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Ten times the royal family visited the Okanagan and Kamloops

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip riding in a convertible through Vernon, B.C. circa 1959. They went on to stay at the Pennask Lake Lodge after this appearance in Vernon.
Image Credit: Gar Lunney/ Library and Archives Of Canada collectionscanada.gc.ca

It wouldn't be a stretch to suggest the Queen held a special place in her heart for Canada.

As an ardent world traveller, she visited this country more than any other during her reign, and she was in the habit of referring to it as home.

If you include overnight visits and aircraft refuelling stops, the Queen visited Canada no less than 31 times since her coronation in June 1952, according to the Canadian Heritage Department.

In second place is Australia with 18 visits, including stopovers, according to the The Royal Family's official website.

"I think she really developed a warm affection for us," says Barry MacKenzie, a spokesman for the Monarchist League of Canada. "She's done a marvellous job of taking advantage of all of those opportunities to meet Canadians and to develop a taste for life here."

READ MORE: B.C. resident recalls meeting Queen, says photo is a 'treasure' of his life

The royal family were no strangers to the Okanagan and Kamloops over the decades.

With a little help from our friends at Kelowna Museums, we've managed to scrape together all of the details.


There were two royal visits this year. The first was Sept. 30 and was from Edward, Prince of Wales (the future Edward VIII).

He stopped in Kelowna and gave a short address before continuing a tour of B.C.

Then on Oct. 9 the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, as part of a Canadian tour, arrived in Penticton on the Kettle Valley Railway and then travelled by boat on Okanagan Lake to Peachland, Kelowna, and then Vernon. Then they returned to Penticton to board the train home.


This is the year Princess Margaret arrived for the opening of the first Okanagan Lake Floating Bridge in July. The bridge was a big change for the valley, which made it all the more worth a royal visit.  


Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh toured all provinces in Canada that year and while in B.C., stopped in Kamloops.


This year offered a boom of royal visits when on May 6, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and Princess Anne landed in the valley. They first were in Penticton, then they drove up to Kelowna and stopped at City Park. Finally they moved on to Vernon for lunch.


In March, Queen Elizabeth II landed at Kelowna Airport and headed off to Vernon for lunch. It was a very brief stopover and part of her American West Coast tour. Part of their tour took them to Kamloops, as well. 


Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited Kelowna May 3, 1986 on their way to Burnaby for Expo 86, There were 25,000 people at City Park for their appearance. The Prince and Princess of Wales also toured Vernon and Kamloops on their way to the coast. 


Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, made a stop at a private reception at Harvest golf course in South East Kelowna for supporters and sponsors of Duke of Edinburgh citizenship program.


Prince Edward was back 20 years later, with Princess Sophie, Earl and Countess of Wessex, Sept. 16, 2014. Edward visited Cedarcreek Estate Winery, Sophie visited Mission Hill Winery, Edward met with firefighters, Sophie handed out “Duke of Edinburgh” awards.


William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, arrived in Kelowna and were met with great fanfare Tuesday, Sept. 27. They visited UBCO for the unveiling of an Aboriginal art installation by Les Louis, then they watched a Volleyball demonstration. An estimated 5,000 people greeted them at the university. They then went on to visit Whitehorse and Carcross in the Yukon in following days

A royal good volleyball game was had at UBC Okanagan in 2016.
A royal good volleyball game was had at UBC Okanagan in 2016.

— With files from The Canadian Press

— Portions of this story were originally published Nov. 17, 2019.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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