Celebrations held across Canada to mark Queen's Platinum Jubilee

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Ottawa landmarks, including Parliament's Peace Tower, the Senate and the Prime Minister's Office, will be illuminated in purple Thursday evening to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

Also in Canada’s capital city, a beacon will be lit — one of 1,500 across the country and the Commonwealth to celebrate the monarch's 70 years on the throne.

Pipers across Canada and the Commonwealth will play a tune composed for the occasion, while communities in every province are celebrating with events such as street parties, the unveiling of commemorative gardens and even Jubilee puppet shows.

Gov. Gen. Mary Simon and her husband Whit Fraser are in London on Thursday and throughout the weekend to take part in the Jubilee celebrations. She will meet governors general from throughout the Commonwealth.

Simon said the Jubilee is much more than the fanfare on display — it is a celebration of not only the Queen’s reign, but her service to country and service to others.

“That same service has inspired countless Canadians to look beyond themselves, to champion important causes and to make Canada better every day,” Simon said in a statement.

“Each of us has a responsibility to create a better country for everyone. I encourage all Canadians to find their own way to give back and contribute to their own communities. When we all work together, we truly honour the life, legacy and reign of Her Majesty the Queen.”

In Ottawa, the British High Commission will be lit up in purple from Thursday through Saturday, when celebrations will continue with a street party for 3,000 at the high commissioner's official residence in the city.

The High Commission is also set to host a huge firework display Thursday night. On Saturday, it will hold a Platinum pudding competition with the high commissioner's chef creating his own recipe.

Susannah Goshko, British high commissioner to Canada, said she was "incredibly honoured to be celebrating the Queen's Platinum Jubilee here in Canada."

"The fact that Her Majesty the Queen has visited Canada 22 times during her time as monarch — the largest number of visits to any of her realms — is testament to her love for this country and it’s fabulous that we can come together this evening to celebrate her 70 years of dedicated service," she said.

Thursday’s events are the first of four days of celebrations to mark her decades on the throne.

Earlier Thursday, the Queen, 96, appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with 18 members of the Royal Family, including Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children.

Britain's longest-serving monarch waved at the crowds as the Royal Air Force, including the Red Arrows, did an aeronautical display that at one point included forming the number 70 in the sky. The noise from more than 70 aircraft during the six-minute flypast was so loud that Prince Louis, age four, covered his ears and made a face.

In Canada and the U.K., town criers took to the streets to announce the Platinum Jubilee — a tradition commemorating royal events stretching back to medieval times in England.

The Canadian Heritage department has earmarked $2 million to fund community celebrations, including grants of up to $5,000 for tree planting, traditional afternoon teas, concerts, pipe band concerts and the creation of Platinum Jubilee gardens.

Toronto has raised a Canadian Platinum Jubilee Flag in Nathan Phillips Square and has illuminated the city sign purple.

Other celebrations include a puppet show celebrating the pageantry of the Jubilee that has been devised by the W.P. Puppet Theatre Society of Calgary.

In Regina — Latin for “queen,” named after Queen Victoria — Government House has put on a Platinum Jubilee exhibition.

Events are also being held by multicultural groups including Regina's African Canadian Heritage museum and the National Congress of Chinese Canadians in Toronto. The Nigeria-Canada Association of Canada, based in Surrey B.C., has a project on how Black communities have fared in Canada during the Queen's reign.

A number of First Nations are also putting on events including in New Brunswick, where the St. Mary's First Nation is holding a traditional commemoration of the monarch's reign.

In Winnipeg, the Garden City Residents' Association received $5,000 for a Platinum Jubilee tree-planting project, one of many arboreal and horticultural events taking place.

Halifax's Friends of the Public Gardens society is planting 70 trees to celebrate and on Galiano Island and Kamloops in B.C. commemorative gardens are being landscaped.

Many of the Queen's contemporaries are celebrating the Jubilee in Canada, including in care homes, some of which are holding parties and special afternoon teas.

In Victoria, which has a large expat British pensioners community, the government gave a $5,000 grant to the Soroptimist society, a women's volunteer society, so it could host a Jubilee supper for seniors.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2022.

Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press

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