Photo: The Canadian Press
Prime Minister John Horgan takes part in a ceremonial procession and provincial memorial service for Queen Elizabeth on a national day of mourning in Victoria, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Dignitaries including the premier and lieutenant governor of British Columbia joined a memorial service for Queen Elizabeth on Monday in the capital city named after her great-great-grandmother.
The service at Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria followed a procession which began at the Legislative Assembly and was led by a Royal Canadian Navy band and members of a 100-member guard carrying their rifles upside down in sign of mourning.
A riderless horse, symbolizing a fallen comrade and representing the Queen’s love for horses, was part of the 1.4 kilometer march with a 21-gun salute to the sound of drums and the sound of hooves.
Beatrice Morrison, 17, dressed in the uniform of the 5th Garry Oak Boy Scouts of Oak Bay, said she stood along the procession route because she wanted to pay homage to the monarch.
“The Queen has been with me since I was born,” Morrison said, adding that she thinks the experience will be a memory she will treasure for the rest of her life.
Many mourners lining the street under blue skies filled the church, where prayers were offered by an imam, a rabbi, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Victoria and the bishop of the Diocese of British Columbia.
Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin suggested that the service recognize diverse faiths in recognition of the Queen’s views on religious diversity.
Prime Minister John Horgan said the Queen had been served by 12 Canadian Prime Ministers and 13 British Columbia Premiers, some of whom attended the service in honor of a leader who exemplified a life of service and dedication. grace for seven decades.
“His face is as familiar as a comforting grandparent. We see it on our coins and on our stamps. photo of my grandmother,” he told attendees.
British Columbia has hosted the queen seven times, including once when she was princess, Horgan said, adding that she has been present at many important moments in the province’s history.
They included BC’s centennial celebration in 1971, the Commonwealth Games in Victoria in 1994 and its Golden Jubilee in 2002, he said.
“These memories will be cherished by the crowds of people who came to greet her. And over the years, the Queen has traveled from Spences Bridge to Kamloops. She’s been to rodeos in Williams Lake and she’s opened the Prince Regional Hospital Rupert.”
During her visit to Victoria in 2002, the Queen was greeted by Snowbirds in the sky and corgis lining the street as she made her way to the cathedral where mourners were now gathering to pay their last respects, a said the prime minister.
Another memory that stood out for Horgan during Golden Jubilee celebrations was the Queen dropping the puck at center ice before a hockey game between the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks.
“What’s more Canadian than being at a hockey game? But there she was, purse in place, puck in hand. She met Canadian royalty in those days. Wayne Gretzky was there. Olympic gold medalist Cassie Campbell was there. And of course, Hall of the famous Howie Meeker.”
During a visit to the province, the Coast Salish gave the queen a name that translates to “mother of all, respected by all,” he said.
Horgan said he had passed a portrait of the Queen in his office every day for five years, but would be replaced later on Tuesday with a new picture of King Charles III.