Monday, June 11, 2012

1959 Dedication in Beacon Hill Park by Queen Elizabeth

On July 17th 1959 Queen Elizabeth dedicated this spot in Beacon Hill Park.    The spot is in the parking lot by the petting zoo but at the back part of the lot.  This area of the parking lot is pavement so broken that it is almost a gravel parking lot. I dis not know what this location was intended to be but it was an unkempt mess
I know, hard to see because of the glare

There have not been that many times the monarch has been to the park.  You would think that whatever spot was dedicated would be kept up nicely.   Clearly there was an intention to have something at this spot given the wall that was built here.   From what I can read about the history of the the park, there was the intention to have a bust of the Queen at this site.

There is a second commemoration of her of being at Beacon Hill Park that day.  There is a bust of her near the small lake across from the petting zoo which was unveiled by her on August 20th 1994.   The bust has been there since the early 1960s.

The original spot did not receive the bust.  The bust was not ready for the unveiling on July 17th and was supposed to have the costs shared by the local municipalities.   The others backed out because it was late and expensive.   The original bust was destroyed in December 1960.  It was replaced in 1962 with the current bronze bust.
This is what the site looked like on Saturday afternoon.
An addendum - a first hand account of the event at this site on July 17th 1959 by Oak Bay Reeve George Murdoch - his grandson, current Oak Bay councillor Kevin Murdoch, shared this with me

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip were to visit Victoria on July l7th. On July 16th,I went to City Hall along with the other Reeves to place our signatures on an Illuminated Address to be presented to the Queen on this occasion. Late in the afternoon, we went to the stand which had been prepared at Beacon Hill Park and Lawrie Wallace, Deputy Provincial Secretary, put us all through a rehearsal of the procedure when we and our wives were presented to the Royal couple on the following day. He said that, if the Queen offered her hand when we were presented to her, we must not shake it but merely touch it, say “Good morning Your Majesty" and move along. Next morning Emily and I were at the site in good time as were the other civic heads and their ladies. There was some delay, as the Queen and Phillip had stayed longer than intended at the Veteran's Hospital, talking to the veterans. After the presentation at the Park, the Queen was to present new colors to the P.P.C.L.I. regiment on the football ground. Those men stood in the hot sun for a long time.
Finally the Royal Party arrived at the stand and we lined up for the event.
We went forward in the following order. First, Mayor Scurrah and Mrs. Scurrah, then Reeve Chatterton and Mrs. Chatterton from Saanich, Emily and I followed then, and behind us came Reeve Wurtle and Mrs. Wurtle of Esquimalt and Rupert Brown, Reeve of North Saanich and Mrs. Brown. Majror Scurrah read the Illuminated Address to the Queen after he and Mrs. Scurrah had been presented. This was then handed to an aide of the Queen. Next, the rest of us moved forward to be presented, first to the Queen and then to Prince Phillip. When presented to Her Majesty I did as instructed, bowed, touched her hand and said, "Good morning your Majesty". Then she looked at me with her big brown eyes and said "Where is Oak Bay located?”
I answered the question as quickly as possible and then moved on to the Prince. Afterward we all went to the Empress Hotel for a luncheon being given for the Royal visitors. After the luncheon, Lawrie Wallace came up to me and said, "You held up proceedings by talking to the Queen. I said the day before that there was to be no conversation." I told him what the Queen had asked me and that I had replied as quickly as possible. Not to have done so would have been really a breach of protocol by snubbing the Royal person. And that was that.
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