When a princess saluted Canada’s ‘eager’ baby boomers at Rainbow Stage

Thousands of Manitoba schoolchildren were sitting in front of Princess Alexandra, giving Queen Elizabeth’s cousin a direct glimpse of the next generation of Canadians.

Just a few weeks ahead of Canada’s centennial in 1967, the princess was in Canada on a visit with her husband, Angus Ogilvy. She told the young baby boomers they had the right mindset to guide their country in the future.

But it was also her feeling that they would not face fewer challenges than those who came before them — although she seemed convinced they would succeed in tackling those challenges during the years and decades to come.

“No one can tell what the next 100 years will hold, but one thing is more or less certain and that is that our lives will not become less complicated,” the princess said on June 6, 1967, as she looked out at the crowd in front of the outdoor Rainbow Stage at Winnipeg’s Kildonan Park.

“World problems will not simplify, nor will they disappear.”

CBC ran an hour-long special highlighting Princess Alexandra’s visit to Manitoba in the spring of 1967. (CBC/CBC Archives)

But Alexandra said she believed “the youth of today are very conscious and aware of the difficulties that face us and are as eager as any to find a solution to them.”

The princess said “the future of this great nation” depended on its young people.

“If those I have met, during the course of our travels, are anything to go by, I am confident it is in good hands.”

Alexandra’s remarks were broadcast during an hour-long CBC-TV special.

Making time for the kids

A CBC camera caught a young woman taking a photo of Princess Alexandra from the seating area in front of the Rainbow Stage at Winnipeg’s Kildonan Park on June 6, 1967. (CBC/CBC Archives)

During the same event, the 30-year-old princess handed out centennial medallions to a dozen young Manitobans, all of whom had obviously practised their bows and curtseys ahead of time.

“The princess has frequently held up carefully timed events during her Canadian royal tour by stopping to talk to young people,” said Craig Oliver, who was then a journalist with the CBC, as footage of the students was shown during the television special.

Princess Alexandra and her husband had landed in Canada three weeks earlier, starting their travels in Toronto in mid-May.

The Globe and Mail reported that Alexandra chatted with some members of “the sparse crowd” that greeted them after they stepped off their plane in Toronto, with the paper noting her close interaction with those royal-watchers was too close for the liking of some on-duty Mounties.

The royal couple would also travel to British Columbia, the Prairies, Quebec, which included a visit to Expo 67) and Canada’s North by the time their itinerary had wrapped up a few weeks before the July 1 holiday,