Toronto lowers flags, CN Tower dims as city mourns Queen Elizabeth's death

Politicians and public figures across Toronto are mourning the loss of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday.

Queen was a 'beacon of eloquence, stability and commitment to duty,' says Toronto mayor

A look back at Queen Elizabeth’s visits to Toronto

3 months ago
Duration 3:11
Queen Elizabeth II visited Toronto eight times between 1951 and 2010. CBC Toronto News at 6 host Dwight Drummond takes a look back at those visits.

Flags are lowered and Toronto's CN Tower dimmed as politicians and public figures across the city mourn the loss of Queen Elizabeth II.

Buckingham Palace announced the Queen's death at 1:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon, saying she died peacefully at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. She was 96.

The Monarch, who marked seven decades on the throne earlier this summer, made seven visits to Toronto between 1957 and 2010 as Queen. Before that, her first visit to Toronto was in 1951 as Princess Elizabeth, when she came in place of her father King George VI, who was ill at the time. 

Toronto Mayor John Tory said the Queen was a "beacon of eloquence, stability and commitment to duty." 

Tory said during her time spent in the city and in Canada, many people including him had the opportunity to meet her and "witness her quick wit, grace and wonderful smile.

"So many of us have known no other Queen. She was the one constant and reassuring presence in our own country and on the world stage — over so many decades," Tory said.

"Across Toronto, our thoughts are with the King and all the members of the Royal Family at this sad time."

A smiling Queen Elizabeth waves to a happy crowd of onlookers at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in Toronto on June 26, 1973. While at the CNE, the Queen and Prince Philip were entertained by various dance troupes and choirs. (The Canadian Press)

In a statement issued after the Queen's death was announced Thursday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he joins everyone across the province, country and the world in commemorating her remarkable life.

"Throughout her historic reign, she taught us the true meaning of selfless service and was respected and admired for her sense of duty and commitment to charity," the statement reads.

"On behalf of all Ontarians, I am sending our thoughts and prayers to the entire Royal Family, the people of the United Kingdom and to Her Majesty's many admirers all over the world."

Ford also expressed condolences to King Charles III on the death of his mother, while also congratulating him on his ascension to the throne.

"[I] wish him great success in continuing his mother's legacy," Ford wrote.

Municipalities across Ontario, including Mississauga, Brampton, Newmarket, Markham and Aurora, have lowered their flags to half-mast.

Flags will also be lowered at Toronto city hall and the Ontario Legislature. The CN Tower and the Toronto sign will be dimmed Thursday evening.

Musical artist Elton John paid tribute to the Queen at his final Toronto show, calling her an "inspiring" presence in his life. 

  • Do you have memories of Queen Elizabeth coming to Toronto? Send us an email and a CBC News producer or reporter may get in touch.

In a written statement, King Charles III, the queen's eldest son, said it is a moment of "the greatest sadness" for the Royal Family and those who supported the queen for decades.

"I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world," he said. 

Ontario's legislature is set to pay tribute to the Queen on Wednesday. Government House Leader Paul Calandra moved for the adjournment of the house until then.

"It is my sad duty to inform the house that Her Majesty the Queen has died. Long live the King," he said, his voice breaking with emotion.

The thoughts and prayers of all Canadians are with the Royal Family, he said.

For Jonathan Brickwood, co-chair of the GTA branch of the non-profit organization the Monarchist League of Canada, the news of the Queen's death was in one way a blessing.

"We have known that she has been in declining health for quite a while now," Brickwood told CBC Toronto.

"She died peacefully, as the announcement said, and I think that is how we all want to pass."

Brickwood says he saw the Queen and waved at her when she was in Canada in the early 2000s. He called the experience a "wonderful occasion."

He says her death felt similar to losing his grandma. Despite the loss, he says the future of the Royal Family will still be strong.

"I think that she has left a very strong foundation for the now King Charles, and the future King William, and all subsequent generations after that," said Brickwood.

Canadians are now able to share messages of sympathy for the Royal Family in an online book of condolences, which can be found on the federal government's website.

Here's a look at some of the visits Queen Elizabeth made to this city:

Queen Elizabeth II, then Princess Elizabeth, arrives at Toronto's City Hall on October 12, 1951. (City of Toronto Archives)

During her visit in 1951 as princess, excited crowds greeted her and Prince Philip, according to the City of Toronto archives.

The Queen's first visit to the city as head of state was in 1959 during a tour of Canada.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip wave to onlookers on Bay Street in June 1959. (City of Toronto Archives)

She and Prince Philip attended the 100th running of the Queen's Plate at Woodbine racetrack and visited Old City Hall.

The Queen returned to Toronto in 1973, 1984, 1997, 2002 and 2010.

Queen Elizabeth II receives flowers from Madison Goodliffe, 5, right, at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont., on October 10, 2002. (Aaron Harris/The Canadian Press)

Tory said the city had a "long and warm" relationship with the Monarch.

Over the years, the Queen granted royal patronage to many city-based organizations, including the Toronto French School, the Canadian National Exhibition Association and the Queen's Plate.

Queen Elizabeth II and Former prime minister Stephen Harper chat after the Queen unveiled a hockey display in her honour at a state dinner in Toronto on July 5, 2010. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

"The Queen will be profoundly missed," Tory said. 

"We will be reminded of her through landmarks around our city, including the Queen Elizabeth II Building and Queen Elizabeth Theatre at Exhibition Place, rose gardens named in her honour at Queen's Park and Grange Park and the Diamond Jubilee Promenade."

WATCH | A collection of highlights from the Queen's visits to Canada from 1957 to 2010:

The Queen in Canada 1977-2010

3 years ago
Duration 2:57
Highlights from the Queen's official visits to Canada from 1977 to 2010.
Queen Elizabeth II wears 3D glasses as she watches a movie clip at Pinewood Toronto Studios in Toronto on July 5, 2010. (Adrien Veczan/The Canadian Press)
Queen Elizabeth II walks past the Canadian armed guard during her closing departure at Queen's Park in Toronto on July 6, 2010. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
Queen Elizabeth II receives flowers from people while taking part in her closing departure at Queen's Park in Toronto on July 6, 2010. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)
Queen Elizabeth is saluted by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer before boarding her plane to New York at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on July 6, 2010. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip wave goodbye as they board their plane to New York at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on July 6, 2010. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

With files from The Canadian Press


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