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The Queen reopens Canada House

On February 19, The Queen reopened Canada House located in Trafalgar Square. Accompanied by Prince Philip, the two toured the renovated building being guided by high commissioner, Gordon Campbell.

While the Queen and Prince Philip enjoyed local art from across Canada, Prince Philip was also seen joking with staff about a table of snowballs.

Queen Elizabeth was presented with a set of ceremonial keys to Canada House during the reopening. Made of gold, silver and nickel the keys are reproductions of the keys that were once presented to King George V, when he opened Canada House in 1925.

The newly opened Canada House now offers consular support to Canadians abroad in the United Kingdom. Immigration and visa processing will also take place in Canada House with offices for Defence liaison staff, as well as diplomatic services and trade promotion.

The original buildings that make up the Canada House were used as the Union Club and the Royal College of Physicians. They were designed by Sir Robert Smirke and built from 1824-1827. It was not until 1925 they became the High Commission of Canada.

Canada House outgrew its home and in 1963, a significant portion of its administrative work was moved to the Macdonald House in Grosvenor Square.

With a second location several blocks away, productivity was not ideal.

To solve this dilemma, Canada bought the building adjacent to Canada House in 2012. Built by Sunlife of Canada between 1927-1929 they began construction to create the new Canada House and for the first time in over 50 years all proceeding are once again under the same roof.

The brand new Canada house features ten provincial rooms, three territories and three ocean rooms. Each decorated with furniture and art from local artists of their respective province or territory.

There is over 200 pieces of art throughout Canada House. Some of Canada’s most famous artists have pieces shown like Emily Carr, Gordon Smith, Edward Burtynsky and Gathie Falk.

photo credit: 2005 Royal Visit: Queen Elizabeth II via photopin (license)

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