The Queen and Prince Phillip are here on a royal visit, but this one's
rather unique. I thought there were a couple of interesting features
you'd find interesting if you're a Canada follower. They're, well,

1. CBC has leased a VIA Rail train to more-or-less follow the royal
tour. It's a kind of mobile history museum and is supposed to be quite
good (something like the Confederation train that toured the country
during our centennial celebrations in 1967 -- my first "date" was taking
an LDS girl from my ward there, but because I wasn't 16 [a rule that
wasn't enforced as much then, at least in my ward, it seems] yet, I had
to take her little brother along, too, which was fine. But I digress].
Luba Goy, a comedienne (of Royal Canadian Air Farce fame) of Ukrainian
background, is the announcer and official host. They're in the Vancouver
rail station right now, and every time the stationmaster makes an
announcement about train such-and-such for Port Sunnevershines, or
wherever, is boarding on track "garble garble" -- you know how garbled
these announcements are, she makes the same announcement, only in a
Donald Duck voice. It's apparently quite a hit with commuters in the
station. Don't know about the stationmaster....

2. The Queen started her trip at Iqaluit, where her plane landed in
light snow (gee, just like Onoway this morning!) and slightly sub-zero
temperatures. She spoke in the architecturally innovative new
Territorial Assembly (Iqualuit is the capital of our new, 3rd territory,
Nunavut) and was entertained by a choir singing in Inuktitut and an
exhibit of Inuit games at the local high school (like two runners racing
towards and leaping up to kick a suspended ball made out of the leather
of some creature like a walrus or an Alliance MP or some other
endangered species)

3. In Vancouver (tonight, I think) she's going to drop the puck at a
Vancouver Canucks hockey game. My goodness, how on earth do you figure
out the protocol for that? Would it be bad form to hide a loonie,
head-side up under centre ice? It worked against the Yanks in SLC. Does
Matts Sundine, a Swede, have to bow? Does she get to keep the puck?
Reminds me of a comment Prince Phillip made once in Calgary when he
opened their new city hall and thought the mike was off. Or maybe he
knew it was on and didn't care. "Not another *(^&^$ white hat!" -- the
white stetson is Calgary's official symbol and every visiting dignatary
gets one. The duke owns a large ranch south of Calgary and has made many
unofficial visits, but this was a state visit so he had to have a white
hat. At the G7 meeting at Kananaskis earlier this year  every visiting
head of state/government got one. Only Jacques Chirac refused to wear
his for the group photo. But you may have heard we've always had
problems with the French. (Sheesh, you'd think he'd at least try it on
out of symbolic thanks to the fact that France's economy used to depend
heavily upon beaver pelts imported from Canada from as far west as
Spokane, Provo and Fort Astoria...)

Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high
and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our
--Michelangelo Buonarroti

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the
author solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the
authorís employer, nor those of any organization with which the author
may be associated.

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