A thunderous 21-gun salute shook the windows of the legislature after Gov.-Gen. Mary Simon made her first appearance there Friday and was greeted by the premier and lieutenant-governor.
Simon and her husband, Whit Fraser, emerged from their three-car procession May 20 on the east driveway of the legislative grounds, where they were welcomed by Premier John Horgan and Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin.
The couple proceeded along the driveway, enjoying a brief traditional Indigenous welcome ceremony before exchanging words with Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, among others who lined up to meet Simon.
Once Simon, Fraser, Horgan and Austin reached the legislature’s front steps, three guns from the 5th BC Field Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery, took turns erupting in salute toward the Inner Harbour until 21 shots had rang out.
Dozens of onlookers occupying the legislature grounds abandoned their posts to head for the guns stationed along Belleville Street, fascinated by the powerful display. Some remained unsure who all the commotion was intended for, while others commented they would have preferred a seven-gun salute.
Simon and Fraser were led inside the legislature through its ceremonial entrance to sign the provincial visitors’ book and recognize the Orange Shirt display honouring residential school survivors. Later the couple met with Chief Robert Thomas of the Esquimalt Nation, Chief Ronald Sam of the Songhees First Nation and other distinguished representatives of First Nations leadership.
A ceremonial honour guard comprising 50 face-masked Maritime Forces Pacific and CFB Esquimalt members, accompanied by the Royal Canadian Navy Naden Band, stood at ease before the front steps of the legislature for the duration of the welcome ceremony. With the guests waving to onlookers from the steps and heading inside, the military parade marched off to the trumpeting of O Canada while attendees dispersed as quickly as they gathered.
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