News reports of the day had as many as 10,000 people gathering to see Queen Elizabeth II make her one and only visit to Terrace on July 18, 1959.
Along with Prince Philip, the royal couple were flying from Whitehorse to Vancouver and made a 40-minute stop at the airport here.
Dignataries from Burns Lake to Prince Rupert gathered at the airport to greet the monarch, as did local young people.
Stories in the July 15, 2009 edition of The Terrace Standard, published on the 50th anniversary of the visit, brought out memories of the occasion.
Margaret McKeown, then 10, and a Girl Guide, had the honour of presenting flowers to the Queen.
“She asked me if all of the Scouts and Guides over there were from Terrace, or were some of them from Kitimat and Prince Rupert, or where else,” McKeown remembered in one of the stories published in that 2009 edition of The Terrace Standard.
“Even if I could have seen over the heads of the nearby crowd, I knew that I didn’t now the answer to her question. She pointed, with her finger, at the Scouts and Guides in question.
“I was stunned beyond recovery. The Queen, the utimate manifestation of correct social form, was pointing at people.”
The Queen’s motorcade which left the airport toward Terrace consisted of three vehicles and travelled what became known as the “royal route” road leading toward Terrace on the west side of the airport.
It was the only road into Terrace from the airport in those days and was subsequently renamed Queensway Drive in honour of the visit. The road was also paved, a matter of some note because asphalt was fairly rare back then.
Once over the old Skeena Bridge, the royal procession travelled west down Lakelse Ave., circling through the downtown before turning back east on Lakelse and back to the airport.
Catherine McRae, in the 2009 edition of The Terrace Standard, said she was only five years old at the time of the visit.
“Lakelse Ave. was lined with more excited, well-dressed people than I had ever seen or knew existed in the world,” she recalled.
“Perhaps only once in a lifetime will the Queen of England set foot in this part of the Empire’s fair Domain,” wrote the now-defunct Terrace Omineca Herald at the time. While the royal visit was brief, festivities surrounding it were not.
Townspeople turned the visit into a three-day affair, beginning July 17 and ending July 19, featuring a community barbecue, a square dance jamboree, movies at the Tillicum Theatre, an outdoor band concert, trapshooting and a huge baseball tournament attracting teams from as far away as Quesnel.