Niagara-On-The-Lake Prepares for Queen's Funeral and For Reign of the King
For Niagara-on-the-Lake residents who saw the Queen visit their town, the pain of her loss has been palpable. Jodi Gonzalez who serves high tea at The Prince of Wales Hotel remembers waving Canadian flags at the Queen with her school class in 1973. She now grasps the significance of that moment and the gravity of the loss. "I actually burst out sobbing when they announced it...I didn't expect myself to act that way, so I was glad I was home alone, but it hurt."
So will people from the town be watching television coverage of the State Funeral for Queen Elizabeth II from beginning to end? Paul MacIntyre, Vice President of Operations for Vintage and Niagara's Finest Hotels said yes. "I think they'll definitely watch, I know I have been, and again I mentioned I'm generations removed, I was 1-year-old (when she visited) but to me it's still a very, very important part of our lives."
When Queen Elizabeth II's chapter formally ends, and the page turns to King Charles III, what do they expect? Lord Mayor Betty Disero said she has confidence in the King and looks forward to him visiting the town as his mother did. "King Charles...I'm sure will take on his duties and roles and responsibilities with as much passion and seriousness as his mother did," Disero said.
Pat Balasiuk saw the Queen during her visit in 1973. She was just 18, but her father was Innkeeper at the Pillar and Post Hotel where Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip had a room and hosted a big dinner before opening the Shaw Festival Theatre. She too has confidence in the new King. "Those of us that are monarchists are behind King Charles and we certainly hope his reign out does hers -- that'll be a hard push, you never replace somebody," Balasiuk said. "He has his own path to follow as his son will have after him, but he's been in training for a very long time, so I think that, that length of time under her tutelage he'll be fine and will walk the walk," she added.
And as hard as it is to say goodbye, it will be new. "I think we have to be ready for the King--it's his time," MacIntyre said.