It’s Edmonton’s only road without a street, avenue or boulevard – it’s just “Kingsway” and it got its name seventy eight years ago.
The Difference A Welcome Makes
Canada once had a king. His name was George. George VI to be exact.
In 1939 the King and his Queen, Elizabeth, voyaged to Canada with war looming on the horizon. The Royals popularity was at an all time low in Britain. Coming to Canada changed everything.
Canadians, from Prime Minister MacKenzie King to the proprietors of a New Brunswick tea house welcomed the Royals with open arms. Their month-long cross country tour in “the New World” garnered them favor with Canadians and a new found respect from the Brits back home.
Without this internal strength, Britain may have floundered as the Nazi war machine ploughed through Europe.
The King’s Way
When the royal couple arrived in Edmonton, the regular population of 90,000 swelled to more than 200,000, as Albertans from surrounding towns came in to catch sight of the King and Queen.
70,000 spectators filled specially constructed grandstands lining “Kingsway“, formerly “Portage Avenue” – renamed to honor the King.
Most travelling on Kingsway today have no idea it was once dedicated to royalty.
The Queen Who Lost Her Heart To Canada
Forty six years after her first tour of Canada, Queen Elizabeth returned.
She recalled the impact of that visit in a speech: “I first came to this country with the King, in those anxious days shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War. I shall always look back upon that visit with feelings of affection and happiness.
I think I lost my heart to Canada and Canadians, and my feelings have not changed with the passage of time.”
The Maple Leaf Brooch
Queen Elizabeth was given a platinum and diamond brooch in the shape of a maple leaf which she wore frequently during the 1939 tour.
The brooch became one of the favorite pieces worn by the Queen and her daughter Elizabeth on their visits to Canada. Elizabeth fondly remembered her parents admiration for Canadian magnanimity.
She loaned the brooch to the Duchesses of Cornwall and Cambridge on their official Canadian tours.
The Queen choose to wear the brooch for her Canada’s 150th anniversary photo.
APPLICATION: Are you a Royal watcher? Please leave a comment below. Thank you.
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