U of T hosted a commemoration ceremony for Queen Elizabeth II on September 19 at Soldiers’ Tower. The ceremony took place on the same day as the late Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey in London, England.

On September 13, the government of Canada declared that September 19 would be a federal holiday and a national day of mourning for the Queen’s passing. However, U of T classes proceeded as normal as Ontario Premier Doug Ford did not declare a provincial holiday on September 19.

The commemoration ceremony began with a musical performance of a bagpipe piece, followed by a land acknowledgement and speech by U of T President Meric Gertler. 

In his remarks, Gertler praised the Queen’s legacy of service to people across the Commonwealth “in a reign of historically unprecedented change.”

“Her Majesty led with remarkable grace and dignity. Through her selfless devotion to duty, she was a vital source of solidarity and continuity. Her example will stand as an inspiration to many and for generations to come,” said Gertler.

The president also extended support on behalf of the university to the Queen’s successor and eldest son, King Charles III, as well as Camilla, Queen Consort: “We wish them both health and strength for many years to come.”

Additionally, the commemoration included musical performances from members of the Faculty of Music. Attendees also observed 96 seconds of silence, one for each year of the Queen’s life. 

The ceremony ended with the tolling of the Soldiers’ Tower Bourdon 70 times, once for each of the late Queen’s 70-year reign.