Royal Tour Across Canada in May, 1939
Three months before Germany's invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth arrived by ocean liner, The RMS Empress of Australia, to Canada.
At Windsor Castle, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose remained behind. Both Princess Elizabeth (later crowned Queen Elizabeth II) and Princess Margaret would visit Canada often in their lifetimes.
Perhaps not accompanying their parents at the time was not a bad thing — the traveling Royal suites were perhaps smaller than what would have been comfortable. The decor appears rather cozy in the Queen's living quarters though.
This was the first ever Royal tour across the country, taking place from May 17, 1939 to June 15, 1939 — two years almost to the exact day of King George VI's coronation. The Royal Couple were welcomed here as the King and Queen of Canada. The time for this Royal visit could not have been more opportune for Canadians. They had an opportunity to see King George VI in person. As the Head of State of the British Empire, King George VI would be calling for troops across the world to join forces in the fight against the Nazi regime three month later.
The Tour Begins: Quebec City, Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto
The Royal Train also transported several limousines to carry the Royal Couple to their specific destinations.
Lined up at Camp Borden were these four long, sleek limousines — all four were finished in royal purple.
Western Canada: Vancouver and Victoria
Back East Through Ontario Towns
The train would return eastward through Ontario including Sudbury, Guelph, Kitchener, Windsor, Hamilton, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.
The glory of the raging waters that is Niagara Falls held special significance that day when the Royal Couple visited. As they gazed across to the United States, they would visit that country briefly before returning to Canadian soil.
The End of the Tour: The Maritime Provinces
Success marked this coast to coast tour for the Royal Couple. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth appeared tired yet elated from the reception of so many followers.
More information on this May 1939 Royal Tour Route is available from the Canadian Encyclopedia. More digital images of Royal visits to Canada are available through the Virtual Reference Library.