hundred and twenty years ago today,
Sept. 29, 1882, (a Friday in 1882), New Westminster was excited
about the impending arrival of two very special visitors.
announcement the preceding Wednesday confirmed their arrival:
"Victoria: Announce that His Excellency, the Governor
General, will be accompanied by Her Royal Highness, the Princess
Louise, on his visit to New Westminster."
visit was a major occasion for the province and the communities
Westminster was not only visited, but the couple would spend the
night in the Royal City. The great interest in this visit
was caused, not so much by the Marquis of Lorne, the governor
general, as by his wife, the daughter of Queen Victoria.
couple arrived on the steamer, Alexander, a sidewheel steamer
lent for the occasion by Robert Dunsmuir.
downstream from the city the ship was met with a large flotilla
of Native canoes, decked out with flags.
broke into two groups with the ship sailing through the middle
and a feu de joie was fired during the passage.
same time, the Seymour Artillery began firing a royal
salute. At the dock, the mayor and council met the vessel
with the New Westminster Rifles providing a guard of honour.
entire party then moved to carriages waiting on Front Street,
then up Begbie Street to Columbia, and along to Albert Crescent.
street was fully decorated with "evergreens, wreaths,
mottoes, flags, etc." and two celebratory arches had been
first was mid-block and was referred to as a "piscatorial
arch" as it was built from fish boxes and cans and was
festooned with fresh salmon and a sturgeon. The visiting
couple apparently stopped their coach to examine this archway
second arch, further along the street, near the home of the
mayor, Dr. Loftus McInnes, was a display of Chinook mottoes (a
trade language used extensively and to good result throughout
mottoes were: "Klahowya Queen's Papoose" (Welcome
Queen's Daughter) and "Nesika util tum-tum Copa Mesika"
(Our hearts are glad to see you).
were crowds of people, flowers for the princess, speeches, the
National Anthem from the girls of St. Ann's Academy, inspection
of the guard of honour, canoe, rowboat and fishing skiff races,
music by the Excelsior Band and a pipe band, a "torchlight
procession and illumination" on the river, and an overnight
stay for the couple with Bishop Sillitoe and his wife Violet, at
St. Mary's Mount, near St. Mary the Virgin Church.
were a very full couple of days, but by all accounts, the
governor general and Princess Louise thoroughly enjoyed
themselves in our city.
Past: Beginning 125 years of History
by Archie and Dale Miller
Royal City Record
Sept 29, 2002