April 21, 2016 12:06 pm

Alberta gifts Queen Elizabeth II with Banff walking trail for her 90th birthday

Queen Elizabeth II is pictured with her daughter, The Princess Royal, in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle on April 20, 2016.

Annie Leibovitz
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BANFF, Alta. – A walking trail ‘fit for a queen’ in one of Canada’s most well-known national parks is Alberta’s 90th birthday present to the Queen.

The Commonwealth Walkway is to be created in the town of Banff in Banff National Park in honour of the monarch reaching the milestone.

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“She’s a wonderful individual, a true leader, and the kind of leadership and approach she’s taken toward being a head of state — not just for Canada — is something we should all be proud of and certainly that’s the situation with me,” said Bill Fisher, chairman of the Banff-Canmore Community Foundation.

The idea came from Alberta Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell, who wanted to celebrate the Queen’s reign and Canada’s long-standing role as a member of the Commonwealth.

“This project … also celebrates an important part of our heritage while encouraging current and future generations of Canadians to get outside and enjoy the benefits of walking,” Mitchell said in a news release.

READ MORE: Prince William calls the Queen his ‘boss’ during her 90th birthday party

Fisher said the United Kingdom organization The Outdoor Trust has a goal of creating walkways across all the Commonwealth countries.

Banff’s Commonwealth Walkway is to feature bilingual bronze plaques along existing trails and at points of significant local interest. The plaques will bear the Queen’s personal royal cipher and include details about royal connections to the mountain parks and Canada’s Commonwealth history in general.

“On your smartphone you could have an application that you could download, and it would explain the point of interest you’re looking at. It could be an historic building, a particular event that took place there. It could be a viewpoint that has a spectacular view,” Fisher said.

READ MORE: Slim majority of Canadians believe Queen Elizabeth II should abdicate: Ipsos poll

“It’s really variable from walkway to walkway, but in Banff we’re quite keen to explore our options of having several walkways that would emanate from a point in downtown Banff.”

The final route won’t be decided until next year.

The walkway is to be unveiled in September 2017 as part of events to mark Canada’s 150th birthday.

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