Life of Queen Elizabeth celebrated at tribute services across Atlantic Canada

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HALIFAX — Across Atlantic Canada, dignitaries, military officers, politicians and community members celebrated the life of the late Queen Elizabeth at tribute ceremonies Monday.

In Halifax, the 500 seats at Cathedral Church of All Saints were filled for Nova Scotia’s provincial tribute service. The ceremony began with a welcome from the cathedral’s rector Paul Smith, followed by a smudging of sage and a prayer from Mi’kmaq elder Marlene Companion.

Premier Tim Houston spoke about the queen’s effect on the province through her five visits, which he expects will be “remembered by many Nova Scotians for generations to come.”

“Our queen was a remarkable woman who led an extraordinary life. For more than 70 years, she reigned with dedication and dignity,” he said.

Nova Scotia Lt.-Gov. Arthur J. LeBlanc highlighted the queen’s military service and love for animals in his eulogy. He said that in her visits to the province, including her last tour in 2010, she showed a genuine interest in meeting and speaking with Nova Scotians.

“We are joined together to honour our gracious queen’s life and dedication. In doing so, we all should strive to follow her example and commit to serving our province and our Canada,” LeBlanc told the interfaith ceremony, which included prayers from Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Baptist, Catholic and United Church spiritual leaders.

The full cathedral sang God Save the King and a 21-gun salute began at Citadel Hill as the tribute came to an end.

May Wang, a Halifax resident who attended the service, said she felt it was important to attend and honour the queen on this historic occasion.

“Together we experienced a historic moment. One page of the history books has turned over,” she said after the ceremony.

In St. John’s, N.L., Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote and Premier Andrew Furey were among those taking part in a commemorative service at the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

Foote laid a wreath before a large portrait of the queen and told the gathering that the late monarch was a “remarkable woman” who left a lasting impression throughout the world.

“In fact for the majority of us, Her Majesty was the only queen we knew,” Foote said. “And what we knew was all good. How often does it happen that someone of her stature is looked upon with complete admiration and a feeling she could be trusted in any situation?”

Foote noted the queen’s warmth was a calming influence in a “world of conflict.”

Furey extended condolences to the Royal Family on behalf of his province and reflected on the queen’s relationship with Newfoundland and Labrador and what he called “an extra tight connection.”

In Fredericton, a service was held at the city’s landmark Christ Church Cathedral.

Lt.-Gov. Brenda Murphy bade farewell to a queen who she said was greatly loved for her grace, humanity and sympathy.

"For her courage in adversity, for the happiness she brought, for her steadfast pilgrimage of faith," Murphy said. "For the example of service and for the duty she rendered to this country, the Commonwealth and the world."

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs also gave thanks for the queen's life. "May her example continue to inspire us in the days, weeks and years to come," he said.

At St. Peter’s Cathedral in Charlottetown, Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry and P.E.I. Premier Dennis King gave Bible readings during a multi-faith ceremony.

Perry recalled a private audience she had with the queen at Buckingham Palace.

“Here I was having a conversation with the most famous woman on the whole planet, who made me feel at ease the instant I looked at her intent gaze with her captivating eyes," she said. "I will never forget them."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 19, 2022.

— With files from Hina Alam in Fredericton and Keith Doucette in Halifax.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Lyndsay Armstrong, The Canadian Press