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Canada holds commemorative ceremonies for Queen Elizabeth II

Rowena Papasin | TFC News Vancouver

Posted at Sep 20 2022 07:57 PM | Updated as of Sep 21 2022 05:06 PM

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The Royal Canadian Mounted Police proudly led Queen Elizabeth II's funeral procession as it left Westminster Abbey, a special request from the late monarch as proof of her high regard for Canada and the Canadian Mounties.

Canada is the Queen's most visited country, coming to the nation 22 times during her 70-year reign.

Her first trip to Canada as a queen was in 1957 and her last was in 2010.

But before becoming queen, the young princess had already been to Canada and worshiped at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver in 1951.

Then-Prince Charles and Princess Diana also visited the cathedral in the 80s.

During her reign, Queen Elizabeth II included trips to the various provinces and territories in her visits to Canada, and these provinces honored her by holding their respective commemorative ceremonies in the various locations of the Christ Church Cathedral.

Books of remembrance were laid out in the cathedral in Vancouver for Canadians who want to write their messages on the Queen's passing.

The signed books will be sent to Buckingham Palace.

"People keep coming. They want to express their condolences or to express their memories of the Queen," Christ Church Cathedral Vancouver Communications Director Alicia Ambrosio said. "These books of condolences will end up at Buckingham Palace. It will end up with the Royal Family."

The Queen has touched the hearts of many Canadians, including Filipino Canadians Maryjane Viejo and Cora Cristobal.

Viejo, now a Toronto realtor, had the pleasure of singing in front of Queen Elizabeth II and personally met her during the 1990 Canada Day celebration in Ottawa.

"I was quite honored and it was a lot for an 18-year old daughter of immigrants to be on that stage with all the dignitaries. It's quite a thrill... It was very brief but I curtsied and she was very elegant. She was poised, elegant, everything you would expect from a queen, but the fact that she complimented me on my song was a big thing because she was paying attention. She smiled," Viejo shared.

For her part, Cristobal wrote a letter, asking the Queen to include her first book, 'The Journey to a New You' in the Royal library in London.

The Palace replied to her and sent her a card although her request was denied.

"I sent the letter with a birthday card wishing her 90th birthday and I said I wish you long life, good health and all the best... It's okay for them to turn me down but the fact that they got a letter, with a nice letterhead from ER, which is Elizabeth Regina, meaning the Queen ER, with that logo and it came from the Palace, oh my god," Cristobal said.

Both Viejo and Cristobal expressed grief at the queen’s death.

"I was very sad because somebody like that who's been in our lives for 70 years, I'm not 70 yet, but ever since I was a little girl, she had made several trips to Canada. She represented royalty. She was very regal," Viejo noted.

Meanwhile, Cristobal said, "I think she already lived a good long life. She has served and it's time for her to rest and go back to our Creator."

With the Queen’s death, the future of the monarchy in Commonwealth countries including Canada remains uncertain. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who led the Canadian delegation to London, said that this will be a time for reflection.

Vancouver will hold a memorial service at Christ Church on Sunday, September 25 as a final goodbye to the Queen.