Charles and Camilla's tour of Toronto draws excited crowds
A whirlwind tour of Toronto has come to an end for Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, as the royal couple wrapped up a two-day visit to the city on Tuesday evening.
The royal couple's four-day tour of Canada began Sunday in Fredericton as part of Diamond Jubilee celebrations marking the 60th year of Queen Elizabeth's reign.
Charles and Camilla arrived in Toronto on Victoria Day, after landing in New Brunswick the day before. The royal couple are now flying to Regina for the next leg of their tour.
The first event of their final day in Toronto was the presentation of Diamond Jubilee medals to six Ontarians.
The event, held at the Ontario legislature, was attended by dozens of dignitaries — as well as hundreds of royal watchers who gathered on the grounds of Queen's Park to catch a glimpse of the royals.
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Inside, Ontario Lt.-Gov. David Onley reminded Charles and Camilla that they were in the legislature on the anniversary of the 1939 visit by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. At that time the king and queen met the world-famous Dionne quintuplets.
"We celebrate a monarchy that has deep roots in Canadian history," said Onley.
During the ceremony Prince Charles presented the Jubilee medal to six Ontarians who have each given "distinguished service to the Crown in Ontario," Onley said.
Well-wishers shouted Camilla's name at the legislature, trying to catch her eye as she and Prince Charles walked among them.
They handed her bouquet after bouquet and pointed her out to their children — mostly young girls, many of them waving miniature Diamond Jubilee flags.
Enthusiastic admirers dogged the duchess throughout the morning, and she lingered to chat with them, paying particular attention to infants and children.
Charles, meanwhile, seemed content to let his wife take centre stage, though he received a few flowers of his own.
From Queen's Park the royal couple went their separate ways: Charles to Ryerson University where he met students in the school's digital media zone and then to see the development of the athlete's village for the 2015 Pan Am Games.
While visiting the digital media zone, the prince was shown new technologies that students had developed, including a robot that bowed and said: "Welcome, Your Highness."
‘Huge pleasure’ to meet soldiers
The duchess went to the Moss Park Armoury where she met members of the Queen's Own Rifles. Camilla is the colonel-in-chief of the regiment.
In a short speech, the duchess said she had been looking forward to this moment since being appointed in 2010.
"It has been a huge pleasure for me to meet so many serving soldiers, their families and many veterans here today. And it’s quite clear that your desire to serve Canada and uphold the standards of the Queen’s Own Rifles, is second to none," she said.
After their separate engagements, Charles and Camilla attended a reception in Toronto’s Distillery District hosted by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty in the early afternoon.
"Your visits represent an occasion to reflect on the ties of culture and history that bind us together. But they are more than that, much more," McGuinty said.
"They are, for us, an opportunity to be inspired by the nobility of your public service."
But the reception was just another brief stop on the royals’ packed schedule.
Charles next headed to the Yonge Street Mission, where he talked about the work of his Prince's Trust.
The prince also took a ride on a Toronto Transit Commission bus, travelling from the Yonge Street Mission to a location on Parliament Street where he was attending another event.
The driver of that bus, Kathy Furtado, told CBC Radio’s Here and Now that the prince thanked her for the "splendid ride" when it was over.
"I said it was quite a pleasure to drive him," Furtado said.
The prince also met with representatives of the Assembly of First Nations at the Royal York Hotel in the mid-afternoon.
On Tuesday evening, the royal couple visited Fort York Armoury for an inspection of the guard of honour and an 1812 commemorative military muster.
With files from The Canadian Press