BC Premier and Lieutenant Governor attend church service in Victoria honoring Queen Elizabeth

British Columbians paid their respects to Queen Elizabeth II in Victoria with a ceremonial procession and memorial service on Monday morning.

The procession, which started at the Parliament Buildings of the Legislative Assembly, was led by a Royal Canadian Navy band and a 100-member honor guard. He followed a route through downtown Victoria to Christ Church Cathedral, where a memorial service is being held.

LOOK | Prime Minister John Horgan recalls Queen Elizabeth’s praise for British Columbia during the late monarch’s visit in 1983:

John Horgan delivers Queen Elizabeth’s eulogy in Victoria

Premier John Horgan remembers Queen Elizabeth’s praise for British Columbia during the late monarch’s visit to the province in 2002.

Dignitaries including BC Premier John Horgan and Lieutenant Governor. Janet Austin, joined the procession and attended the church service.,

The service is led by the Reverend Ansley Tucker and will be broadcast live, as public seating inside the cathedral will be limited.

A ceremonial procession for Queen Elizabeth II takes place in downtown Victoria, British Columbia, Monday, September 19, 2022. (Ben Nelms/CBC)
Crowds watch a ceremonial procession for Queen Elizabeth II held in downtown Victoria, British Columbia, Monday, September 19, 2022. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Both Austin and Horgan delivered eulogies in memory of the monarch during the service.

“She dutifully served for seven decades, always with dignity, grace and unwavering devotion to her people,” Austin said.

“Her Majesty’s constant presence has touched many generations of Canadian families who have seen her grow up, from the teenage princess trained as a mechanic during the Second World War to the young queen who charmed crowds on her many tours through the country.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan joined the ceremonial motorcade as it made its way through downtown Victoria on Monday morning. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Horgan noted that most British Columbians had known no monarch other than Queen Elizabeth II. “For over 70 years, Her Majesty has lived by one simple vow: I serve.”

A 21-gun salute paid tribute to the late monarch. (Benoit Ferradini/CBC News)

The Premier recalled anecdotes from the Queen’s seven visits to the province, including during her Royal Jubilee when she dropped the puck before a Canucks game at Rogers Arena.

“If there was ever a time when the Queen captured our hearts it would be that day, definitely mine,” he said.

Young royal fans watch the motorcade on Monday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The 1.4 kilometer procession began with a 21-gun salute, as the honor guard carried their rifles upside down in mourning.

A ceremonial procession for Queen Elizabeth II takes place in downtown Victoria, British Columbia, Monday, September 19, 2022. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Former Canadian Armed Forces veteran Len Drew attended Monday’s commemoration in Victoria. The retired major was just 20 when he met the Queen during her visit to Charlottetown in 1964.

“It was a great honor to meet a commander-in-chief,” said Drew, who was then in charge of logistics and transportation.

Retired Canadian Armed Forces Major Len Drew once danced with the Queen at a State Ball in Charlottetown in 1964. (Rohit Joseph/CBC News)

Drew says he then rushed to the State Ball, which was to conclude the royal visit, and as he descended the stairs the mayor shouted, “Drew, dance with the Queen!”

“I looked, and there the queen was standing by herself.”

Thus, the young major danced with the monarch until her husband, Prince Phillip, came to replace him.

A riderless horse, symbolizing a fallen comrade and representing the Queen’s love for horses, was also part of the procession.

British Columbia Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin wipes away a tear during the procession through downtown Victoria. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Today is a day of mourning in British Columbia, with schools and most Crown corporations closed, but it is not a statutory holiday and most private businesses are open as usual.

Across British Columbia and across the country, Canadians are hosting a variety of events to honor the monarch and her 70-year reign.

Martha J. Finley