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Queen Elizabeth II visited Alberta 6 times in her life

Click to play video: 'A look back at Queen Elizabeth II’s visits to Alberta'
A look back at Queen Elizabeth II’s visits to Alberta
WATCH: Queen Elizabeth II made several visits to Alberta during her reign, and even before as Princess Elizabeth. Dallas Flexhaug takes a look back at her six different visits to Alberta over the decades. – Sep 8, 2022

The Queen has died at the age of 96. Most Canadians have never known a world in which she wasn’t the official head of state.

Read more: Queen Elizabeth II, longest-reigning monarch in British history, dead at 96

Queen Elizabeth II visited Alberta six times over the course of 54 years, with her first visit coming before she became monarch.

1951

Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh Escorted by R.C.A.F. Officer during a visit to Edmonton in 1951.
Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh escorted by R.C.A.F. Officer during a visit to Edmonton in 1951. Credit: City of Edmonton Archives

Her inaugural visit to Canada was made while she was still Princess Elizabeth. She and her new husband Prince Philip made a coast-to-coast tour of the country.

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Princess Elizabeth’s first trip to Alberta was 111 days before she became Queen. The Calgary Stampede put on a special fall edition of the show just for the princess and she would go on to visit three more Stampedes over the decades.

Princess Elizabeth during a visit to Edmonton in 1951.
Princess Elizabeth during a visit to Edmonton in 1951. Credit: Northern Alberta Pioneers and Old Timers' Association via City of Edmonton Archives

She also visited Edmonton for one day during that 33-day tour across Canada. More than 160,000 people lined the streets to see the Royal couple make a 32-kilometre procession through the Alberta capital.

Read more: Queen was a safeguard for parliamentary democracy, says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney

It was during that trip when Portage Avenue from 101 Street to Kingsway would be paved and renamed Princess Elizabeth Avenue in honour of the visit.

Earlier in 1939, the thoroughfare was dubbed Kingsway in honour of the visit by her father, King George VI.

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Princess Elizabeth at a dinner during a visit to Edmonton in 1951.
Princess Elizabeth at a dinner during a visit to Edmonton in 1951. Credit: Northern Alberta Pioneers and Old Timers' Association via City of Edmonton Archives

During the 1951 visit, the Royal couple was greeted at Alberta Legislature by Premier Ernest Manning and gifted a polar bear fur rug. The couple also attended Col. Mewburn Pavillion of University Hospital to visit with veterans, then on to the Imperial Refinery — now called Strathcona Refinery — for tea.

Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh at an Edmonton Eskimos game, where players Dick Huffman (Winnipeg Blue Bombers) and Frank Filchock (Edmonton Eskimos) were introduced to the royal couple during a visit to the city in 1951.
Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh at an Edmonton Eskimos game, where players Dick Huffman (Winnipeg Blue Bombers) and Frank Filchock (Edmonton Eskimos) were introduced to the Royal couple during a visit to the city in 1951. Credit: City of Edmonton Archives

A state dinner hosted by the provincial government was held at the Hotel Macdonald. The couple also watched a CFL game, in which Edmonton beat Winnipeg 4-1 in the western semifinal, before leaving the city.

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Click to play video: '‘Calgarians have a fond affection for the Queen’: Monarchist reflects on city’s relationship to the monarch'
‘Calgarians have a fond affection for the Queen’: Monarchist reflects on city’s relationship to the monarch

1959

The Queen with Prince Philip made a six-week tour of all provinces and territories. The tour lasted 45 days and included 90 stops.

Upon arrival in Calgary on July 9, Her Majesty and Prince Philip attended the Calgary Stampede. They watched chuckwagon races and attended a barbecue.

Queen Elizabeth attending the Calgary Stampede in 1959. Archives

In a replica First Nations village, the Queen and her husband briefly spoke with Chief Walking Buffalo of the Stoney-Nakoda First Nation and then spent time meeting other Indigenous Albertans.

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The next day, the Royal couple boarded a train to Banff and Lake Louise, before carrying on to the west coast and northern territories.

The Royal couple take a last look at Calgary as they board the Royal train at Turner Siding for the trip to Banff, Lake Louise and the west coast. Published in Calgary Herald July 10, 1959.

When they arrived in Whitehorse, the couple spilt up for that portion of the tour because the Queen became ill and cancelled her engagements for the next two days. During that time, Prince Philip visited Yellowknife and other places in the Northwest Territories, as well as a gold and uranium mines in far northern Saskatchewan. Her Majesty flew straight to Edmonton on her own and her husband later joined her there.

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The Queen returned to her official duties in Edmonton, where some 200,000 people gathered on the streets to greet her. Her Edmonton stop included the opening of Coronation Park. After that, the Royals started to head back to central and eastern Canada for the final legs of the tour, boarding a train that took them through Wainwright and on to Saskatchewan.

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1973

Queen Elizabeth II in Calgary, Alta. in 1973.
Queen Elizabeth II in Calgary, Alta. in 1973. Archives

The Queen and Prince Philip visited Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and Alberta. They marked the RCMP centennial, the centennial of P.E.I. joining Confederation and the tercentennial of Kingston, Ont.

