Royal Visit Dinner
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 24 Jun 1965, p. 1-13
Media Type
Item Type
A Royal Visit Dinner in Honour of The Toronto Scottish Regiment and The Royal Canadian Military Institute.
Date of Original
24 Jun 1965
Language of Item
Copyright Statement
The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.
Empire Club of Canada
Agency street/mail address:

Fairmont Royal York Hotel

100 Front Street West, Floor H

Toronto, ON, M5J 1E3

Full Text
JUNE 24, 1965 Royal Visit Dinner
IN HONOUR OF The Toronto Scottish Regiment
The Royal Canadian Military Institute
CHAIRMAN The Immediate Past President
Lt. Col. Robert H. Hilborn, M.B.E.

Your Majesty, Your Honour, Right Honourable Sir, Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Minister, Your Worship, Mr. Chairman Metropolitan, My Lords, My Lady, Colonel Learment, distinguished Head Table Guests, Officers of The Toronto Scottish Regiment, Members of the Royal Canadian Military Institute, and the Empire Club of Canada: May it please Your Majesty. On behalf of all present at this magnificent and historic dinner I respectfully extend to Your Majesty a Royal welcome.

Seated here tonight, Your Majesty, are the past and present officers of your Regiment and with them officers of the three services in Canada's Armed Forces who proudly unite, without surrender of individual loyalties and traditions, in the Royal Canadian Military Institute.

As hosts, gathered to do honour to Your Majesty, to Your Majesty's Regiment and to the Military Institute, are the members of the Empire Club of Canada representing a broad cross-section of the citizens of this city and metropolitan area-the church, the professions, commerce and the arts, including politics. And may I say that there are here tonight representatives from all levels of government and equally, I trust, on this great and royal occasion, representatives of those who would govern.

We are deeply conscious of the signal honour of Your Majesty's presence during this, the first private visit to one of Your Majesty's Regiments in the Commonwealth outside of the United Kingdom. We of the Empire Club of Canada are particularly proud indeed, to honour, in the presence of its Colonel-in-Chief, The Toronto Scottish Regiment on the occasion of its Golden Jubilee and to pay tribute to the Royal Canadian Military Institute on its 75th Anniversary.

May I be permitted to say that the warmth of the welcome Your Majesty has and will receive on this great occasion of your visit to Toronto is bound up in a very special way with the admiration that all Canadians feel for what you are in yourself.

Your Majesty with your late and beloved husband, King George VI, bore a responsibility unparalleled in the world. Your Majesty continues to consecrate your life to the public service and to show constantly, faith in God, a great concern for human well-being and a delight in the joys of family life. These qualities and values bind us to you with an affection for your presence that is greater even than our sense of the majesty of your position.

The Honorary Colonel of The Toronto Scottish Regiment, Colonel The Right Honourable Lord Thomson of Fleet will propose a toast to the Colonel-in-Chief following which the Commanding Officer, Colonel Learment, will come forward to make the presentation. With Your Majesty's permission, due to the presence of large numbers of very welcome but generally uninitiated Sassenachs, the toast will not be proposed with the usual Highland honours.


A traditional loyal toast at all Mess Dinners of The Toronto Scottish Regiment is one to our beloved and gracious Colonel-in-Chief. Regrettably, as this toast is usually proposed "in absentia", there can be no response, but it is no less heartfelt for all that.

Tonight we are honoured in the rare presence of our Colonel-in-Chief. Ladies and Gentlemen, I ask you to rise, charge your glasses and drink with me to the health of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, Colonel-in-Chief of The Toronto Scottish Regiment.


May it please Your Majesty. As a token of the warm regard and deep affection that the members of The Toronto Scottish Regiment hold for their Colonel-in-Chief, and to mark the presence of Her Majesty on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Regiment, I have the honour, on behalf of all ranks of the Regiment, to proffer Your Majesty this Regimental brooch and trust that it will continue to serve as a symbol of the loyal devotion and feeling of warm regard held by all ranks of the Regiment for our Colonel-in-Chief.


I thank you, Lord Thomson, for your kindness in proposing my health. I am deeply touched by the manner in which this toast has been honoured. May I ask you, Colonel Learment, to convey to all ranks of my Regiment my heartfelt thanks for this beautiful brooch, a replica of the Regimental Badge. I shall wear it with pride and it will always bring to me warm and happy memories of my visits, in peace and in war, to the Toronto Scottish and recollections of this most enjoyable dinner.

I think that I fell in love with Canada when the King and I came here in 1939. And each time I come back my feeling of affection seems to grow. So, it is a great pleasure for me to be once again in Toronto, where this evening, as on all previous occasions, I have been so much moved by the warmth of your welcome.

