times when the monarchy is
most visible to Canadians. The
purposes of the royal tour, or
homecomings, are not always
that well understood by
Members of the Royal Family
have been living, working, &
visiting Canada since 1786. Early royal tours were made by
princes (and princesses) since the long sea voyage made it
unfeasible for the sovereign to both rule and visit their
overseas territories. The tours were meant to be a chance for
the people to see their royal family and for said royals to gain
experience in military and civil administration.
Revolution had as much of a
hand in creating Canada as it
did the United States. How
fitting that the first royal tour
occurred at roughly the same
Prince William (later King
William IV) was given
command of the HMS
Pegasus in 1786. He traveled
to Newfoundland, Nova
Scotia, and the Province of
Canada. The tour lasted
about a year.
riot on one occasion and hear a court case on another. As the
colonies largely lacked a permanent administration it was not
entirely uncommon for senior naval officers to take on such
duties. On two occasions Prince William led church services
attended by both Protestants and a few Catholics. He would
go on to finance the building of a church for the community.
He eventually proceeded to Halifax and to the Province of
Canada. The Prince traveled inland to modern-day Cornwall,
Ontario. There he encouraged the Loyalists building new lives
for themselves in the wilderness. He also met with First
Nations living around Montreal and was greeted with great
for only a short time but his
brother, Prince Edward, would
end up spending nine years in the
growing colonies. I have already
detailed Prince Edward's time in
another post so I will move on.
Both brothers saw to the positive
development of Canada and
began a tradition that continues
to this day.
part shorter in length with the exception of Princess Louise,
who served for five years as the vice-regal couple with her
husband from 1878 to 1883.
The 1900s brought an increase in the number of royal tours as
transportation across the Atlantic became faster. Tours also
tended to include more parts of Canada. Princess Patricia
would spend six years in Canada and become immensely
popular with Canadians. It was still only princes and
princesses undertaking royal tours until 1957 when Queen
Elizabeth II became the first reigning sovereign to visit Canada and open a session of the Canadian Parliament.
Tours have increasingly become centered around specific
themes. For instance the 2005 royal tour was organized as a
chance for Her Majesty and all other Canadians to honour
"The Spirit of Nation Builders."
less of the pomp and circumstance and generally involve a
member of the Canadian Royal Family carrying out some of
their less public duties. The charity work of the Princess Royal
and Prince Harry's military training in Alberta being
examples. In a sense the working visits undertaken by
members of the Royal Family more resemble the royal tours
of the past while visits by the reigning monarch have become
a form of 'patriotic festival'.
come together in celebration of Canada. As the personal face
of what would otherwise be the distant entity, the state, the
monarch serves to humanize it. By bringing attention to
communities that might not always be on the government
radar royal tours stress the importance of all peoples and
regions of our fair dominion.
A Kisaragi Colour