Queen Elizabeth II at a dinner with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau at the Fairmont Palliser hotel in downtown Calgary in 1973.
Queen Elizabeth II at a dinner with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau at the Fairmont Palliser hotel in downtown Calgary in 1973. Archives

During her stop in the province, Queen Elizabeth had dinner with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel in downtown Calgary. She also attended the Calgary Stampede.

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1978

Queen Elizabeth ll and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh ride in an open car past spectators in the stands as they arrive to open the Commonwealth Games on August 03, 1978 in Edmonton, Canada.

The Queen and Prince Philip, along with their sons Edward and Andrew, visited Newfoundland, Saskatchewan and Alberta, where they opened and attended the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton. Commonwealth Stadium was built specifically for the event.

The Royal Family attended a banquet hosted by Premier Peter Lougheed, during which the Queen gave a televised national address about the importance of a unified Canada.

EDMONTON, CANADA – AUGUST 03 : Queen Elizabeth ll, watched by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, opens the Commonwealth Games on August 03, 1978 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images). Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

The premier agreed with the Queen while emphasizing the strength and success of Alberta and the west.

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Read more: Queen Elizabeth visited B.C. 7 times, the first time as a princess in 1951

At this time in history, the province was engaged in an “energy war” with the federal government over the several policies enacted by then Premier Pierre Trudeau, which some say ended up causing great economic hardship in Alberta and led to a rift between the east and west.

Queen Elizabeth II accepts a baton from Canadian athlete Diane Jones Konihowski as the Commonwealth Games officially got underway Aug. 3, 1978 in Edmonton, AB. Rod MacIvor, The Canadian Press

During that same visit, the Queen visited the Alberta Legislature, placed a wreath at the Cenotaph and greeted people at Churchill Square before opening the Commonwealth Games. During that trip she also visited the University of Alberta, Kinsmen Aquatic Centre and the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.

1990

Queen Elizabeth II looks at the displays in the Calgary Military museum escorted by Neil Stewart (left) and an unidentified officer of the Canadian Forces in Calgary, AB, June 30, 1990. Chuck Stoody, The Canadian Press

The Queen returned to Alberta, visiting Red Deer and Calgary for four days before stopping in Ottawa for Canada Day festivities in 1990.

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She visited Spruce Meadows with Premier Don Getty and his wife Margaret, inaugurating the Queen Elizabeth II Cup equestrian competition that has been held every year since.

Read more: From Winston Churchill to Liz Truss: The leaders who served under Queen Elizabeth II

Her Majesty also opened the Museum of the Regiments at Canadian Forces Base Calgary, went to McMahon Stadium and spoke at a luncheon. She opened the new pediatric ward at the Red Deer Hospital during that trip.

Queen Elizabeth II leaves the Calgary Concert Hall with Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and wife Mila after a performance by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, in Calgary on June 28, 1990. Chuck Stoody, The Canadian Press

2005

Queen Elizabeth II receives flowers from a young girl as she leave the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton, Tuesday, May 24, 2005. The Queen is in Alberta to celebrate the province’s centennial. Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press

The Queen and Prince Philip embarked upon a nine-day tour of Saskatchewan and Alberta to celebrate both provinces’ centennials. The trip was characterized by torrents of rain at nearly every stop.

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Alberta Premier Ralph Klein follows Queen Elizabeth II onto the seating platform during rainy Alberta centennial celebrations at Commonwealth Stadium Monday, May 23, 2005 in Edmonton. (CP PHOTO/Paul Chiasson). Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press

She began in Edmonton by returning to Commonwealth Stadium on Victoria Day but relentless rainfall put a damper on the day, causing many acts to cancel.

She also once again vested the legislature with Premier Ralph Klein. The Queen addressed Alberta in the legislature for the first time in the province’s history.

Queen Elizabeth II is applauded as she leaves the Alberta Legislature followed by Alberta Premier Ralph Klein in Edmonton, Tuesday, May 24, 2005. The Queen is in Alberta to celebrate the province’s centennial. (CP PHOTO/Paul Chiasson). Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press

The Queen cut a cake of the legislature made by NAIT students and during this trip two Alberta landmarks were renamed in honor of Her Majesty: Highway 2 became Queen Elizabeth II Highway (the QEII), and the Provincial Museum of Alberta became the Royal Alberta Museum.

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During this trip, she was also taken on a helicopter tour of the oilsands.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton baker on creating the cake for Queen Elizabeth’s 2005 Royal tour in Alberta'
Edmonton baker on creating the cake for Queen Elizabeth’s 2005 Royal tour in Alberta

In Calgary, the city’s famous tower was lit as she went to a lunch hosted by the premier, before attending a centennial celebration at the Saddledome with 17,000 spectators.

That 2005 trip was the last time the monarch visited Alberta, although she did return to Canada one more time in 2010 for a nine-day tour of Halifax, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Waterloo, Ont.

