The Queen becomes the longest-reigning monarch in Canadian and British history on Wednesday, a milestone that will be marked with a series of local events.
She will surpass the record established by Queen Victoria, her great-great-grandmother, who reigned from June 20, 1837, to Jan. 22, 1901 — a span of 63 years, seven months and two days.
Eighty-nine-year-old Elizabeth has reigned since Feb. 6, 1952, having succeeded her father, King George VI. She has been married to Prince Philip for 67 years.
In the capital region, the City of Victoria will host a noon celebration Wednesday on the front steps of city hall, with a proclamation from the town crier and the raising of the Monarchist League of Canada’s flag. Also at noon, O Canada and God Save the Queen will be played by the Royal B.C. Museum carillon, and the bells will be rung at Christ Church Cathedral.
The District of Oak Bay is putting on a noon gathering on Wednesday, as well, on the lawn at municipal hall. Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon will attend.
A tea is set for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., called 23,226 Days of “Reign” in Oak Bay and featuring a Queen lookalike and several corgis — the Queen’s favourite breed of dog.
The CFB Esquimalt Wardroom will be the site of another noon event on Wednesday, which includes a reaffirmation of Canadian citizenship ceremony led by citizenship judge Gerry Pash.
The Town of Sidney hosts an 8:30 p.m. celebration Wednesday at Diver’s Point, complete with a proclamation, the lighting of a beacon and refreshments.
Guichon is hosting a public garden party on Saturday from 2-4 p.m. at Government House. There will be entertainment and children’s activities, including a crown-making station.
On Sunday, Christ Church Cathedral will present A Choral Evensong of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s Reign beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Elizabeth’s longevity is “pretty incredible,” said Monique Goffinet Miller, who co-chairs the Victoria Branch of the Monarchist League of Canada. “It’s historic and it is a celebration at the same time,” she said.
Miller said the world was “completely different” when Elizabeth took the throne, and over the years, she has always served the people well. She has been on the throne through 12 prime ministers.
“There have been so many things that have happened throughout her leadership that show that she’s tireless [and] determined,” said Miller.
The local Monarchist League branch has 146 active members, she said. “The Monarchist League is about educating on the role of the Crown and the relevance of the Crown within today’s society.”
She said it is also about looking at how people are connected to their heritage and “the benefits of understanding where we came from.”