Queen greeted by thousands of admirers in Winnipeg

Thousands gather on chilly day to welcome Queen to Winnipeg

Queen Elizabeth arrives in Toronto Wednesday after joining with Manitobans to rededicate one of their province's most important symbols.

Winnipeg gave the Queen a warm reception on Tuesday as she arrived in the city for the first time in 18 years.

Fans came by the thousands on a chilly and cloudy afternoon, carrying flags and banners to the Forks, where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet, to see Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

Dressed in a grey coat and hat, the Queen took a walkabout, stopping to accept flowers, gifts and cards from children along the path. Some crossed the security line to approach the Queen and hand her their bouquets.

Several groups of dancers performed as the Queen made her way accompanied by Premier Gary Doer.

A group of seven corgis, the Queen's favourite breed of dog, even showed up and received a royal pat.

The Queen has visited Winnipeg five times since 1951, when she came as a princess. Her most recent visit was in 1984.

A highlight of the short stay occurred when the Queen rededicated the Golden Boy statue that stands atop the Manitoba legislature. The statue, much loved among Manitobans, was restored this year.

The evening also included a performance by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, accompanied by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Loreena McKennitt.

The warm welcome at the Forks was a repeat of the reception Queen Elizabeth has been receiving everywhere she has gone since arriving in Iqaluit last Friday.

On Sunday night, she wowed a crowd of 18,000 hockey fans by dropping the puck at an exhibition NHL game in Vancouver.

The royal couple will stay in the Manitoba capital for less than a day. They continue their 12-day Golden Jubilee tour of Canada by flying on to Toronto on Wednesday.