The Queen got a rainy but warm welcome Monday afternoon as she arrived in Halifax, the first stop on her nine-day Canadian tour.
She received a round of applause as she addressed a rain-soaked crowd near the Halifax Citadel.
"I'm delighted to be back amongst you all," the Queen said. "My pride in this country remains undimmed. Thanks very much for your welcome. It is good to be home."
Queen Elizabeth, 84, and Prince Philip, 89, arrived in Halifax at about 2:20 p.m. AT. They carried their own umbrellas as they stepped onto the wet tarmac at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.
The royals were greeted briefly by Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Nova Scotia deputy premier Frank Corbett before heading to the Garrison Grounds, at the foot of the Halifax Citadel, for an official welcome.
A military band played as the Queen, wearing a yellow outfit, beige raincoat and yellow hat and accompanied by Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean, walked toward the receiving line. She was met first by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife, Laureen.
In his welcoming address, Harper noted this is the Queen's 22nd visit to Canada.
"Each of your tours is etched in the minds of Canadians," he said, adding that he remembers her motorcade passing by his childhood home in Ontario.
Harper also said there was no better gift than having the Queen here for the country's birthday.
'This is an event'
Like hundreds of other royal watchers waiting near the citadel, Beth Wilson said the wait was worth it.
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"This is an event," Wilson said. "How often do we get to see the Queen?"
Once the speeches were done, the Queen met some of the Nova Scotians who lined the fences and picked up several bouquets.
"It's an emotional time. Hopefully she'll get back here soon," said Laura Ellis. "She just looks awesome."
The royal couple left the Garrison Grounds to visit the nearby Halifax Common, to take part in a Mi'kmaq cultural event and mark the 400th anniversary of the baptism of Grand Chief Henri Membertou.
The Queen and Prince Philip wrapped up their first day of official duties by rededicating Government House, the official residence of the lieutenant-governor in Halifax. The building, which is the oldest official residence in Canada, was extensively renovated.
The royals will celebrate the Canadian navy's 100th anniversary before leaving on Wednesday.
They will spend Canada Day in Ottawa. They will also visit Winnipeg, Waterloo, Ont., and Toronto during their nine-day tour.