‘Selfless service’: Ontario mourns after death of Queen Elizabeth II

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Queen Elizabeth II remembered in Canada
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Officials and residents in Ontario are expressing their condolences after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Royal Family announced her death in a Twitter post Thursday afternoon, saying she died “peacefully” in her Scottish residence of Balmoral Castle. She was 96 years old.

“The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow,” the post read.

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Shortly after her death was announced, officials began sharing their condolences on social media.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford issued a statement saying he joins with “everyone across our province, country and the world in commemorating the remarkable life” of the queen.

“Throughout her historic reign, she taught us the true meaning of selfless service and was respected and admired for her sense of duty and commitment to charity,” the statement read.

Click to play video: 'Queen Elizabeth II dies at the age of 96'
Queen Elizabeth II dies at the age of 96

“While I express my sincere condolences to King Charles III, I also congratulate His Majesty on his ascension to the throne of the United Kingdom and to wish him great success in continuing his mother’s legacy.”

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The premier said he is sending “thoughts and prayers” to the entire Royal Family, the people of the United Kingdom and the queen’s “many admirers all over the world.”

Click to play video: 'Queen Elizabeth death: Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor pays tribute to ‘beloved’ monarch'
Queen Elizabeth death: Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor pays tribute to ‘beloved’ monarch

Toronto Mayor John Tory offered “heartfelt condolences” to The King, other members of the Royal Family and to the Commonwealth “who will be feeling a profound sense of loss as we mark the passing of our Queen, Elizabeth II.”

“So many of us have known no other Queen,” he said in a statement. “She was the one constant and reassuring presence in our own country and on the world stage – a beacon of eloquence, stability and commitment to duty – over so many decades.”

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He said the city had a “warm relationship” with the Queen.

Click to play video: 'Queen Elizabeth death: The life and legacy of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch'
Queen Elizabeth death: The life and legacy of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch

“Over the course of her more than 70-year reign, The Queen’s sense of duty and devotion to public service was unflagging,” Tory said. “She traveled more than any other monarch, and Canada was the country she most often visited. She even referred to Canada as her second home.”

Tory said she will be “profoundly missed,” but added that her legacy will “live on through her relationship with this country, province and city over the years and the length of time she has been our Queen, together with her commitment to the Commonwealth.”

He said “across Toronto, our thoughts are with the King and all the members of the Royal Family at this sad time.”

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The City of Toronto said flags have been half-masted at all of its facilities, parks and vessels “throughout the mourning period.”

The city said the Toronto Sign will also be dimmed Thursday evening.

According to the city, those wishing to send condolences can do so via the online National Condolence Book, or in person at City Hall and the city’s Civic Centres beginning on Friday afternoon.

Click to play video: 'Queen’s Park reacts to the death of Queen Elizabeth II'
Queen’s Park reacts to the death of Queen Elizabeth II

The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell said it was “with immense sadness” that she learned of the queen’s death.

“On behalf of the people of Ontario, I extend my deepest sympathies to His Majesty The King as well as we collectively wish him strength and courage in fulfilling the duties of the Crown,” she said in a statement.

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Dowdeswell said we are “fortunate that Her Majesty enjoyed a long and fruitful life.”

She said the queen had a “unique relationship with Canada,” one which was based on a “deep attachment to the country.”

“During her lifetime, she made 23 tours of Canada, more than any other country in the world,” she said.

Click to play video: 'Queen Elizabeth death: Doug Ford commemorates late monarch, congratulates King Charles III’s succession to throne'
Queen Elizabeth death: Doug Ford commemorates late monarch, congratulates King Charles III’s succession to throne

Dowdeswell said on 14 of those tours, the queen visited Ontario, where she “participated in many seminal events in the life of Canada and our province.”

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“In mourning her death, we honour a Sovereign who kept faith with her people,” she said. “We pay homage to the important institution that is the Crown in Canada,” she said.

Peter Tabuns, Leader of the Ontario NDP, offered is “deepest condolences” to the family of Queen Elizabeth II and “to all who mourn her throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.”

“May Queen Elizabeth II rest in peace,” he said. “And may King Charles III assume the throne in good health, and be guided by goodness and humanity,” Tabuns said in a statement.

Canada’s Governor General Mary Simon also offered her “deepest condolences” to the Royal Family on Twitter.

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“Canadians across the country will mourn the loss of The Queen,” the tweet read. “Let us take a moment to honour Her Majesty’s memory in each of our own ways.”

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Queen Elizabeth II was a “constant presence in our lives.”

Click to play video: 'Queen Elizabeth’s ties to Queen’s Park'
Queen Elizabeth’s ties to Queen’s Park

“And her service to Canadians will forever remain an important part of our country’s history,” he said in a post on Twitter.

Trudeau said Canadians “will always remember and cherish Her Majesty’s wisdom, compassion, and warmth.”

“Our thoughts are with the members of the Royal Family during this most difficult time,” he said.

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Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the queen was a “constant in the lives of Canadians.”

“She was selfless in her service to others and defined the Greatest Generation with grace and humility,” she wrote on Twitter. “Canada and the world are better for her reign. We will miss her.”

Former Prime Minister Jean Chretien told Global News the queen was an “extremely dedicated person” and was “respected everywhere.”

“There must be millions and millions of people around the globe who are very sad at this moment,” he said. “She had a great life and she always (had) a lot of dignity.”

Chretien said she was also an “extremely pleasant person in private,” recounting private functions in which he escorted Her Majesty.

He said the queen also always made an effort speak to himself and his wife in French, which he said was “quite good.”

“It is, for me, a big loss like it is for — as I said —  millions and millions of people,” he said. “She deserved the respect she has.”

In a tweet, Toronto’s CN Tower said it will be dark on Thursday night “in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”

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Mirvish Productions said it would dim the marquee lights of its two royal theatres on King Street Thursday evening in honour of Queen Elizabeth II.

Seneca College also said it would fly its flags at half-mast to mark the death of the queen.

“In accordance with federal rules for half-masting the National Flag of Canada, flags at Seneca will continue to fly at half mast until sunset on the day of the funeral,” a post on Twitter read.

-with files from Global News’ Shallima Maharaj

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