World·Royal Fascinator

Plant a tree? Bake a pudding? Platinum Jubilee sparks range of ways to mark Elizabeth's 70 years as Queen

Plans to mark Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee and 70 years as monarch reach their height in London, England, in a few days. In Canada, recognition of the Jubilee is more low-key.

Trooping the Colour procession, church service, street pageant part of celebrations in U.K.

Queen Elizabeth, shown here Monday at the Chelsea Flower Show in London, England, marks her Platinum Jubilee and 70 years as monarch this year. (James Whatling/AFP/Getty Images)

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The trees some Calgary cadets will plant outside the Colonel Belcher veterans care hospital later this year will add some welcome greenery.

As they grow, they will also commemorate Queen Elizabeth and her 70 years as monarch.

Members of the 604 (Moose) Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron will plant 15 to 20 trees — possibly elm — as part of efforts to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and the Queen's Green Canopy project.

"We want to be good stewards of our environment. We want to be good stewards of Canada," Rob Bauhuis, the squadron's sponsoring committee adviser, said in an interview.

"First of all, it leaves a legacy of the Queen, and the project that the cadets have undertaken … [is] going to last a lifetime."

Plans to mark the Queen's Jubilee reach their height in London, England, in a few days, during an extended, four-day long weekend, with the Trooping the Colour procession, a church service of thanksgiving, a concert and a street pageant, along with 1,800 public events and 2,000 street parties.

People walk past a screen in Piccadilly Circus in London on Friday as it displays a countdown to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee long weekend. (Alberto Pezzali/The Associated Press)

In Canada, the recognition of the Jubilee is more low-key, ranging from public commemorations — gardens, for example — to community and personal get-togethers.

The 604 (Moose) Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron Sponsoring Association is receiving a $5,000 grant from the federal government for the tree planting as part of funding to support community projects to mark the Jubilee across the country.

The government announced last week that it is providing $2.14 million for 360 community projects and three national projects. More than 550 applications totalling more than $3 million were made for funding. 

The approved projects are an eclectic mix — everything from the trees the Calgary cadets and others elsewhere will plant, to a geocaching walk in Cache Creek B.C., as well as a bilingual children's summer reading program in St-Pierre-Jolys, Man., concerts and artistic performances, exhibitions, educational programs, military parades, garden parties and teas.

Even so, the federal government's plans to mark the Jubilee have been criticized by some as "embarrassing" and "lacklustre." 

Along with a stamp from Canada Post and a commemorative coin set from the Royal Canadian Mint, there will be an exhibit at the Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa. Banners will be hung in the National Capital Region.

A cardboard cutout image of Queen Elizabeth II stands next to souvenir items inside the Cool Britannia store near Buckingham Palace in London on Thursday. (Matt Dunham/The Associated Press)

The focus on the Jubilee comes amid renewed debate — spurred by the recent visit from Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall — about the role and relevance of the monarchy in Canada, along with opposition to tax dollars being expended on it at all.

Laura Scaffidi, press secretary for Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, said via email Friday that Canada "is proud to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee this year," and that the community-led projects and initiatives approved for funding will give Canadians the opportunity "to celebrate this historic anniversary and reflect on the meaning of public service in today's society."

"Canada is the only country apart from the U.K. to create our own emblem. We have already distributed thousands of pins with this emblem, and Canadians from coast to coast to coast can participate this year, no matter where they live."

Jubilees historically have been occasions for local and national celebrations, along with new initiatives in honour of the occasion, says Toronto-based author and royal historian Carolyn Harris.

When Queen Victoria marked her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, the National Council of Women in Canada passed a resolution asking Lady Aberdeen, the viceregal consort, to found the Victorian Order of Nurses to mark the occasion, Harris said via email.

A Silver Jubilee endowment fund set up at the time Elizabeth marked 25 years as monarch in 1977 provides grants for university students to study in a second official language.

Queen Elizabeth smiles as a spectator takes a photograph of her on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Oct. 16, 1977. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

Harris says this time around, the provinces "are playing a leading role in shaping Canadian celebrations," with some provincial governments offering Jubilee medals, and lieutenant governors hosting garden parties and opening Jubilee gardens.

And then there are the unique events, Harris added, noting among others a corgi parade in Ottawa (the Queen has had numerous corgis throughout her life).

Lois the corgi gets her tiara adjusted during a corgi parade in celebration of Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee in Ottawa on May 22, 2022. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Some Canadians have already started Jubilee activities.

Barbara Phinney and other members of a study group at Church by the Lake in Sackville, N.B., marked the occasion this week as they wound down their sessions for the summer.

Phinney said she thinks it's important to recognize "all the years" Elizabeth "has dedicated to serving as Queen."

"It was a role she wasn't born into, and it has been difficult at times, but she has borne it with grace and fortitude."

In the case of Phinney and her study companions, efforts to mark the Jubilee involved food and an attempt to recreate the recipe for a pudding that won a Jubilee competition in the U.K. Phinney took to TikTok to show her result.

