But She Was All Smiles

'English Weather'

(Very Wet) Greets Queen at Expo

By Richard Jackson of The Ottawa Journal

MONTRÉAL - The Queen came to Expo today in what the staff at the British pavilion swore was "English weather."

The rain was crashing down in sheets.

And driven by the wind off the river, it seemed to be falling soakingly sideways.

Photo credit: © National Archives of Canada

A rainy day took place for Queen Elizabeth II visit to Expo 67


But the Queen, gay in a pink flowered raincoat, was all smiles.

She came off the yacht Britannia after the overnight cruise from Cornwall at 9:30 a.m. at the St. Lambert lock.

Waiting in the rain under umbrellas, which hadn't kept them dry in the wind-driven rain, were Prime Minister and Mrs. Pearson, Lt-Governor and Mrs. Hugues Lapointe, Trade Minister and Mrs. Winters, official Canadian host at Expo Lionel Chevrier and Mrs. Chevrier and Expo commissioner Pierre Dupuy.

In the rain, sodden, stood the Royal 22nd Regiment, the Vandoos, in their new green uniforms.

The RCMP on foot lined the dock wall and the Montréal police patrolled on chestnut horses.

Security was as tight as perhaps it had has been on any VIP visit including those of four American presidents, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson.


Police appeared to be everywhere.  They were at the debarkation point, an isolated spot along the St. Lawrence Seaway wall adjacent to Notre Dame Island where many of the major Expo pavilions are located.  They literally swarmed around Notre Dame Island, which was to be opened to the public in sections only after the royal couple left areas included in their tour.

Police were in cars, on horseback and on foot.  Newspaper men and others on the island were asked to produce credentials as they moved about Expo site in advance of the royal couple.

The Expo express would not start its runs for another hour.

The minirails were still, the Expo Island, Isle Notre Dame was shut to all but the official party, the small army of security and representatives of press, radio and television.

In the rain, beaming as if all were merry and bright with the sun shining, the Queen came down to the gangplank.

The pattern of her pink raincoat was scarlet roses with their green stems and leaves.

The hat was a matching creation of pink and scarlet and green.  She wore a two-strand choker of pearls, white gloves and carried her own umbrella.

Unhurriedly, the ceremonial of the inspection of the guard of honor proceeded and then as 21 guns spoke of the royal day at Expo, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were escorted by commissioner Dupuy to a black limousine for the drive through Isle Notre Dame.


Just across the river the skyscraper towers of midtown Montréal were hidden behind the thick curtains of rain.

Even the red, white and blue of the Union Jack atop the tower of the British pavilion stood 31 hostesses, those at either ends, in the rain.

A senior official inspected them to see that everything was just so -- the proper slant of their blue berets, their red cashmere sweaters correctly buttoned, their red, white and blue mini-skirts unsagged, and the Union Jack handbags all suspended from the same arm at the same angle.

There they stood in their red shoes as the rain bounced up two to three inches from the pavement all around them.

Directly opposite them was posted a line of young ushers of the British pavilion in their familiar robin egg blue suits with red buttons.

"Bloody awful weather, what," called an usher to a hostess.

"Just like over 'ome," she answered him.

Bearing a variety of multi-colored umbrellas, the senior executives of the British pavilion waited in the downpour for the Queen.

She stepped from her limousine as three or four of her hosts anxiously thrust umbrellas over her.

Then, nodding and smiling, she came through the rain, her white high heeled pumps splashing through the puddles on the concrete patios.

It was raining so hard that Expo workmen with large squeegees which they pushed ahead of them as if they were shoveling snow couldn't push away the water as fast as it was pounding down.

A cheer went up from a crowd of assorted hostesses, waitresses, workmen, shop girls from the boutiques and other Expo employees who waited in the rain behind the police-patrolled white ropes 100 feet down the Expo avenue from the British pavilion.

-  End of article. Copyright by The Ottawa Journal, July 3, 1967. All rights reserved.