I am happy that this visit affords me the opportunity of dining not only with the officers of my Regiment but also with the members of both the Royal Canadian Military Institute and the Empire Club of Canada. These three institutions are firm bulwarks in a changing world preserving and perpetuating those traditions which have contributed so much to the greatness of Canada. The unity of the Commonwealth finds expression in such enduring organizations with their common attachment to the principles of peace and freedom.

To the Empire Club of Canada I extend my gratitude for the honour you do my Regiment tonight. Your name reminds us of the unique service of the British Commonwealth in linking and harmonizing the Old world and the New. Your constant efforts for a united Canada have proclaimed for over sixty years the ideals of faith, responsible nationhood and loyalty to your Sovereign.

Many of you in this room have served with more than one of the three distinguished organizations represented here. In our Chairman of this gathering we have a former Commanding Officer of my Regiment, a member of the Institute and also the Immediate Past President of this Club.

This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the Royal Canadian Military Institute. I congratulate its members for being constant and faithful to the high aims and objects set out three quarters of a century ago. Great and honourable military traditions have been nurtured and stimulated, sometimes in difficult days when support and encouragement were sorely needed.

I am very happy that this dinner brings me the opportunity of meeting the present and former officers of my Regiment. Those of you who have served in two wars, and in the years of peace, not only do me honour by your presence here tonight but you give strength and inspiration to those who carry on with the same devotion in the service of our Regiment and of our Queen. May they, and those who follow them, be moved by the traditions of the past to maintain and further these high standards of devotion to duty, efficiency and loyalty which are so precious a heritage of our Regiment.


Your Majesty, may I say on behalf of all present, how deeply grateful we are for your presence and for the warmth and inspiration of Your Majesty's message. Your words and the remembrance of this great occasion will remain with us to hearten us and encourage us.

It is my pleasure to call upon one who discharged with great distinction his duties as President of the Empire Club of Canada during its Diamond Jubilee year in 1963, Major Arthur Langley, to propose a toast to the Royal Canadian Military Institute.


Mr. Chairman, Your Majesty, Your Honour, My Lady, Right Honourable and distinguished sirs: His Excellency The Governor General, Georges Vanier, recently said of the Royal Canadian Military Institute, that it has done much to preserve and stimulate that sense of honourable, loyal and united service which is the real strength of Canada's Armed Forces. I know that it is because The Toronto Scottish so ideally typify these virtues that the Institute has been pleased to join in this tribute to Your Majesty's Regiment.

The Military Institute is without parallel in this country with its magnificent library and museum dedicated to the promotion of military science and literature and to the preservation of our military history and traditions. The Institute is a unique rallying point for all of our sea, land and air services, regular and reserve, serving and ex-service.

It is a great privilege to salute this famous Canadian institution by extending it our heartiest congratulations on its 75th Anniversary of devoted service to Queen and to country. Again in General Vanier's words, "May it long continue so to serve". Would you rise now and with me toast the Institute.


Thank you, Major Langley.

Responding to this toast is the honoured President of the Royal Canadian Military Institute, Captain John Lake


Mr. Chairman, Your Majesty, Your Honour, My Lady, Right Honourable Sirs, distinguished guests and gentlemen: I should like to thank Major Langley for his glowing tribute to the Royal Canadian Military Institute on its 75th Anniversary. We shall always be indebted to the Empire Club of Canada for honouring the Institute and permitting our members to participate in this historic occasion of Your Majesty's famous Regiment.

The Institute is proud indeed that its membership of more than 2,000 navy, army and air force officers includes many distinguished officers who have served or are now serving with The Toronto Scottish Regiment. With their strong support together with that of our other members, I feel confident that the Royal Canadian Military Institute will continue to remain the constant guardian of Canada's ideals and principles of military tradition and of service to our Queen and country. Thank you.


Another distinguished Past President of the Empire Club who, not content to rest upon laurels earned during his year of 1958, has continued to serve without stint or stipend. This magnificent dinner tonight has been his most recent responsibility, and is eloquent testimony to his energy, contrivance and unselfish dedication. Colonel Bruce J. Legge will propose a toast to the Empire Club of Canada.


Mr. Chairman, Your Majesty, Your Honour, My Lady, Right Honourable, gallant and distinguished gentlemen: It is an exhilarating honour to speak as a royalist among royalists, a commonwealth man among commonwealth men and a Canadian among Canadians.

In the Empire Club of Canada we believe that the Pax Britannica was the beginning of the great new age and it is becoming more golden as the Commonwealth evolves. At the height of that peace the Empire Club was formed to advance the interests of Canada and the Commonwealth and Empire. The Empire Club is not a club like other clubs. We uphold our historical name and traditions, but lest you think we are too complimentary to ourselves, let me tell you a Scottish tale.

