That Darn New-Fangled Radio!

H.R.H. the Prince of Wales and Rt. Hon. W.L. M...
H.R.H. the Prince of Wales and Rt. Hon. W.L. Mackenzie King in Ottawa, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Because of his close ties with Canada, the late Duke of Windsor had once gained the affectionate regard of many Canadians, only to be near forgotten by most.

As Edward, Prince of Wales, he was attached to the Canadian Expeditionary Force in France during World War I.  After the war he dedicated the Canadian memorial at Vimy Ridge.  Probably the most appreciated of the prince’s actions was his purchase of the E. P. Ranch near Calgary, where he spent several enjoyable holidays.

One of his four memorable tours was in 1927 when he came to Canada with his brother George, and Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin.  It was the first time a British prime minister had visited Canada during his term of office.  He and Edward did not get along well together, and it was Prime Minister Baldwin who insisted in 1936 that Edward must abdicate if he married Mrs. Wallis Warfield Simpson, an American divorcee.

The Prince of Wales, Prince George, and Prime Minister Baldwin arrived at Quebec on July 30, 1927, to begin a country-wide tour.  It was the occasion of Canada’s Diamond Jubilee and there were celebrations everywhere.  The Prince of Wales dedicated the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower of Parliament while the new carillon played God Save the King, O Canada and The Maple Leaf.  They were heard throughout the world over the relatively “new-fangled radio.”  Even American isolationist Charles Lindbergh, then a great hero, flew his Spirit of St. Louis to Ottawa.

Another important event on the Prince’s itinerary occurred on August 7, when the Prince of Wales, with Prime Ministers Mackenzie King and Stanley Baldwin, opened the Peace Bridge between Fort Erie, Ontario, and Buffalo, New York.  Vice-President Dawes represented the United States.

Of course, impressionable young girls’ hearts throbbed from coast to coast wherever the royal brothers appeared.  There were rumours of romance, especially when Miss Valerie Jones was brought to Ottawa from Brockville to be the Prince of Wales’ partner at a dance!

Edward and his young brother George got along well together and tried to be informal when circumstances allowed.  There was hearty laughter in Vancouver where Edward was supposed to speak at a luncheon.  He suddenly introduced his brother as the speaker instead.  George was taken by surprise but rose to the occasion very well.

To learn more about this historic visit, there are a few sites that have good coverage. There is the Toronto Union Station, and then the Calgary Herald Blog, and Toronto in Time. Lastly, visit Toronto’s Historical Plaques.

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