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Queen Elizabeth II

A Royal Reason to Celebrate

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret in 1942 (left), and Princess Elizabeth and Prince Charles in 1950 (right), both by Cecil Beaton.

Royal BC Museum celebrates
Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee

Join the Royal BC Museum for a special exhibit of personal portraits of Queen Elizabeth II as the monarch celebrates her diamond jubilee this summer.
Opening June 1 and continuing through summer to September 3, this special exhibition of portraits by royal photographer Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) depicts Queen Elizabeth II in her roles as princess, monarch and mother. The exhibition will include a number of previously unpublished images alongside extracts from Beaton’s personal diaries and letters. The photographs are drawn exclusively from the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Beaton’s glittering royal portraits were among the most widely published photographs of the twentieth century and helped to shape the public image of the monarchy around the world. The exhibition explores Beaton’s long relationship with the Queen, who was still a teenage princess when Beaton first photographed her in 1942. Over the next three decades, he would be invited to photograph the Queen on many significant occasions, including the Coronation Day.
The exhibit is all the more moving as Beaton’s images depict the Queen and her family both on official occasions and when ‘off-duty.’ Elegant and highly-staged photographs are shown alongside informal glimpses of the royal family at home, interspersed with film and radio footage from the time.

Section one, ‘Princess Elizabeth and the Portrait Tradition’, includes charming portraits of a young Princess Elizabeth with her parents and sister Princess Margaret, set against elaborate painted backdrops inspired by the long tradition of royal portraiture. Section two focuses on the Coronation in 1953, when Beaton’s camera captured both the grandeur and emotion of the occasion. In contrast to the splendid Coronation images, Beaton’s photographs in Section three, The Next Generation, reveal a more intimate and relaxed side of family life. The exhibition will draw to a close with ‘The 1968 Sitting’, including a set of portraits of the Queen in a dark admiral’s boat cloak against a plain background, which convey the magnitude of the role of Britain’s monarch.

Weekend Roundup, July 2 to 4

We hope you have some energy leftover following the big Canada Day bash, because the city is flush with exciting activities all weekend long.

Friday: Cirque du Soleil inspires awe (photo by Domenique Lemieux)

Friday, July 2
The impossible is achieved before the naked eye in Cirque de Soleil’s Alegría, yet another spellbinding performance by the world-famous troupe. This spectacle derives its name from the Spanish word for jubilation, a feeling sure to be evoked by its gravity-defying acrobatics, graceful contortionists and more.

Immerse yourself in the theatrical arts at the Toronto Fringe Festival, which presents 150-plus independent theatrical productions—musicals, dramas, single-person shows and much more.

Dig into some juicy beef and pork at the Toronto Ribfest. The popular event at Centennial Park also features live entertainment, plus vendors for those who may be immune to the allure of a juicy rack of ribs.

Saturday: Catch a Cyndi Lauper concert

Saturday, July 3
Lords and ladies are welcome to attend Casa Loma’s Renaissance Festival. Take a trip back to medieval times:  warhorses parade in the stables, warriors patrol a Viking encampment, and minstrels stroll by as you explore the castle. Don’t be surprised to see soldiers burst into spontaneous duels!

Gather at Yonge-Dundas Square this evening for a free concert by Chaka Khan, Macy Gray and Quebec-based trio Lost Fingers, courtesy of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival.

“Girls just wanna have fun”—and you probably do, too, so head over to Queen’s Park, where Cyndi Lauper—along with The Clicks and Dragonette—performs live as part of this week’s Pride festival. The pop icon also marks the release of her latest album, Memphis Blues, with a CD signing at the Manulife Centre’s Indigo store.

Sunday: The Queen comes to town (photo by Steve Punter)

Sunday, July 4

Hear ye, hear ye! Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, grace Toronto with a royal visit today. The monarchs will greet well-wishers following the 11 a.m. service at St. James Cathedral, and then preside over the 151st running of the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine Racetrack.

Show your (rainbow) stripes at the 30th annual Pride Parade takes off from Church and Bloor streets at 2 p.m., in the country’s biggest celebration of sexual diversity.

Gather at Exhibition Place to partake in the annual CHIN International Picnic, the world’s largest free picnic and music festival. Snack on multicultural fare, see jungle cats, a dog show and circus acts in the midway, and then cheer the crowning of this year’s “Mr. Chin.” (Saturday’s festivities name Miss Chin and culminate in an evening of fireworks.) If the karaoke competition doesn’t raise the bar, a musical performance by Italy’s Nek certainly will.