A rare kiss, a visit underground: Sudbury's memories of Queen Elizabeth II

Sudburians look back on their memories of Queen Elizabeth II who died on Thursday.

'The Queen has been a sign of stability and she will be missed for that,' former Science North director says

Wearing a miner's helmet and a plastic raincoat and holding a flashlight, the Queen leaves the Frood nickel mine at Sudbury, Ont., July 26, 1959. The Queen went down to the mine's 1,000-foot level during her visit to Sudbury. With her in this photo is mine manager E.N. Gaetz. (The Canadian Press)

As Canada prepares for an official mourning period following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, people across northern Ontario are reflecting on the British monarch's legacy.

Queen Elizabeth paid several visits to northern Ontario over the course of her 70-year-long reign. In 1959, she visited the Frood Mine in Sudbury, with her husband Prince Philip. 

Margaret Kosmerly was just a teenager when she stood with a sea of eager Sudburians on Regent Street to catch a glimpse of the Queen following her visit to the Frood Mine where her father worked. 

Queen Elizabeth made many visits to Canada during her 70-year-long reign. In 1959, the royal family paid a visit to Sudbury's Frood Mine. We have some archive audio from that visit. We also heard from a Sudbury woman who was there.

In 1984, the Queen travelled to Sudbury once again, this time to witness the opening of Science North. David Pearson was the director of the facility at the time. 

"Queen Elizabeth was Princess Elizabeth until I was about nine," he said.

One felt that one was in the presence of somebody, somebody who had the stature that was unique.— David Pearson, former director of Science North

Pearson remembers being in the school yard, while at the same time, thousands of kilometres away, Queen Elizabeth became Queen while on a royal tour of Africa, "She's been a fixture for all of my life." 

"I still remember vividly, in fact, I can close my eyes and I can see exactly where I was when I heard the news that she'd become Queen Elizabeth." 

1980s: A rare kiss. It was during a royal tour of Canada that photographers captured a rare public display of affection between the Queen and Prince Philip. While saying goodbye at the airport in Sudbury, Ont., on Oct. 4, 1984, Prince Philip leaned in for a kiss. (Tim Clark/The Canadian Press)

Pearson said having Queen Elizabeth attend the opening of Science North really helped to put it on the map and legitimize it.

"She was gracious and she was smiling. And one felt that one was in the presence of somebody, somebody who had the stature that was unique. I've met lots of senior politicians and so forth, and people who have been elected to their positions but the Queen was totally, totally different," Pearson said.

"The Queen has been a sign of stability and she will be missed for that," he said.

David Pearson was the director of Science North when Queen Elizabeth II attended the facility's launch. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

The Queen, who died Thursday at her Balmoral estate in Scotland, made 22 official visits to Canada after ascending to the throne in 1952.

Her first time in Canada as Queen was in 1957, the last in 2010. During those years, she visited every province and territory.