September 8, 2022 – Confederation Centre of the Arts is mourning the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in British history. She made more than 20 visits to Canada during her reign, including to Charlottetown for the grand opening of the Centre in 1964.
On October 6, 1964, Queen Elizabeth II and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Governor General Georges Vanier, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, federal cabinet ministers, premiers, and more all gathered at the newly minted Confederation Centre of the Arts for a Royal Variety Performance. The event was a watershed moment for Islanders, and the attention of royalty and other notables thrust Charlottetown onto the Canadian cultural scene.
During his remarks at the opening festivities, Prime Minister Pearson said, “Your Majesty, this occasion is the more significant, the sense of dedication to the future that stirs in us is much greater, because you have come across the ocean to be with us today.”
“Confederation Centre of the Arts has an important connection to Her Majesty The Queen, and to the Royal Family – from the opening of the Centre in 1964, to periodic visits over the years including the 2014 Symons Medal Lecture from Prince Charles,” says CEO Steve Bellamy.
Queen Elizabeth II and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, visited Prince Edward Island again in 1973 for the centennial of the province’s entry into Confederation. During this visit, she viewed portraits by Robert Harris in the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. A bust of Her Majesty was commissioned by Frank H. Sobey for the 20th anniversary of the Centre and currently presides in the concourse.
The most recent visit from the Royal Family was by Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall (now Their Royal Highnesses King Charles III and The Queen Consort) in 2014. Their tour of Canada included a stop at Confederation Centre of the Arts to celebrate its 50th anniversary, where Prince Charles was awarded an honourary Symons Medal.
Board Chair Robert Sear remarks, “Queen Elizabeth II has been an inspiring world leader and a constant for millions of people around the world. We offer heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family and to the millions who are mourning this historic loss.”
The flags at Confederation Centre of the Arts will fly at half-mast to mourn her passing.