COLUMN: Sarnia ready to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee

Phil Egan

The 25-year-old Princess of Wales was visiting Kenya on February 6, 1952 when the news arrived about her father, the wartime monarch George VI.

Word spread quickly across the United Kingdom and its colonies and dominions: The King is dead. God Save the Queen!

Seventy years have passed since Queen Elizabeth acceded to the throne and large parts of the world are now readying to observe her remarkable Platinum Jubilee.

Sarnia, which the Royal Couple visited in 1959 during the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, is part of that celebration.

It begins Saturday, June 4 at 11:30 a.m. with that most iconic of British events – a garden party.

Hosted by the City of Sarnia with financial assistance from the Sarnia Historical Society and Heritage Canada, the two-hour celebration will be held on the expansive green lawns of Germain Park. It will offer tea, refreshments, and a reading by Theatre Sarnia, recapping each decade of Queen Elizabeth’s long reign.

Those wishing to attend are asked to register on Sarnia’s website, as early as possible, as space may be limited.

The Jubilee Garden Party will provide an excuse to break out your finest and dressiest casual wear. Community Services Coordinator Rachel Veilleux is promising to deliver an authentic English garden party atmosphere.

That same evening, on Saturday, June 4, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 62 will host a more formal Jubilee Dinner and Dance for 200 ticket holders.

Legion Vice President Ron Realesmith said the event will seek to capture the excitement of the 1950s – the first of the Queen’s seven-decade reign. Attendees are asked to come in their dress uniforms or, as much as possible, in their dressiest ‘50s style attire.

It promises to be a nostalgic evening with musical entertainment by Larry and the Landline pumping out the classic tunes from the 1950s.

A cash bar opens at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at 6 p.m. followed and dancing from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Tickets, available on the Legion’s website, are $40, or $300 for a table of eight.

Queen Elizabeth turned 96 on April 21, and we are clearly living in the final years of her momentous reign.

Whether you are a monarchist or not (and increasingly many are not), it’s difficult not to admire the life of service she has devoted to the United Kingdom and Commonwealth of Nations.

Sarnia’s Jubilee events may be one of the last opportunities to be part of an extraordinary monarch’s historic life journey.

Got an interesting tale? Contact columnist Phil Egan at philegan@cogeco.ca