Royal Spring


A beautiful and nostalgic look at the royal tour that captured a generation — the first visit of a reigning monarch to Canada. This six week visit from the Atlantic to the Pacific and back again (with a short excursion to the United States) enthralled a young nation.

Fifty years ago, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth arrived at Quebec City to tour "the senior daughter of the dominions". This is a fond recollection of those few magic weeks and the outpouring of affection for the new king and his beautiful wife. Filled with contemporary pictures and anecdotes, this book captures the feeling of the times with a look at the way Canadians reacted to seeing their sovereign: the formal and informal photographs, the speeches and tributes, the advertising art, the menus for formal dinners, the music and poetry composed for the event.

The second section of the book chronicles the King and Queen’s other visits to Canada before and after that epochal visit. The King was here as a young man. The Queen Mother has been to Canada many times since 1939, and in a moving speech at Queen’s Park in Toronto in 1979 reflecting on the tour she said "I lost my heart to Canada and Canadians…."

Royal Spring includes an 8-page section on the most recent and golden anniversary visit — July 1989.


Royal Spring is not only thoroughly researched and presented, but a firm piece of nostalgia for anyone who remembers the 1939 tour.


Royal Spring is a fond and nostalgic recollection of those few magic weeks that captured the imagination of a generation of Canadians. It is also a chronicle of fifty years of other visits by the King and Queen both before and after that most memorable of tours.

Berkswell’s Royal Year 1990

Arthur Bousfield and Gary Toffoli have written an excellent account of that royal visit by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to Canada and the U.S. in 1939.

Royal Book News

In Royal Spring [the authors] have not only recounted in descriptive narrative the highlights of the 1939 tour, the first by a reigning monarch, but have drawn upon many sources for the accompanying photographs.

The Reviewing Librarian

About the Authors

Garry Toffoli

Posted by Dundurn Guest on October 30, 2014

Garry Toffoli

Garry Toffoli is an author, editor, media commentator, publisher, and administrator. He writes and lectures on royal, constitutional, political, military, and heritage subjects, and lives in Toronto.