Calgarians Reflect on the Queen’s Impact

Keith Purdy, right, and husband Rick Kennedy signing a book of condolences for Queen Elizabeth II at Calgary City Hall on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. Purdy and Kennedy attended the live viewing of the queen’s funeral. (Photo by Pamela Shah/The Press)

Mourning Calgarians gathered at City Hall to watch a live broadcast of Queen Elizabeth II funeral and sign a book of condolences.

The funeral took place in the Windsor Castle chapel on Sept. 19, which followed a procession of the queen’s coffin around the United Kingdom. Her Majesty was then set to rest next to her late father in the chapel. 

Calgarians had the opportunity to write messages to the queen in a book of condolences.  

City Council members Richard Pootmans, Sonya Sharp, Terry Wong, and Andre Chabot were present and participated in a moment of silence. This was proceeded by a rendition of God Save the Queen, and then God Save the King in honour of the new King Charles III.  

“As a human, as a daughter, as a mother, it’s an emotional day,” said Ward 1 Coun. Sonya Sharp.

“As a Canadian, you walk into so many buildings, and you see her portrait. In my generation, I learned a lot about the monarchy and the Queen’s position in school, so for me, this has come full circle in understanding everything, and now, seeing a new sovereign.” 

Another attendee was Corrie Rehioo, a British veteran who served in the Second Royal Tank Regiment.

“The Queen, to me, is a unifier,” said Rehioo. “Having a monarchy— it shows that you’ve got respect, understanding, and have a bond with the people who live [in commonwealth countries].” 

Rehioo is a British-Canadian dual citizen who was born in Essex, a county northeast of London, and now resides in Calgary. After serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, he met the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2008 when he marched in a Trooping of the Colour ceremony. 

“Honouring the guys, the guys we lost on tour, or the guys that were injured— it felt good. It was good recognition.” 

As a human, as a daughter, as a mother, it’s an emotional day. — Sonya Sharp

While there were many who were mourning Queen Elizabeth, there were others who felt differently. 

“She’s not the queen of me,” said Johnny Youngblood, of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.  

“I’m Canadian, not British. I feel for them, she was the leader of their country, but she’s just a monarch. She’s on your dime, on your quarter. I have no feelings about her; it’s something for the white people.” 

Youngblood’s mother suffered emotional and physical trauma from residential schools. 

“[The queen] didn’t do anything for our people. Her country and her people were involved in the colonization of Canada and Native people.” 

The British Monarchy is the head-of-state in Canada, as well as other commonwealth countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. 

About Pamela Shah 3 Articles
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Pamela Shah is working as a writer for The Press in 2022-23.