Queen calls Canada ‘example to the world’
Mounties led her to Parliament Hill for the Canada Day festivities where she was serenaded by Canadian artists including the Barenaked Ladies and the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir
The Queen inspects the Honour Guard as part of Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
Queen Elizabeth told 100,000 people on Parliament Hill on Thursday that she could think of no better reason to celebrate than Canada’s 143rd birthday.
The Queen was spending her first Canada Day in Ottawa since 1997.
At 84, the Queen said she has witnessed more than half of Canada’s national history and praised what Canada stands for.
“This nation has dedicated itself to being a caring home for its own, a sanctuary for others and an example to the world,” she said.
The monarch earned a roar of applause when she mentioned a Canadian moment of pride — the gold medal win for Canada’s men’s Olympic hockey team. The Queen also praised the commitment of the Canadian Forces, and said Canada has reason for optimism, even in trying times.
An estimated 100,000 party-goers packed Parliament Hill, compared with 35,000 last year.
Many of the thousands arrived before dawn to ensure a front-row seat to see, and perhaps meet, the Queen during her walkabout scheduled for later in the day.
altThe Queen spent Wednesday night at her official residence in Canada, Rideau Hall, and then sat for an official portrait on Thursday morning.
With her personal Canadian flag flying from the Peace Tower, the Queen was honoured with a flypast by CF-18 jetfighters and another by the aerobatic Snowbirds, as well as a march-past by the Guard of Honour.
The Queen was serenaded by Canadian artists including Quebec pop star Isabelle Boulay, bagpipers the Campbell Brothers, the Barenaked Ladies and the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir.
She was also lauded by a host of luminaries, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, actor Christopher Plummer and figure skater Joannie Rochette, who received a warm round of applause from the spectators, many decked out in red and white.
“Thank you for being there for me in my times of joy and sadness,” said Rochette, who skated to a bronze medal in the Vancouver Olympics, just days after the sudden death of her mother.
“I had the sense that all of Canada was cheering us on,” she said in French
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