The 1939 Visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth

Now You See Him...Now You Don't

Prime Minister Mackenzie King had the king airbrushed from the photograph (seen right) taken at Banff.

Some of the themes in The Royal Tour of Canada:

Aboard the royal train
The press
First Nations


The King and Queen during their three days in Ottawa. This was the first royal tour during which photographs taken in the morning could be viewed by authorities in the afternoon, then, after careful vetting, published in newspapers across Canada and abroad over the following days.


The book is filled with casual moments like this one taken of the Queen smiling from the engine of CPR 5919, the royal train.

In 1939 Canadians welcomed their King and Queen in an almost rapturous manner, for the Royal Tour of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth marked the first time a reigning monarch had visited this country.

This book of photographs shows the enthusiastic faces of ordinary Canadians and dignitaries, the cities in which they lived, the security surrounding the tour and the cameramen who captured this sweeping event in photographs and movies. The accompanying text provides fascinating insight and compelling behind-the-scenes details. Information was gathered from such sources as Prime Minister Mackenzie King's diaries, papers from the Secretary of State and Governor, General, newspapers and biographies of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.

On the tour, Queen Elizabeth played the role of the new and accessible queen, essential in her quest to remake the institution of the monarchy by humanizing it. It worked. The camera loved her smile and demeanor, and millions of Canadian lined the streets across the nation to catch a glimpse of history in the making.

128pp. photos $19.95
ISBN 1-894073-37-1

How to order

For the complete list of Bibliographical references to The Royal Tour of Canada

Mounties may always get their man, but enthusiastic crowds like these Maritimers at Cape Tormentine, N.B., were sometimes difficult to control. The King and Queen in a typical pose on the platform of their coach. Even if the train merely slowed down without stopping, it still gave thousands of Canadians a good view.

"Rae Fleming has done a remarkable job refocussing the camera's eye. The historical and cultural significance of the pivotal 1939 Royal Tour is put into the intimate context of the average Canadian. An important book--and I speak as a rabid anti-monarchist!"

--Will Fergason, historian, novelist and 2002 winner of the Stephen Leacock Award.

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