Rare footage released of 1939 royal visit to Winnipeg

Never-before-seen film footage of 1939 royal visit to Winnipeg by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth has been released by the University of Manitoba.
Winnipeggers line the streets waiting for the Royal motorcade in 1939. (University of Manitoba)

Never-before-seen film footage of 1939 royal visit to Winnipeg by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth has been released by the University of Manitoba.

The footage was taken on May 24, 1939, nearly 75 years to the day that their grandson, Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, will arrive in the city.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Winnipeg as part of a royal tour that took them across the country by train. They were greeted in Winnipeg by an estimated 100,000 people and while staying overnight at Government House in Winnipeg, the King made his longest-ever radio broadcast to the British Empire.

Government House, located on the grounds of the Manitoba legislative building, is where Prince Charles and Camilla will stay as well.

It is in honour of their visit that the U of M has put the historical 1939 footage online.

The film was found among several items given to the U of M's archives and special collections library department in 2013. It was from the estate of R.A. Storch, a U of M alumnus (1927) who died in 1988.

The collection included more than 250 historical photographs of Winnipeg and a handful of colour and black-and-white 16mm films.

“This film had been long forgotten in a warehouse and it is sheer serendipity to have it surface just in time for the visit of Charles and Camilla,” said U of M archivist Shelley Sweeney.

Storch was a teacher and vice principal at Winnipeg schools including Cecil Rhodes, Earl Grey, King Edward and St. John’s.

It is believed some of the children in the films are his students. The footage features the throngs of people, including children in school groups, preparing for the Queen and King to drive past.


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