Today, May 19th 2014, is Victoria Day in Canada. This is a public holiday for most of us.
While many consider Victoria Day to be the ‘unofficial’ start of summer, it is actually to celebrate the first Monarch of the Dominion of Canada, Queen Victoria whose birthday was May 24th. It is also the official Canadian birthday of our current Monarch Queen Elizabeth II (whose actually birthday is in April.)
Queen Victoria was born on May 24th, 1819 and would come to the throne of the United Kingdom on June 20th, 1837 when she ascended the throne on the death of her uncle King William IV. At the time Canada was still made up of several British colonies, so she was reigning over parts of Canada in her capacity of Queen of the United Kingdom.
When the Dominion of Canada was formed on July 1st, 1867 Queen Victoria became Queen of Canada. At the time the Canadian Throne was still deemed part of the British Crown, but Queen Victoria oversaw a large growth of Canada from its merger of of four British colonies (Canada West, Canada East, News Brunswick, and Nova Scotia) which expanded to include the provinces of Manitoba (1870), British Columbia (1871), and Prince Edward Island (1873.)
Queen Victoria reigned until her death on January 22nd, 1901.
In 1931, the Statute of Westminster would officially confirm that the Canadian Crown legally a separate position and that the Canadian Crown is distinct from the Crown of the United Kingdom (in other words, while the same person is both Queen of Canada and Queen of the United Kingdom, both positions are deemed to be two different jobs.)
Our current Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has been Queen of Canada since she ascended the throne on February 6th, 1952 when her father King George VI passed away. Her coronation was held on June 2nd, 1953.
Her Majesty has made numerous tours of Canada, both before and after her ascension. She has supported many organizations throughout the country. She is a role model for many of us. Her official title in Canada is Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.