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The Royal Visit of 1939

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

On 24 May 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth passed through Transcona on their way to Winnipeg as they crossed the country by train. The tour was a popular event, and a sizable crowd lined the tracks to greet the royal couple. The Town of Transcona was also decorated to mark the occasion. Several individuals and organizations from Transcona had an important role to play during the Royal Visit:


Mayor George Olive and Councillor W. Newman were named by the Town of Transcona Council as the official representatives to greet the King and Queen during their royal tour of Winnipeg.


John Henry Greengrass was given the responsibility of painting the British Royal Coat of Arms on the Royal Train CN 6047. Trained as a painter in England, he began work with the CN Transcona Shops in 1911 painting logos on boxcars and locomotives. Mr. Greengrass was well-known for his ability to paint the royal coat of arms freehand.


Canadian National Railway Transcona Pipe Band was among several local bands selected to line the route of the procession through Winnipeg from City Hall to Portage Avenue along Main Street on 24 May 1939. The CNR Transcona Pipe band was stationed on Fort Street, on the northside of Main Street. As the royal procession passed, the band played "God Save the King".


CN Transcona Shops provided special trains to operate the day of the Royal Visit for school children and residents visiting Winnipeg. Town Council also approved applications for free transportation of unemployed individuals wishing to attend the celebrations in Winnipeg.

 

Photographs courtesy of the Transcona Museum and Archives

 

Sources


---. “Gay Battle of Color and Music: Great Array of Bands to Line Route of Procession.” Winnipeg Free Press, May 12, 1939.


---. "Special Trains for Transcona." The Winnipeg Tribune, May 9, 1939.


---. "Transcona Names May 24 Delegates." The Winnipeg Tribune, April 11, 1939.


Transcona Museum and Archives.

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