N.S. marks Queen Elizabeth's funeral with Citadel Hill 21-gun salute, ceremonies

N.S. marks Queen Elizabeth's funeral with Citadel Hill 21-gun salute, ceremonies

People across Nova Scotia are saying goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II as she is laid to rest Monday.

The Queen, 96, died on Sept. 8 after 70 years on the British throne.

Donald Marks, a Halifax resident, was eight years old when he watched her coronation at the former Capitol Theatre on Barrington Street with his parents. He said he was sad when he learned of the Queen's passing.

"She was a lady with a lot of class and a lot of grace. She'd done her job well and I'm sure the effects will be carried on for years to come," Marks said Monday.

Monday is a federal and provincial holiday, which means government offices, public schools and regulated child care are closed in Nova Scotia.

A public multifaith memorial service for the Queen was held in Halifax at the Cathedral Church of All Saints at 2 p.m. AT.

The service began with a land acknowledgement, followed by a prayer and traditional smudging ceremony from Mi'kmaw Elder Marlene Companion.

During the service, Lt.-Gov. Arthur J. LeBlanc delivered a eulogy in both French and English, touching on the Queen's longstanding legacy and the far-reaching impact she had in the Commonwealth and across the globe.

Robert Guertin/CBC
Robert Guertin/CBC

"She took the monarchy into modernity. The world changed immensely during her reign, despite countries and nations experiencing political, social, and cultural change, she remained our beloved and our gracious Queen," he said.

Premier Tim Houston also gave a tribute to the late Queen.

"It is with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth II. May she rest in peace and remain a symbol of service and humanity," Houston said.

Héloïse Rodriguez-Qizilbash/CBC
Héloïse Rodriguez-Qizilbash/CBC

At the end of the service, the Royal Canadian Artillery performed a 21-gun salute from Citadel Hill.

"I've seen a mix of reactions from people my age, across social media and from my friends, but at the end of the day, losing someone is sad … if you talk to my parents, there's a lot more sentimentality coming from older generations," Laura Hardie said Monday.

"It's important for me and my family to be here today to pay respects to such a great leader who reigned for so long," said Beth Phillips, who attended the Halifax memorial service with her nine-year old daughter, Leeila.

Colleen Jones/CBC
Colleen Jones/CBC

The pair also woke up early to watch the livestream of the funeral in London.

Phillips was a member of the Queen's Honour Guard in Dartmouth, N.S., during her 1994 visit to Nova Scotia. She described meeting the Queen as "out of this world."

"She was so genuine, so amazing, brilliant, as a woman. She connected with you. Even if it was for a brief couple of moments, you could feel the compassion, the care, and just the wonderful woman that she was." she said.

Royal Canadian Legions across the province held wreath-laying ceremonies.

Many veterans gathered at the Bedford cenotaph ceremony late Monday morning to pay their respects.

"Inspiration was the word that kept coming and coming. She was always there for us. Never [any] hesitation, always did her duty," said Joyce Pitcher, president of the Bedford legion, who met the Queen twice.

"[She was] so gracious. She's looking directly at you, and you're the centre of the moment for her when she's speaking to you ... you just feel special."

In Sydney, the bells of the historic St. George's Anglican Church rang out 70 times at noon on Monday, for each year of Queen Elizabeth's reign.

The church was built by the British in 1785 as a chapel for British soldiers, said longtime church member Anne Lewis.

The bell was installed in 1810, but Lewis said it was taken out during the Second World War and shipped to England in case it needed to be melted down and made into arms. It didn't, and was shipped back to Cape Breton after the war ended.

A commemorative service for the Queen will also be held at the church on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. and will be open to the public.