, where she met and lunched with animation students, and viewed their work, also dedicating the journalism building as the Golden Jubilee Journalism New Media Centre. At the same time, the Lieutenant-Govenror-in-Council named a park near Gravenhurst as the Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park,[34] and created the Ontario Golden Jubilee Award for Civilian Bravery,[35] in honour of the Queen's jubilee.

The Queen's children continued to tour parts of Ontario over the following years. Prince Andrew came twice in 2003, at one point going into the field in full combat uniform to observe tactical exercises and address the troops of the Queen's York Rangers, of which he is Colonel-in-Chief.[36] Nearly two years later, Andrew's younger brother, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, toured Ontario; the Prince visited Peterborough, Prince Edward County, and Toronto, while Sophie went to Welland to be installed as Colonel-in-Chief of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment.[37]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Victoria (29 March 1867), Constitution Act, 1867, III.9, V.58, Westminster: Queen's Printer,, retrieved 15 January 2009 
  2. ^ Privy Council Office (2008). Accountable Government: A Guide for Ministers and Ministers of State – 2008. Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada. p. 49. ISBN 978-1-100-11096-7. Retrieved 17 May 2009. 
  3. ^ Elizabeth II (25 July 2007), Municipal Tax Assistance Act, 1, Toronto: Queen's Printer for Ontario,, retrieved 2 July 2009 
  4. ^ Elizabeth II (12 February 2007), Environmental Protection Act, 2.1.i, Toronto: Queen's Printer for Ontario,, retrieved 2 July 2009 
  5. ^ Pinet v. The Queen in right of Ontario, , Title (Ontario Court of Appeal 13 April 1995).
  6. ^ MacLeod, Kevin S. (2008), A Crown of Maples (1 ed.), Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada, p. 16, ISBN 978-0-662-46012-1, 
  7. ^ Forsey, Eugene (31 December 1974), "Crown and Cabinet", in Forsey, Eugene, Freedom and Order: Collected Essays, Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Ltd., ISBN 978-0771097737 
  8. ^ a b "Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II: Empire Day". Archives of Ontario. Retrieved 2007-09-15. 
  9. ^ Rayburn, Alan. "Victoria". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15 September 2007. 
  10. ^ Kilbourn, William (1984). Toronto Remembered. Toronto: Stoddart. p. 122. ISBN 0773720294. 
  11. ^ "Royal Statues". Canadian Royal Heritage Trust. Retrieved 12 August 2007. 
  12. ^ "Living in Toronto > City Archives > Highlights > Toronto history FAQs". City of Toronto. Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  13. ^ Whiting, Marguerite (2008). "Royal Acorns". Trillium (Parkhill: Ontario Horticultural Association) Spring 2008: 13. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  14. ^ Rynor, F. Michah (2001). "Royal Gems". UofT Magazine (Toronto: University of Toronto) (Winter 2001). Retrieved 3 October 2009. 
  15. ^ "our Story > The History of The Royal Hamilton Yacht Club". The Royal Hamilton Yacht Club. Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  16. ^ Philips, Stephen (2003). "The Emergence of A Canadian Monarchy: 1867-1953". Canadian Monarchist News (Toronto: Monarchist League of Canada) 7 (4). Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  17. ^ Kilbourn 1984, p. 105
  18. ^ Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership. "Things to Do > Natural Wonders > Did You Know?". Queen's Printer for Ontario. Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  19. ^ Toffoli, Gary (10 August 1998). "CBC's Attack on Canadian Heritage". Monarchy Canada (Toronto: Monarchist League of Canada). Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  20. ^ Morden, James Cochenaur (1932). Historic Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls: Lindsay Press. p. 87. 
  21. ^ "Heritage Saint John > Canadian Heraldry". Heritage Resources of Saint John and New Brunswick Community College. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  22. ^ The Royal Household. "The Queen and the Commonwealth > Queen and Canada > History and present government". Queen's Printer. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  23. ^ Department of Canadian Heritage (2005). The Crown in Canada. Queen's Printer for Canada. p. 7. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  24. ^ Kenney, Jason (23 April 2007). Talking Points for The Honourable Jason Kenney. Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 14 May 2009. 
  25. ^ Watson, William (1892), Maritime Bank v. Receiver-General of New Brunswick, written at London, in Jackson, Michael, "Golden Jubilee and Provincial Crown", Canadian Monarchist News (Toronto: Monarchist League of Canada) 7 (3): 6, 2003,, retrieved 11 June 2009 
  26. ^ "History > History of Queen's Plate". Woodbine Entertainment Group. Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  27. ^ Bousfield, Arthur; Toffoli, Garry (2004). "Let's Get It Right!: Facts About Canada's Monarchy". Canadian Royal Heritage Trust. Retrieved 15 September 2007. 
  28. ^ Department of Canadian Heritage. "Ceremonial and Canadian Symbols Promotion > The Canadian Monarchy > 2005 Royal Visit > The Royal Presence in Canada - A Historical Overview". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 15 September 2007. 
  29. ^ Churcher, Colin. "Railway Pages > Ottawa Railway History Circle > Royal Trains and Royal Occasions". Colin Churcher. Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  30. ^ Whalen, James (1998). "Royalty on the Nipigon". The Archivist (Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada) (117). Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  31. ^ Filey, Mike (5 August 2007), "Union Station turns 80", Toronto Sun,, retrieved 6 August 2007 
  32. ^ "Society > The Monarchy > Coronation of Queen Elizabeth". CBC. Retrieved 4 July 2009. 
  33. ^ Niagara Parks. "Niagara Falls & Great Gorge > More Niagara Falls and Great Gorge > Falls Facts > Famous Visitors". Queen's Printer for Ontario. Retrieved 4 July 2009. 
  34. ^ Ministry of Natural Resources (9 October 2002). "Queen Elizabeth II Woodlands Park". Queen's Printer for Ontario. Retrieved 24 April 2007. 
  35. ^ "Courage of the Queen". Canadian Royal Heritage Trust. Retrieved 15 September 2007. 
  36. ^ Roberts, Stephen (2003). "HRH Duke of York visits the Monarchist League". Canadian Monarchist News (Toronto: Monarchist League of Canada) 7 (4): 4. Retrieved 4 July 2009. 
  37. ^ "HRH The Earl of Wessex unveils provincial plaque celebrating the Toronto-Dominion Centre". Ontario Heritage Trust. 14 August 2006. Retrieved 15 September 2007. 

External links


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