Cornwall ON – Cornwall’s own Judy Bobka attended a visit with her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Toronto this week. She shared some of her memory of the day with us.
As you know I was dumbfounded when I received an invitation from the Prime Minister toattend a formal dinner in honour of the 2010 Royal Tour to Canada of Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.With support and suggestions from many:Dan – encouragementHeather – shopping for a long dressRony – hair that lasted – and a special appointmentSarah – helped to calm nerves, directed travel, ensured I arrived on time and pinned me with progress aired on televisionSarah and I had a room at the Strathcona. The Royal York was fully booked with thespecial Dinner guests and with the Shriners Convention from all over North America.On Monday late afternoon, just as I finished dressing – the power went off. Nothing more to do. We walked down to street level. As we crossed York Street we could see a gazillion limos, police mounted on horses, police on bicycles and police on foot.Into the Royal York, walked up 2 flights of escalators and to the reception. At registration I presented my photo ID, received a table seating number, my introduction card and moved into the reception. The lights were operating on a generator, but the air conditioning was not on.There was a friendly meeting and greeting and much chatter about ” where were you when the lights went out?” Some who drove to the event from a distance were delayed by the lack of traffic lights and general confusion.We were invited to proceed to the receiving line, I was announced and shook hands with Prime Minister Harper, Her Majesty, His Royal Highness and Mrs. Harper. From there I moved in to the Concert Hall of the Fairmont Royal York. I was seated at Table 10 along with MP Irene Mathysen, former Premier Ernie Eves, former MPP Isabel Bassett, Kim, a helicopter pilot in Afganistan, and a couple of young men from the Monarchist League.The menu included, Poached Nova Scotia Lobster, Herbed Alberta Beef Tenderloin on a bed of toasted prairie barley and mushroom risotto with Cooks Town Vegetable Medley, Maple Syrup Dark Chocolate Truffle, Tea, Coffee.James Moore, Minister, was the dinner MC. Prime Minister Harper brought greetings to the gathering, introduced Her Majesty as our most treasured player and presented a lasting gift – a personalized hockey sweater with EIIR on the back. This will be displayed at the Hockey Hall of Fame. On behalf of Her Majesty and Prince Phillip, three charities received donations.The Prime Minister presented the Toast to the Queen. We toast the Queen at many functions, but this was the first time, I toasted the Queen in her presence. Quite moving I thought. Media was confined to one set of risers and after the Queen spoke, the media departed. Her speech was precise and quite touching. She said she looked forward to returning to Canada and to continuing as the Queen of Canada.During dessert, the Canadian Tenors entertained. I can tell you, they are good. If you have the chance to see, hear them please do. At the end the Head Table exited first, and in the anterior room of the Concert Hall, the entire Royal York staff who had prepared, served, had anything to do with the event, were lined up and applauded as the Head table passed by. The Queen, Prince Phillip, Prime Minister and Mrs. Harper spoke to many of the staff.The exit from the event was quite ordered and easy. I ‘ll not forget the evening, the low key statements. I’m not sure who nominated me to be on the guest list, but I am forever thankful for the opportunity.Thank you all for your interest, enthusiasm and support for this wonderful venture.
Now that’s a memory. We’re thankful to Ms Bobka for sharing it with the viewers here on The Cornwall Free News.
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