“Not the Symbol, but the Living Presence…”

CVA 95-6 - [King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at reception outside City Hall] 1939 Ken Pattison photo,

CVA 95-6 – [King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at reception outside City Hall] 1939 Ken Pattison photo. (This Queen Elizabeth had no numeral attached to her title – she was neither I nor II, but ultimately became known as the “Queen Mother” , upon the coronation of her daughter, QE II, following the death of King George VI in 1952. The person standing directly behind the couple is Vancouver Mayor, Dr. Lyle Telford. City Hall was behind the photographer, the camera facing northwards. The sculpture of Captain Vancouver – a creation of local sculptor Charles Marega – remains at City Hall.)

These images marked the first visit to Vancouver by a reigning Canadian monarch just a few months before the declaration of war with Germany by both Canada and Britain.

There is an episode of CBC Radio’s Rewind which is a sort of summary of some of the highlights of the visit. I recommend it. However, I must say that I was disappointed with Rewind’s apparent editorial decision that coverage of the visit by the couple to Calgary would “do” for all other western cities visited by the couple. No coverage of Vancouver, Victoria, nor any BC ‘whistle stop’ was included in this broadcast. Instead, what seemed like nearly half the episode was dedicated to coverage of the couple’s 1939 tour of Washington, D.C. and New York City! A peculiar choice of the Canadian broadcaster.

The title of this post is drawn from the speech of welcome delivered by then-Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King; more of WLMK’s purple prose (at least, to my ears) is included near the start of the Rewind broadcast.

CVA 6-70 - [David Spencer Department Store on Hastings Street decorated for visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth] 1939 W B Shelby photo.

CVA 6-70 – [David Spencer Department Store on Hastings Street decorated for visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth] 1939 Shelby or Dettloff photo.

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