Pomp, Circumstance, and a 21 Gun Salute for the New King

Guelph. It’s right there in the name, the “Royal City.” So naturally, on the day that Charles III was crowned the new King of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, not to mention becoming Canada’s own head of state, Guelph would not be left out of the festivities. To mark the occasion they got out the big guns. Literally. And they also got out a full military parade to welcome the official start of a new royal’s reign.

“Today you are part of a rare and special event. As mentioned we have not had a coronation for 70 years, and we have not had a 21 gun salute in Guelph since 1967,” said Honorary Colonel Linda Bossi, the review officer for the day’s festivities.

“A lot of the people that you see in uniform today, particularly in the reserve force, they’re teachers, they’re lawyers, they’re police officers, they’re firefighters, they’re padres, they’re engineers, they own companies, and these people train in the military on a part-time basis in addition to their day job,” Bossi explained. “I wanted to point that out because I don’t think it’s highlighted enough that the reserve soldiers in your community, give in so many ways and the families that support them give in so many ways.”

Along with several members of city council, members of the Guelph Police and Fire Department, and a couple of hundred Guelphites, York Road Park hosted a military parade featuring the 11th Field Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery, the local Guelph Army Reserve unit, Guelph Legion Branch #234, the Guelph Legion Pipe Band, Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Ajax, the Navy League Cadet Corps Achilles, the 1882 Wellington Rifles Royal Canadian Army Cadets, and 121 Red Arrow squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.

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The various speakers tried to outdo themselves drawing connections between the Royal City and the Royals.

“The King has been visiting Canada for over 50 years, and his most recent visit was actually in 2022 to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of his mother Queen Elizabeth II,” Mayor Cam Guthrie said. “Queen Elizabeth II actually visited Guelph in July 1959. As the Royal City, Guelph was named after the British royal families Guelph lineage, and has been actually connected to the monarchy since its founding.”

“As Mayor Guthrie stated, Guelph has had a special relationship to the Royal Family when John Galt refer to us as the Royal City,” added Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner. “I think King Charles has made stewardship an important message that he’s delivered throughout his life and through his career, and I think it’s another way in which Guelph is connected to him King Charles III.”

“You’ve covered the Royal City of Guelph, but you haven’t reflected how how we came to that name,” Bossi explained. “It’s a little bit dubious, but there was a Royal Family visit, not the king and queen, way back when when Guelph was newly formed. And at that event, the mayor, his name was Howard, he actually introduced the city as a ‘royal city’ and no one argued with him.”

Outside of the Guelph festivities, Canada Post announced Saturday “Canada’s first definitive stamp” featuring the image of King Charles. The stamp, which was designed by Paorika, features a portrait by photographer Alan Shawcross when the King was still Prince of Wales while on a Royal tour in 2022.

“The stamp continues Canada Post’s long-standing tradition of issuing definitive stamps depicting the Canadian sovereign, dating back more than 170 years. This tradition first begun in 1851 with a pre-Confederation stamp featuring Queen Victoria, the King’s great-great-great grandmother,” Canada Post said in a press release.

From Queen’s Park, the Premier of Ontario released a statement welcoming the new King. “Today, people across the country and around the world are celebrating the coronation of King Charles III, the first coronation of a Canadian head-of-state in over seven decades,” Doug Ford said. “As the King officially takes on his new role, I have no doubt that he’ll build on his mother’s legacy of duty, service and dedication to his people. On behalf of all Ontarians, I wish King Charles III and The Queen every success in their reign.”

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