About 100 attendees gathered in Riverside Park for a ceremony commemorating Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, the day of her funeral, many bringing flowers to lay at the cenotaph as a tribute to the monarch.
The Ceremony of Remembrance was organized by the Kamloops branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, and took place at 10:45 a.m., not long after the Queen was laid to rest following a series of elaborate ceremonies in the U.K.
Kamloops resident Ann Kootstra said it was important for her to attend the Legion's service to honour the Queen and her life, especially given the connections her family members had with the Royal Family.
“I have a picture of my own grandmother here in the park in 1939 greeting her as Princess Elizabeth,” Kootstra said, adding her late mother — who was born in the same year as Queen Elizabeth II — also loved the Queen.
Kootstra has her own memories of a royal visit. She said she was part of a group who met the Queen at the airport during her visit to Kamloops in 1971.
“I thought it was very important for me to be here, just as a part of history,” Kootstra said.
Monday's ceremony began with a parade of colours to the cenotaph, the singing of O Canada, and a bugler playing The Last Post.
Attendees observing two minutes of silence at 11:00 a.m.
Daniel Martin, Kamloops Legion president, laid a single wreath in front of a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of Legion members and Kamloops citizens.
Martin gave a short speech about the Queen, mentioning that she was the first female in the Royal Family to be involved in active duty during war time, serving as an army mechanic.
Martin mentioned the Queen’s four visits to Kamloops — twice as a princess and twice as a reigning monarch.
“In 1959, she and her husband Philip spent a week in our great city and region, and visited again albeit briefly in 1971,” Martin said.
“The Royal Canadian Legion will miss her as most of us have known only one monarch.”
Speeches were made by other guests, including Colonel Robin Steel, retired commanding officer of the British Army’s Royal Green Jackets, who noted the Queen’s affection for Canada and its people, her quiet calm, and sense of humour.
“She was a truly remarkable lady, the likes of which we are unlikely to see again. We humbly send our condolences to the royal family. May she rest in peace. On the passing, King Charles III succeeded her. He in turn, has vowed to serve his people. God save the King,” Steel said.
Frank Caputo, Conservative MP for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, MLA’s Todd Stone and Peter Milobar, Mayor Ken Christian and Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir also made remarks.
Casimir said she witnessed the Queen reign with dignity, grace and respect. She noted a “complicated relationship” between Indigenous people and the monarchy, but said she believed they were moving towards reconciliation.
“I do have hope. I have positive thoughts of what the future looks like. I truly [offer] condolences to the Royals for the loss of their mother, their grandmother. And when it comes to loss of family, it is so important to be standing there together to support each other,” Casimir said.
Christian said upon hearing of the Queen’s death, he went to the Kamloops archives to view photographs and read stories of her visits to Kamloops.
“To think that the monarch of the Commonwealth was in Kamloops four times, I think is a reflection on her dedication to duty,” Christian said.
“Tonight, at sunset, all the flags in the City of Kamloops will be returned to full staff, but they will do so with the proud remembrance of Queen Elizabeth II. Long live the King.”