Scouts help welcome the Queen to Ontario
The Festival Of Ontario was a special celebration commemorating Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee, as well as her visit to Canada. Ten members from 10th, 13th and 6th Burlington, as well as the 2nd Strathcona scout troop and 1st Port Nelson Venturers got to attend this exclusive event on behalf of Scouts Canada. There were about 50 scouts present in total so Burlington's 10 attendees represented the city well. Here is 10th Burlington's Kevin D.'s insider look at the event.
The first two hours of our afternoon were spent taking attendance and getting our ID cards.
We were then assigned different jobs ranging from security on certain access points to handing out pamphlets and flags to honoured guests and dignitaries.
As a group, we all organized a rotation system, deciding who was going to do what, when they were going to do it, and where they would be. After all, we were there as volunteers, not guests.
We got to look around at all the different exhibits on our break periods. Exhibits ranged from 50 Years Of Royalty -- an exhibit all about Her Majesty's reign over the commonwealth during the past 50 years, to the Funzone -- a place for children and adults alike to kick back, play some basketball, table tennis, mini-bowling, hockey, football and other sports enjoyed throughout our province.
They even had an indoor Ferris wheel!
In the heritage section of the exhibits, people from all over the province came and had displays about their culture. They talked about all kinds of neat stuff like: popular tourist attractions, everyday meals, cultural traditions, and much more. There were a few exhibits that even had large choirs, dance groups, drummers, flutists, bagpipers and other interesting components to make the experience much more colourful and authentic.
Before the Queen arrived, all of the people near the edge of the red carpet got a little surprise when Mr. Colin Mochrie (Whose Line Is It Anyway, This Hour Has 22 Minutes) arrived and much to our delight, accepted our requests for autographs and pictures.
But this is the real reason why we came.
At about 6:05 PM, her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II walked into the building, greeted by Scouts, Air Cadets, Pathfinders, Girl Guides, and an uproarious applause from the crowd of about 5,000.
She walked down the red carpet waving, accepting flowers and even letting people shake her hand -- something that she doesn't always do. Since we had the front row, the Queen and The Prince were about five feet away from us!
Accompanying the Queen was the Duke Of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip.
He stopped to shake hands with many of the Scouts and he even spoke with Burlington Area Commissioner Scouter Bill Kowalchyk. During his conversation he asked Scouter Bill about our troops, how many of us were there and where we were from.
Her Majesty and Prince Phillip walked around the building on the red carpet. Obviously they were the centre of attention: camera flashes lighting up the room, small children giving roses to the Queen and all of the exhibitors trying to impress them.
We had dinner while we continued to walk around looking at the vast array of exhibits, and before we knew it, we were heading back to the red carpet to wave farewell to the Queen. The Premier spoke to Queen Elizabeth II and informed her that a new provincial park in Ontario has been dedicated in her name.
He showed a short video with excerpts of Her Majesty's past visits to Ontario up to her golden jubilee. After the video, there was rousing applause from the audience and Queen Elizabeth II was speechless.
At about 7:25 PM, the Queen and The Prince walked down the red carpet towards the exit, once again surrounded by camera flashes, but this time choirs were singing a song about Ontario, which everyone seemed to enjoy and sing along to.
That concluded our magnificent day in Toronto and all of us could now say that we were in the same room as the Queen.
The Hamilton Spectator, reproduced with permission
All other contents, Copyright © 2002 Scouts Canada, 6th, 10th & 15th Burlington and 2nd Strathcona Scouting Groups
Select graphics courtesy of the Web Diner
Photo Credits: 1 - Scouter Graham Gardem; 3 - Scouter Fran Ridgeway; 2,4,5 - Courtesy Scout Kevin D., Polar Bear Patrol
Page last revised Monday September 10, 2012.