"Diets are forgotten today," she said via email. "It's not often that the Queen celebrates a Platinum Jubilee."

Bauhuis said senior cadets helped choose the Jubilee project they pursued, and were particularly interested in planting trees, and getting back into the community after the pandemic limited such activities.

Prince Charles, left, and Queen Elizabeth plant a tree to mark the start of the official planting season for the Queen's Green Canopy project on the Balmoral estate in Scotland on Oct. 1, 2021. (Andrew Milligan/AFP/Getty Images)

"This is one of the projects the kids have sunk their teeth into over the course of this past year," he said. 

These are "experiences that the cadets are going to look backwards on and say: 'Man, wasn't that a good time in cadets and didn't we do things of significance?'" Bauhuis said. "They may not recognize it now, but they will and it will be a good thing for them."

Jubilee coverage on CBC

CBC News Special: The Queen's Jubilee, Trooping the Colour

  • June 2

  • 5 a.m - 8:30 a.m. ET

  • CBC-TV, CBC News Network and CBC Gem

CBC News Special: The Queen's Jubilee, A Service of Thanksgiving

  • June 3

  • 5:30 a.m. - 9 a.m. ET

  • CBC-TV, CBC News Network and CBC Gem

CBC News Network coverage continues on the weekend with Heather Hiscox from London, including the Platinum Party at the Palace on June 4 and the Platinum Jubilee Pageant on June 5

Adrienne Arsenault will co-host The National from the U.K. on June 1, 2, 3 and 5. Hiscox is also hosting CBC News Network live from London on June 1, 2 and 3.

A CBC documentary, The Queen and Canada, will air on June 4 at 8 p.m. on CBC News Network and stream on CBC Gem beginning on June 3. 

A girl gives Queen Elizabeth some flowers as she walks by well-wishers after she visited the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa on June 30, 2010. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

On the Jubilee and other royal concerns

Fascinator readers have a variety of plans for marking the Jubilee, and a variety of comments on other royal concerns of late. Here are a few:

Peggy says June 2, 1953, was her first birthday "and my Mum decorated my cake with crowns and cherries. The local paper came and took my picture! I will be celebrating my 70th birthday on June 2 and will watch the Queen's celebrations. She is such a lovely lady and I have so much respect for her."

Janet says she has "a life-size decal of the Queen waving from the back window of my car.  She has come along uncomplainingly for a few years now, even north to those bumpy gravel roads that took my women friends and me to the start of canoe trips on the French River and in Killarney [in Ontario]. I will probably be driving Her Majesty around town on the Jubilee weekend, with a Union Jack blowing out the window."

Lorraine says she sincerely wishes, "with all my heart, that Queen Elizabeth will apologize to all Canadians for the terrible wrongs endured by … Indigenous peoples. Hopefully Prince Charles will bring the necessity of doing so home to the Queen."

Another way to get around

Queen Elizabeth is given a tour by Keith Weed, president of the Royal Horticultural Society, during a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show Monday in London. (Paul Grover/Getty Images)

Ahead of next week's Platinum Jubilee events, there has been anticipation and interest in just how many gatherings Queen Elizabeth will attend.

Ongoing health and mobility issues have limited the 96-year-old's public appearances outside her residences since last fall.

Earlier this week, she adopted a different way of getting around: a motorized buggy to tour gardens and exhibits at the Chelsea Flower Show, an annual event she's attended many times throughout her reign.

As has become something of a pattern for such engagements, confirmation that the Queen would attend came only a short time before she arrived at the London venue.

"Adjustments have been made for the Queen's comfort," a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said.

It's not, however, the first time she's used such a mode of transport. 

She was seen using a buggy in 2013 at an event in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, and two years earlier during a visit to Australia, the BBC reported.

Royally quotable

"It's amazing, really, in the world we live in that still talking openly and movingly about cancer is not as common as it should be. So many people are affected by cancer." 

— Prince William, during a visit to a hospital in west London, where he observed robotic surgery on a cancer patient.

Prince William, left, looks at a screen to follow a robotic microwave ablation procedure as he visits the Royal Marsden hospital in London on Tuesday to learn about some of the work it is carrying out to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment. (Frank Augstein/The Associated Press)

Royal reads

  1. A new rose named after one of the U.K.'s first black gardeners was planted in the garden at Buckingham Palace this week. [The Guardian, Daily Mail]

  2. Prince Charles travelled to Romania and met with refugees from Ukraine. [BBC]

  3. Queen Margrethe of Denmark says Queen Elizabeth has made an "enormous impression" on her. [ITV]

  4. In the eyes of Tina Brown, the past few years have been a "dumpster fire" for the House of Windsor. But the author and longtime royal chronicler thinks the monarchy will likely survive in the 21st century — even if the institution may lose some of the sheen it has had in the eyes of the world. [CBC]

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Janet Davison is a CBC senior writer and editor based in Toronto.

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