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1953: Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

On Feb. 6, 1952, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was proclaimed Queen of Canada. Her spectacular coronation in Westminster Abbey the following year was heard by millions on the radio and was the first ever to be televised. When she visited Canada in 1951, 1957, 1959 and 1964, Elizabeth left an indelible mark on Canadians coast to coast.

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In Westminster Abbey, where English kings and queens have been crowned for 900 years, Elizabeth triumphantly receives her crown on June 2, 1953.

The Archbishop of Canterbury administers the Oath, and presents "Queen Elizabeth, your undoubted Queen," meaning by hereditary right. The people respond with shouts of "God Save Queen Elizabeth." The procession of the royal coach through Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace is a spectacle unlike any England has ever seen.

Canadian dignitaries including Prime Minister Louis St-Laurent and Saskatchewan Premier Tommy Douglas are among the invited guests; millions more listen on radio or watch the first televised British coronation.

It is a day of other historic firsts - the CBC and BBC team up to have film of the coronation flown across the Atlantic by jet bomber so that Canadians can watch it the day it happens.
• Elizabeth solemnly promised and swore "to govern the People of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon."

• Other Canadian dignitaries present included Toronto Mayor Allan Lamport, Ontario Premier Leslie Frost, Ontario Lt.-Gov. Louis Breithaupt and Squamish Nation Chief Joe Mathias.

• There were more than 200 microphones in the Abbey and along the procession routes, with 750 commentators broadcasting in 39 languages.

• RAF Canberra jet bombers flew film of the coronation to Canada - the first non-stop flight between England and the Canadian mainland. In Goose Bay, Labrador, the film was transferred to a RCAF CF-100 jet fighter and flown to Montreal. The trip was repeated two more times as the coronation proceeded.

Also on June 2:
1917: Canadian airman Billy Bishop executes a solo attack on a German airfield during the First World War. For his efforts, he is awarded the Victoria Cross for "conspicuous bravery", the first for a Canadian.
1983: While on route to Toronto from Texas, a fire breaks out aboard an Air Canada DC-9, which is forced to make an emergency landing in Cincinnati. Twenty-three people die, including Canadian folk singer Stan Rogers.
1997: The Liberal Party, led by Jean Chrétien, wins their second straight majority government, taking 155 seats in a federal election. The Reform Party, led by Preston Manning, becomes the Official Opposition with 60 seats, all from the West.
Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News
Broadcast Date: June 2, 1953
Duration: 21:37

Last updated: November 3, 2014

Page consulted on January 23, 2015

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