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The Duke of Edinburgh

Prince Philip and Canada – a country visited by the Duke over 70 times

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
i-Images/ Pool

As has been well shared, the late Duke of Edinburgh completed over 22,000 royal engagements. Between official visits, unofficial visits, and stopovers, Prince Philip visited Canada over 70 times. Along with his appreciation and admiration of the Canadian military, he enjoyed meeting with Canadians and getting to know the country. 

Because he visited Canada so many times, the Duke had many memorable moments here. 

In 1951, while completing a royal tour of Canada on behalf of King George VI, the Princess Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh spent several weeks crossing the country. At a closing dinner at Rideau Hall, the Duke embraced Canadian pastimes, including square dancing (a photo often shared to this day.)

Prince Philip attended the 1967 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, MB. Though it was an incredibly rainy day, he gave a speech to open the fifth Pan Am Games. In his speech, he spoke on a sentiment that we would often hear from him- the need for everyone to play their role to see success. 

“The success of these Pan American Games, or of any other games of these sort, does not depend solely upon the athletes, everyone present has to play a part. Spectators and officials, the press- radio and television- and all the people behind the scenes working for the Games’ organisation, their sportsmanship and good temper is just as important for the general enjoyment and the good impression which I hope everyone will take home with them.” 

The Duke was obviously involved in several different sporting organisations as a patron. However, he attended the 1976 Olympics in Montreal as a spectator, and a parent, too. Princess Anne competed in the equestrian events, and he was seen offering his daughter advice and encouragement throughout the competition. 

In June of 1997, the Duke was in Toronto for official engagements but decided to take a helicopter to visit Ste. Agathe, MB. The province had been decimated by the “Flood of the Century” in the spring, and Prince Philip visited the small French community south of Winnipeg to see how they were rebuilding after extensive damages and evacuations. 

The Duke was Colonel-in-Chief of several different Canadian regiments across all branches. In 2013, he made a surprising visit to the Royal Canadian Regiment’s 3rd Battalion in Toronto to present a new regimental colour. He had already had several recent health scares, so the trip was unexpected. It was a meaningful and important trip for both the Duke and the Regiment. 

About author

Historian and blogger at AnHistorianAboutTown.com