WINNIPEG - Mayor Brian Bowman today issued the following statement on the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II:

“Today, Winnipeggers are in mourning. With our fellow Manitobans, Canadians, people of the Commonwealth, and those who admired her all around the world, we are grieving the only monarch most of us have ever known, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It is the end of an era; but, more than that, it is a time when we remember the special dignity, unfailing kindness, and spirit of quiet encouragement which The Queen personified throughout her long and illustrious reign. 

Few of us will ever forget where we were, or what we were doing, when we heard the sad news of Her Majesty’s passing. For Queen Elizabeth has meant so much, to so many, for so long, it is difficult to imagine life without her. In her famous speech on the occasion of her 21st birthday, she promised that “my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service”, and she kept this promise with perfect fidelity. 

Her Majesty’s reign spanned three generations, and the tenure of 12 Canadian Prime Ministers, and service framed every moment of her unique encounter with history. From her enlistment in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) during the darkest days of World War II, to her public appearances on great occasions of state, to her steadfast support for innumerable charities and service organizations, to her gentle and smiling rapport with the people who always thronged to see her, she inspired and encouraged us always, and these are memories we treasure, now.

Queen Elizabeth (then Princess Elizabeth) first won Winnipeggers’ hearts when she and Prince Philip visited in 1951; newspaper reports of the day remarked on the adoration and cheering crowds which greeted her, wherever she went. Our relationship with The Queen grew deeper and stronger over the years, as she visited to mark Manitoba’s Centennial, re-dedicate the restored and newly-brilliant Golden Boy, and unveil the cornerstone of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Her grant of Royal designation to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre likewise lifted up our city’s cultural achievements for the world to see: one more precious connection, with a monarch who truly cared. 

Of special significance in our reflections today is Her Majesty’s lifelong commitment to the Crown’s unique relationship with the Indigenous peoples of this land. During her long reign, she marked this relationship with visits from coast to coast to coast, and spoke eloquently about its importance to her. These are words and memories which resonate with us as our Journey of Reconciliation continues, and we strive to build the future the Treaties envisioned.

On behalf of Winnipeg City Council, and countless citizens in our community, I extend our heartfelt sympathies to the new King, and all the members of the Royal Family. Our prayers are with you in this difficult moment because, each in our own way, we have been deeply touched by Her Majesty’s life, work, and example. With her passing, many of us also feel that we are losing a beloved member of our own family, and an important part of our life. Without question, her voice – the same quiet, steady voice that offered us words of encouragement and hope each holiday season – will live in our hearts forever.”