Top 6 royal moments in Toronto

A collection of some of the most memorable highlights of the royal family's visits to Canada's largest city.
Prince Charles indulges in a game of ping-pong at the Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club in Toronto during a 1996 visit. This particular moment did not make the cut for our royal Toronto highlight list, though. (Moe Doiron/Canadian Press)

Prince Charles, the next in line to the throne, and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, are making a short day-long stop in Toronto today during their Canadian tour to mark Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.

While it's only Camilla's second visit to Canada since marrying Prince Charles, members of the royal family have made  several visits to Toronto over the years. Here's a collection of five memorable highlights from those trips.

  • The ladies' man (Apr. 5, 1979): Prince Charles was billed as a ladies' man by the Toronto Star after being mobbed by a convention of secretaries at the Royal York hotel. The prince, who was on his way to a Royal Regiment of Canada reception, "cut a dashing and romantic figure in a scarlet tunic, a scarlet stripe down his tight-fitting trousers, decked out in gold braid, spurs and white gloves." Charles took an unplanned break to chat with the (mostly female) crowd. One woman, 25-year-old Millie Petroskie from Killaloe, Ont., took it upon herself to grab the prince's hand and kiss it. "I just think he's so handsome, my heart skipped when he got close. I'll never forget this," Petroskie told the Star. This wasn't the first time on his tour the prince was kissed — another woman in Victoria, B.C., planted one on his cheek.


  • A losing wager at the Queen's Plate (July 9, 1989): The much-beloved Queen Mother made her last ever visit to Canada this year. The royal matriarch, an unabashed lover of horses, seemed especially in her element presenting the winner's trophy at the 130th Queen's Plate held at Woodbine race track in Toronto. Eighty eight years old at the time, she even made a wager on the race, but ultimately picked the wrong horse as With Approval beat out Most Valiant in the stretch run.
    Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales with their sons Prince William (left) and Prince Harry bid goodbye to a cheering Toronto crowd from aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia on Oct. 27, 1991. (Hans Deryk/Canadian Press)


  • A marriage under stress (Oct. 1991): Torontonians catch their first in-person glimpses of Prince Harry and Prince William. As this CBC piece notes, questions were also being asked at the time about the health of the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. This would be the last trip the two would take to Canada together. The couple separated a year later and divorced in 1996.


  • A little prince gets publicly upbraided (Oct. 27, 1991): Prince William is publicly scolded by his mother on this trip for behaving like a child, reported The Canadian Press on Oct. 28. Diana, then Princess of Wales, spoke sharply to her nine-year-old son after he disregarded her instruction to stop waving during a formal farewell salute to crowds of Torontonians before the HMY Britannia sailed to Kingston, Ont. "The prince's demeanor shifted abruptly from youthful glee as he glared at his mother," according to the report.


  • The Queen's Jubilee (Oct. 2002): The Queen marked her Golden Jubilee with a Canadian tour. Before she was set to arrive in Toronto, former Ontario Lieutenant Governor James Bartleman tells the Globe and Mail in an Oct. 10 interview that he hopes to tell her about a family connection. Bartleman, a member of the Chippewas of Mnjikaning First Nation, says his grandfather William was a grocer at the site of Balmoral Castle in Scotland. William would deliver groceries to the royal family on his bicycle, and had memories of seeing Queen Victoria. "Throughout Canadian and pre-Canadian history, the Crown to a great extent protected native people against the settler, though they may have had altruistic purposes," he said.


  • Camilla's first visit (Nov. 2009): Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, visits Canada for the first time as the wife of Prince Charles. The couple visited Dundurn Castle, built in 1835 by Camilla's great-great-great grandfather — and prime minister of what was then the province of Upper Canada — Sir Allan Napier McNab. The royal couple also opened Toronto's annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.