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The 1939 King’s Plate is granted a royal audience

The Story

The 1939 King's Plate horse race is a thrilling affair, and only partly because of the astonishing speed of the winner. For the first time in the history of this marquee race, the 80th King's Plate is graced by its royal namesake. King George VI and his beautiful Queen Elizabeth are on hand as they complete the Canadian leg of their North American tour. As we hear in this clip, the crowd of 50,000 are every bit as enthralled by the couple's glamorous presence as they are by the sensational Archworth. The champion horse makes it "a runaway affair", winning by an amazing 10 lengths.

Medium: Radio
Program: CBC Radio Special: Royal Tour
Broadcast Date: May 22, 1939
Commentator: Tommy Munns, Foster Dryden , Bud Walker
Duration: 36:32
Photo: Archworth, with jockey S.D. Birley, 1939. Photo by Turofsky.

Did You know?

• The first running of the Queen's Plate, under Queen Victoria, was at Carleton Race Track in Toronto on June 27, 1860.  The race took place at various tracks around the province until 1883, when Queen Victoria approved Toronto as the permanent location.


• The owner of Archworth was George McCullagh, publisher of the Globe and Mail from 1936 until his death in 1952.  He was a young businessman when he purchased the Globe and then the Mail and Empire in 1936 and consolidated the two papers. 


• The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star both estimated attendance at the 1939 race was 50,000, and the number of people who turned out to see the royal couple throughout the day in Toronto was between 1.5 and 2 million.



Their Majesties in Canada: The 1939 Royal Tour more