1939 royal visit to Burnaby documented in archive video

Archive video of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visiting Burnaby in 1939 has emerged on YouTube.

Footage shows crowds gathering on otherwise quiet Kingsway as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth drive past

Archive video of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visiting Burnaby in 1939 has emerged on YouTube.

The old reel begins by showing preparations for the visit, as children set out chairs and crowds gather along an otherwise quiet Kingsway. Local man Andy Digney can be seen pacing the gardens at the Royal Oak Theatre.

Eventually, the motorcade begins and the royal couple drive past in a McLaughlin model 45 Extra Special series, the King saluting the crowds, as the Queen smiles and waves.

According to the City of Burnaby, the footage, titled Royal Visit, was originally shot by Andy Digney on 16mm film and was one of many silent films donated to the City of Burnaby Archives by the Digney family.

It was posted on YouTube — with music added — last week, by Victoria history buff Bernard von Schulmann, on his BC History channel, where he regularly shares archive footage.

"I studied B.C. history at university," von Schulmann told the CBC. "What I was finding is that there were many interesting bits of old film footage out there but no one was seeing it because it was not easy to find.

"I created the YouTube channel as a way to bring everything together. I honestly feel that in B.C. people tend not to know our history well."

'I lost my heart to Canada'

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth spent a month travelling across Canada in May and June 1939. The trip was considered a huge success; they visited every Canadian province, as well as some parts of the U.S.

Some 40 years later as the Queen Mother, Elizabeth visited Toronto and Saskatchewan again and recalled her first tour there fondly.

"It is now some 46 years since I first came to this country with the King, in those anxious days shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War.

"I shall always look back upon that visit with feelings of affection and happiness. I think I lost my heart to Canada and Canadians, and my feelings have not changed with the passage of time."


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