Archive | Moments in History: Radio-Canada and Her Majesty the Queen

Archives | Moments in History: Radio-Canada and Her Majesty the Queen

The most famous monarch on the planet, Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8 2022 at the age of 96.

Queen Elizabeth II had the longest reign in British history.

As a constitutional monarchy, Canada had Elizabeth II as the embodiment of the Crown. for 70 years. Beginning in 1952, his reign also corresponds to the beginnings of Canadian television. Our archives draw a parallel between the career of Elizabeth II and the history of Radio-Canada, which innovated on several occasions to cover the great moments of her reign as well as her visits to the country.

Before Elizabeth II, the first sovereign to set foot in Canada was her father, King George VI.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has no only three years old when he visited the country with the Queen Mother in the spring of 1939.

To report on the event, a team of 11 journalists was assembled, in addition to engineering resources and logistics.

New equipment is used, including this microphone, adorned with a small crown, designed especially for the occasion.

The microphone called Salt Shaker, commissioned by Radio-Canada specifically for outdoor coverage of the visit of King George VI.

As evidenced by this short radio clip from the May 17, 1939 special, the visit of King George VI and the Queen Mother is described in great detail.

The journalists of Radio-Canada are distributed at five strategic points on the route of the royal procession: the ferry terminal of Anse au Foulon, the Plains of Abraham, Avenue Grande Allée, the National Assembly and the Citadel.

“Quebec is jubilant! And all the buildings disappear under enormous decorations where the three colors which are at the same time those of Great Britain, Canada and France come together wonderfully! »

— The journalist stationed at the Citadel of Quebec

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Princess Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, spend a few days in Quebec during their royal visit in 1951.

Princess Elizabeth visits Canada for the first time in 1951, at the invitation of Minister of External Affairs Lester B. Pearson.

Accompanied by Prince Philippe, she arrived in Quebec on October 2 and crossed the country from coast to coast. another during a six-week stay.

In Toronto, a crowd estimated at nearly 500,000 people follows the royal motorcade.

In Montreal, Princess Elisabeth attends the Forum at a Montreal Canadiens hockey game alongside Mayor Camillien Houde. Maurice Richard has two goals!

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Princess Elizabeth attends a match hockey at the Montreal Forum during his royal visit in October 1951.

It was really two years later, during the Queen's coronation, that Radio-Canada made its mark.

On June 2, 1953, Radio-Canada broadcast the Queen's coronation Elizabeth II less than four hours after the end of the ceremony in London.

A major North American first that is a technical and logistical feat.

Radio-Canada must coordinate with the BBC, which is filming the entire event for its live broadcast.

As the ceremony progresses, the film recordings are flown by fighter jet from Britain to Canada. A true joint mission of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force!

Queen Elizabeth II smiling at the crowd as she drives her royal carriage.

The entire ceremony lasts over four hours and airs from 4:15 p.m. in Canada.< /p>

Our archival montage features highlights including the oath, anointing and investiture, the stage at which the crown is placed on the sovereign's head.

Journalist René Lévesque is notably posted in the crowd to follow the royal procession as it leaves Westminster Abbey.

Journalists Gérard Arthur and Judith Jasmin also made the trip to London.

Coverage of the Queen's Speech from the Throne ceremony during the 1967 royal visit. Music has been added to this archival montage which combines comments from TV and radio journalists.

From October 12 to 16, 1957, Elizabeth II made her first visit to Canada as sovereign.

For the first time in history, it was a reigning monarch who opens Parliament.

This honorary presidency thus represents the culmination of this four-day royal visit to Ottawa.

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A Radio-Canada team captures the Queen's visit to parliament in great detail.

On October 14, 1957, the Queen presided over the opening of a session of Parliament under the cameras of Radio-Canada. She delivered the Speech from the Throne in French and English.

On television and radio, Radio-Canada journalists prepare to cover Queen Elisabeth's royal visit II.

On the radio, journalist Lucien Côté described the ceremony as historic, because it was televised in addition to being broadcast by Radio-Canada.

He describes the euphoria aroused by this day of grand pageantry while struggling himself to hide his enthusiasm.

“A queen, in our democracy, is all the same extraordinary! he exclaims in his report on the show La revue de l'actualité before apologizing for falling into the commentary.

Elizabeth II returned to the country in 1959, this time for a long journey of 45 days during which she visited all the provinces.

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Radio-Canada covers the inauguration of the St. Lawrence Seaway in a special highlighting the presence of Queen Elizabeth II.

On June 26, 1959, she officially inaugurated the St. Lawrence Seaway in the company of Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and American President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Six million listeners and viewers follow this highly ceremonial ceremony at Radio-Canada.

Technicians busy themselves in a central control room for the radio transmission of the 1959 royal visit.

On the radio, journalist Raymond Laplante described the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway as “the event of the century in North America”.

“Wherever you are in Canada or any other French-speaking country in the world, you will witness the beginning of a new era in the life of a great river, the realization of a dream caressed since the 17th century by the discoverers of New France and which the technical genius of the 20th century made it possible to materialize. »

— Journalist Raymond Laplante

In the first minutes of this special, journalists Pierre Nadeau and Yolande Champoux describe the reception of the American president at the airport of Saint-Hubert and his meeting with the Queen.

Aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, Elizabeth II, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John G. Diefenbaker later inaugurated the St. Lawrence Seaway, a symbol of Commonwealth-United States cooperation.

A crowd of 20,000 witnesses the passage of the Britannia along the waterway.

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A Radio-Canada cameraman, carrying his equipment on his back, awaits the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II at the inauguration ceremony of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The St. Lawrence Seaway, one of the largest shipping routes in the world, has actually been open to traffic since April 25.

The completion of this waterway between the Atlantic Ocean and the head of the Great Lakes took five years of work and more than $1 billion to spend.

The Queen will return frequently to visit Canadians. And it will not always receive the same welcome, as evidenced by the Saturday of the truncheon in 1964.

It will also participate in major events, such as Expo 67 or the Olympic Games of Montreal in 1976.

Since her coronation in 1953, Queen Elizabeth II has seen 12 Canadian prime ministers, from Louis Saint-Laurent (1948-1957) to Justin Trudeau (from 2015 to present).

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