May 20, 1939 – Laying The Cornerstone For The Canadian Supreme Court
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May 20, 1939 – The 1939 royal tour of Canada by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth was undertaken in the build-up to World War II as a way to emphasize the independence of the Dominion from Britain. The royal tour lasted from May 17 to June 15, covering every Canadian province, the Dominion of Newfoundland, and a few days in the United States. There had been previous royal tours in Canada, but this was unprecedented in its scope. The tour was an enormous event, attracting huge crowds at each new city.
The king and queen arrived by ship in Quebec City and travelled west by rail, accompanied throughout their journey by Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King. The party visited most of the major cities, finally arriving in Vancouver. Then they travelled through the United States. The tour ended with a visit to the Maritimes and Newfoundland, departing from Halifax.
It was one of the first visits of a reigning monarch to Canada, and also the first time a British monarch had set foot in the United States. This tour marked the first time that the sovereign’s official Canadian birthday was marked with the monarch himself present in the country; the occasion was marked on Parliament Hill with a celebration and a Trooping of the Colour.
Factoid: The cornerstone of the Supreme Court of Canada
building bears the wrong date. Queen Elizabeth laid
the cornerstone of the new building in the presence
of her husband, King George VI, on May 20, 1939.
The ceremony had been planned for May 19, 1939,
but was postponed when the royal couple were
delayed at sea.
Here is the Queen’s dedication as it was given and broadcast on May 20, 1939.