Canadians gush over queen's nod to hockey
Queen Elizabeth II celebrated Canada's 143rd birthday Thursday before a crowd of tens of thousands of people who cheered her on as she saluted the Canadian men's hockey team's recent Olympic win.
Canada has become "an example to the world," the country's titular head of state said in a nationally televised address during a visit to the capital with her husband Prince Philip.
"During my lifetime, I have been a witness to this country for more than half its history since confederation," she said. "I have watched with enormous admiration how Canada has grown and matured.
"The recent success of the Vancouver Olympics was about more than just the thrill of a gold medal for Canada's hockey team," the British monarch said to a roaring crowd.
"As well as renewing a sense of common purpose within this country, the Olympics showed to others something of the extraordinary warmth and enthusiasm of the people."
In Ottawa, the royals were treated to Canada Day celebrations that included live music and dance, a ceremonial changing of the guard and a flyover by a formation of jets. Fireworks were planned for the evening.
During her 22nd official tour of the country, the 84-year-old monarch will also travel to Winnipeg, Manitoba to attend a horse race, and then wrap up her tour in Toronto, where she is due to visit Research in Motion, the maker of the popular BlackBerry device.
© 2010 AFP