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Queen Elizabeth II, left, walks past a living statue while she tours the Alberta Provincial Museum with museum director Dr. Bruce McGillivray, in Edmonton, Alta., Tuesday May 24, 2005. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press
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Alberta Premier Ralph Klein unveils a plaque renaming the highway between Calgary and Edmonton to Queen Elizabeth II highway in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II during an official dinner Monday, May 23, 2005 in Edmonton. Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II presents Alberta Lieutenant Governor Norman Kwong with the Knight of the Order of Saint John as his wife Mary looks on, on Monday, May 23, 2005 in Edmonton. Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press
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A pipe band marches into Commonwealth stadium during a steady downpour for Alberta centennial celebrations attended by Queen Elizabeth II Monday, May 23, 2005 in Edmonton. Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II walks through the crowd during rainy Alberta centennial celebrations at Commonwealth Stadium Monday, May 23, 2005 in Edmonton. Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II inspects the Honor Guard during Alberta centennial celebrations at Commonwealth Stadium Monday, May 23, 2005 in Edmonton. Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II stands beneath her umbrella for the national anthem during rainy Alberta centennial celebrations at Commonwealth Stadium on Mon. May 23, 2005 in Edmonton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
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Queen Elizabeth II inspects an honour guard during centennial celebrations in Edmonton, Alta., Monday May 23, 2005. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II waves to the crowd after touring the Alberta Provincial Museum in Edmonton, Alta., Tuesday May 24, 2005. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II delivers a speech as Prime Minister Paul Martin listens during a state dinner Tuesday, May 24, 2005 in Edmonton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
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Queen Elizabeth II walks past Constable Kevin Fald (right) of the Edmonton Police Service Historical Unit, in a replica 1905 uniform, during the monarch's walkabout at Edmonton City Hall Wednesday, May 25, 2005. John Ulan, The Canadian Press
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Tame bison, Bailey D. Buffalo, is introduced to Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II during their walkabout at Edmonton City Hall Wednesday, May 25, 2005. John Ulan, The Canadian Press
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Children greet Queen Elizabeth II during the monarch's walkabout at Edmonton City Hall Wednesday, May 25, 2005. John Ulan, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II receives flowers during her walkabout at Edmonton City Hall Wednesday, May 25, 2005. John Ulan, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she walks past Prime Minister Paul Martin and his wife Sheila as they head to a state dinner Tuesday May 24, 2005 in Edmonton. Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip pose for a photograph with Prime Minister Paul Martin and his wife Sheila prior to a state dinner Tuesday May 24, 2005 in Edmonton. Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press
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A mountie salutes as Queen Elizabeth II arrives with Prime Minister Paul Martin at an official dinner in Edmonton, Alta., Tuesday May 24, 2005. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II, left, arrives with Prime Minister Paul Martin at an official dinner in Edmonton, Alta., Tuesday May 24, 2005. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II receives flowers from a young girl as she leaves the Alberta Legislature Tuesday, May 24, 2005 in Edmonton. The Queen is in Alberta to celebrate the province's centennial. (CP PHOTO/Paul Chiasson). Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II leaves the Alberta Legislature accompanied by Alberta Premier Ralph Klein and his wife Colleen on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 in Edmonton. The Queen is in Alberta to celebrate the province's centennial. (CP PHOTO/Paul Chiasson). Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II is applauded as she leaves the Alberta Legislature followed by Alberta Premier Ralph Klein in Edmonton, Tuesday, May 24, 2005. The Queen is in Alberta to celebrate the province's centennial. (CP PHOTO/Paul Chiasson). Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II chats with a group of war veterans as she leaves the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton, Tuesday, May 24, 2005. The Queen is in Alberta to celebrate the province's centennial. (CP PHOTO/Paul Chiasson). Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II leans down to pet a group of corgi dogs as she leaves the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton, Tuesday, May 24, 2005. The Queen is in Alberta to celebrate the province's centennial. (CP PHOTO/Paul Chiasson). Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press
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Alberta Premier Ralph Klein (left) introduces Queen Elizabeth II prior to her addressing the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton, Tuesday, May 24, 2005. Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II addresses the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton, Tuesday, May 24, 2005. The Queen paid tribute to Alberta’s pioneers in the first speech to the legislature by a reigning monarch. (CP PHOTO/Paul Chiasson). Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II waves to the crowd as she leaves St. Mary's and St. George Anglican Church following a church service Sunday, May 22, 2005 in Jasper, Alta. with Whistler Mountain in the background. Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II as she leaves St Mary's and St George Anglican Church accompanied by Right Reverend Victoria Matthews, Bishop of Edmonton, following a church service Sunday, May 22, 2005 in Jasper, Alta. (CP PHOTO/Paul Chiasson). Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II arrives at St. Mary's and St. George Anglican Church accompanied by Right Reverend Victoria Matthews, Bishop of Edmonton, for a church service Sunday, May 22, 2005 in Jasper, Alta. (CP PHOTO/Paul Chiasson). Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press
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Queen Elizabeth II greets the crowd as she leaves St. Mary's and St. George Anglican Church following a church service Sunday, May 22, 2005 in Jasper, Alta. with Whistler Mountain in the background. (CP PHOTO/Paul Chiasson). Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press

 

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— With files from The Canadian Press

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