Today we join the global community in mourning the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Flags on our campuses will be lowered to half-staff in recognition of her decades-long service as Queen of Canada and Head of State.
Since her coronation in 1953, Queen Elizabeth reigned through times of significant geo-political turbulence with a steadfast commitment to the duties bestowed upon her. In so doing, she became an iconic beacon of measured and gentle diplomacy.
UBC was fortunate to host Her Majesty on four visits to our Vancouver campus. Shortly before her ascension to the throne, then Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh were scheduled to watch a Thunderbirds football game on October 20th, 1951. Sadly, the royal couple were late in arriving and missed the home team defeating their rivals but many in the crowd stayed and cheered them when they arrived.
In July 1959, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip met with UBC officials and dined at the faculty club. For two hours, the couple mingled with honoured guests before leaving for a Theatre Under the Stars performance in Stanley Park. UBC’s record of the visit notes “(l)arge crowds of people gathered outsider the club both before and after the dinner to cheer the royal couple.”
Twenty-four years later in 1983, the royals were back, this time for a brief stop, touring the Museum of Anthropology, Asian Centre and Health Sciences Centre. Once again, photos from the event show large crowds and dignitaries gathered to celebrate her.
Finally, in 2002, fresh paint was applied to lamp posts, and graffiti was covered over for the royal couple’s final visit to the campus. This time, more than 600 performers from a dozen arts groups including Indigenous and Chinese dancers, singers and Taiko drummers lead the royal pageant. The Queen unveiled a bronze book commemorating her visit and in tribute to literacy as part of the Royal Jubilee celebrations. The book remains on permanent display in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.
You can find more information and photos of the Queen’s visits to UBC here – https://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/royalvisit/
Queen Elizabeth’s death marks the end of an era not just for the royal family, but for the world. Our condolences go out to her family and loved ones. We are hopeful that her legacy of civility and grace will live on in the hearts and minds of all of the many people whose lives she touched here at UBC.
President and Vice-Chancellor
The University of British Columbia
Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor
University of British Columbia Okanagan