A full Royal Honor Guard, led by the Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy, marched through the streets of Victoria to honor the life of Queen Elizabeth II.
Church bells rang 96 times as the procession started from the legislative building and slowly went through the streets of the downtown core to the Church of Christ Cathedral so the public could pay their respects to the longest reigning monarch in British history.
“This is a big event in history,” says bystander Joseph Lewis of Victoria.
Lewis brought his wife and two sons to attend the service even though they do not have any connection to the monarch’s activities in Canada.
“My sons love attending events, and this is a significant event to attend,” says Lewis.
Along with the families in attendance, there were several military veterans who remember much more about the Queen’s 70-year reign and feel a strong connection to the royal family.
“Being here is an emotional time for me,” says war veteran and monarchist Bruce Allan. “We all know that people die, but that doesn’t change the emotional impact for me.”
Allan says a new head of state will mean the monarchy will evolve as it always has.
“The monarchy will evolve, but that doesn’t mean it will change overnight,” says Allan. “It has endured for a thousand years and will continue to thrive.”
Dignitaries from all levels of government attended the service, including mayor Lisa Helps, premier John Horgan, and Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited the church twice, on March 8, 1983 and October 6, 2002.