A Royal Visit to the Falls
Queen Elizabeth receiving flowers from children

Throughout the years, Niagara Falls has certainly seen more than its fair share of Royal visitors. On June 7th of this week, it is the 80th anniversary of one such visit. It also was the first visit ever by a reigning British monarch to Canada. I am sure that many of us have grown up hearing stories from our parents and grandparents about where they were when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Niagara Falls in 1939.

The royal couple entered port in Quebec City aboard the Empress of Australia. They then travelled across Canada on the Blue and Gold Royal train, with three convertible sedans providing additional transportation. Their train arrived in St. Catharines where they then transferred to a Lincoln convertible to enjoy a comfortable and sunny ride to Niagara Falls accompanied by a 52 motorcycle police escort.

After stopping briefly at Queenston and the Whirlpool Aero car, the royal couple made their way to the reception at the Niagara Parks Commission Administration building. When their automobile passed through the Mowat Gates at the entrance to Queen Victoria Park, a radio beam was triggered which unveiled the corner stone of the new Rainbow Bridge which was being built to replace the ice-ruined Falls View Bridge.

When they arrived at the administration building, they were greeted by many local dignitaries. Young David Hanniwell, the mayor’s son provided some comic relief when he refused to offer his flowers to the Queen because, as he said, “they were not wearing the king’s hats.” After retiring for tea, the couple then made their way to Table Rock for a special viewing of the famous cataracts. It was noted that King George, who had viewed the falls a number of years before, took great pleasure in pointing out many features to the Queen, since it was her first visit.

The king and queen then proceeded to the General Brock Hotel amid the cheers of thousands of well-wishers who lined the route behind three miles of rope used to keep the crowds at bay. Twelve thousand school children, assembled on the Oneida Community’s lawn, waved their Union Jack flags and sang God Save the King. Upon hearing that some of the children from Welland had missed their initial appearance on the third floor balcony, the King and Queen made a second appearance to the delight of the crowds.

Whilst dining in the Rainbow Room, the royal couple also enjoyed a special royal illumination of the falls. After dinner, it was time to make their way back to the Bridge Street railway station where a 21 gun royal salute marked their departure. 
The 1939 Royal visit was certainly a tremendous success and I am sure we will be hosting many more royal visitors in the years to come. If you would like to view more historic photos of other royal visits, please visit our website at my.nflibrary.ca. As well, if you are out and about on Canada Day, please visit the Library booth on Queen Street to check out our brand new Royal Visits pop-up poster.

Cathy Roy is the Local History Librarian.

Library Notes

2019-06-24

June is Pride month and Indigenous month. These topics can be difficult to tackle with children. However, they are also empowering and necessary issues for young minds.

Here at the Niagara Falls Public Library, we have a number of incredible books aimed at younger children that will teach them all about a variety of LGBTQ+ issues and about national Indigenous issues.

2019-06-19

School’s almost out, which means summer reading is almost here.  The Niagara Falls Public Library is once again very excited to participate in the TD Summer Reading Club, Canada’s biggest bilingual summer reading program.  Kids of all ages, interests and abilities can read books, earn prizes and have fun, keeping their reading skills sharp so they’ll be ready when September rolls around.

2019-06-11

Throughout the years, Niagara Falls has certainly seen more than its fair share of Royal visitors. On June 7th of this week, it is the 80th anniversary of one such visit. It also was the first visit ever by a reigning British monarch to Canada.

2019-06-11

When you work in a library, you use library jargon. However, sometimes you forget not all customers know what the “catalogue” is used for. Most recently, with the news about the elimination of the Southern Ontario Library Service’s Interlibrary Loan 

2019-05-21

Niagara Falls Public Library launched its Seed to Seed collection May 17.

If you come to any of the library's four locations across Niagara Falls you can "borrow" up to three packages of seeds.

After you've planted the seeds and harvested your vegetables, you can set aside some seeds to give back to the library so another person can enjoy the collection.

2019-05-13

Mental Health Week invites us to be mindful with meditation at Niagara Falls library.

In our ongoing effort to meet community needs wherever we can, Niagara Falls Public Library has been running a series of mental health and wellness programs at our four branches throughout 2019.

2019-05-08

Have you ever been curious about what it would be like to grow your own vegetables? Have you ever thought about teaching your children or grandchildren where their food comes from?

Or, like me, have you ever been known for having a black or a brown thumb?

2019-04-25

On Thursday, April 25th the Niagara Falls Public Library will be unveiling its new board game collection. Board Games are a great way to reduce screen time, to interact face-to-face with family and friends, and to challenge yourself in new and interesting ways.

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