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Queen begins nine-day Canadian tour

The Queen is beginning a nine-day tour of Canada to celebrate the Commonwealth country's achievements at the local, national and global level.

The monarch and the Duke of Edinburgh will travel hundreds of miles meeting outstanding individuals, leading businesses and institutions and members of the Armed Forces that have all contributed to the life blood of the nation.

In Canada the Queen is not a foreign monarch but the country's sovereign and she visits the nation regularly notching up more than 20 visits to its shores since the 1950s.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, speaking earlier this year when he announced the details of the trip, said: "The Crown endures as a symbol of our unique Canadian identity, uniting Canadians of every background and every region."

"Canadians hold Her Majesty and the Royal Family in deep affection and high regard, a sentiment which is clearly mutual."

The royal couple begin their tour in Halifax on the east coast and over the coming days will visit Toronto, Waterloo, Ontario, Winnipeg, and the national capital region.

Highlights of the Queen's itinerary include joining Canada Day celebrations on July 1, spending a day at the races to watch the running of the Queen's Plate at Woodbine Racetrack and the unveiling of a statue of jazz pianist Oscar Peterson.

There will also be many opportunities for Canadians to see their Queen as a number of engagements include walkabouts and other opportunities where they will be able to meet the head of state.

Celebrations to mark the monarch's 2012 diamond jubilee will begin early when she unveils designs for a window for the Senate - Canada's upper chamber - in the capital Ottawa, and drawings for a bust of herself for the Senate's foyer.

On the last day of the tour the Queen will travel to New York to address the United Nations and visit Ground Zero, the scene of the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks.


From Belfast Telegraph