A distraught widow sat at her husband's funeral, intent on the minister's eulogy. As the superb hyperbole rolled on, incredulity overcame her grief, she stopped crying and said to her son: "Laddie, hurry up to the coffin, look inside and see if it's really your father he's talking about."

In the case of the Commonwealth truth is the purest praise. To each of us the Commonwealth is many things. It is full of spectacular discoveries and replete with learning, bravery and splendors. It is the Charge of the Light Brigade, the Battle of Trafalgar, the Dieppe Raid. It is the Changing of the Guard, both at Buckingham Palace and on Parliament Hill. The Commonwealth is the C.P.R., the East India Company, and now the Colombo Plan. The Commonwealth is charming with customs. Both Britain and Canada are tribal countries and we relish the kilts and the pipes and drums of our Highland, Irish and Scottish Regiments. The Commonwealth is political and judicial excellence. Seven hundred and fifty years ago the Magna Charta gave to all Her Majesty's subjects civil liberty, and the Queen has now dedicated an English acre as the Kennedy Memorial at Runnymede. The Commonwealth is the parliaments of free men, in Westminster or New Delhi. It is the Bill of Rights. It is trial by jury. The Commonwealth is John Locke, Gandhi, Laurier and Sir John A. Macdonald. The Commonwealth is of the mind and soul. It is Cardinal Newman, John Knox and John Wesley. It is Watson-Watt and radar; Fleming and penicillin; Best and Banting and insulin. It is the graces of the incomparable Royal Ballet. It is a free press ringing with the names of the Times, the Guardian and Lord Thomson's papers in every Canadian town.

To all of us the Commonwealth is something unique and full of example but impossible of description. It is like the sovereignty of a gracious Queen. To some it is an empire for trade, an imperial ice age, and there are those who with unseemly haste would bury the commonwealth too.

The immortal Churchill told a story of the man whose mother-in-law died in California. He was asked for instructions about her burial, and wired his reply: "Embalm, cremate, bury--take no chances."

May it please Your Majesty, the Empire Club cannot be buried for it is part of the new ideal, the Commonwealth of free peoples. Everyone knows that our members are friends who have met for over 60 years to listen in famous forum. Our Club is both royal and loyal. Our Honorary President, the Governor General, Georges Vanier, has eloquently recalled the diversity of our origins. No one exceeds him and our members in fealty to our sovereign lady, the Queen: "The Empire Club is distinctively Canadian and in serving. Canada serves the Commonwealth."

On this glorious occasion when the Club entertains Her Majesty at dinner with her Regiment, The Toronto Scottish, I ask you to drink a toast to the Empire Club of Canada.


Thank you, Colonel Legge. Responding to this toast is Colonel E. A. Royce, Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the 7th Toronto Regiment, R.C.A., and the eminent President of the Empire Club of Canada. Colonel Royce.


Mr. Chairman, Your Majesty, My Lady, My Lords, distinguished guests, gentlemen--as a gunner among the infantry, a Sassenach among the Scots and a man whose speech has just been given by the preceding speaker, my position is none too attractive! Colonel Legge has spoken kindly of the Empire Club of Canada as well he might since he has been one of the chief architects of the Club in recent years, however he has spoken kindly of us and I thank him. With the Chairman, it is a great pleasure to welcome our good friends from the Royal Canadian Military Institute and our special guests the Toronto Scottish Regiment whose Colonel-in-Chief we are so proud to honour in the person of that gracious and beloved lady, the Queen Mother.

When the Empire Club was formed almost 62 years ago, the founding members agreed that its work and policy should be devoted to the unity of the Empire. The qualities that built that Empire, courage, loyalty and dedication to duty, remain as important today as they ever were in the past and certainly no one has more fully embodied these qualities or contributed more to this unity than our royal guest tonight.

We of the Empire Club believe that the Commonwealth and Empire have yet a glorious part to play in the unfolding story of mankind, we believe in Canada, undivided, within the Commonwealth, and we believe that this family of nations can best fulfill its destiny when bound together by the golden cord of the Monarchy. These are our beliefs, constant and unchanging despite the passage of more than 60 years and two great wars which changed so much. These beliefs inspired our founders, sustained their successors over the years and still illuminate a path which we trust will always be that of tolerance, justice and freedom under the British Crown.


To propose the toast to The Toronto Scottish Regiment is one from the Senior Service who served with distinction under the White Ensign on the Atlantic, on the Pacific and in the Mediterranean during World War II, and who now, under a Red Ensign, is the honoured Captain of our Provincial Ship of State.

A very warm welcome to the distinguished Prime Minister of Ontario, The Honourable John P. Robarts.


Your Majesty, Your Honour, distinguished guests, gentlemen: It is rather fun to be a sailor among a group of soldiers. I would say, Your Majesty, on the occasion of your visit here to Toronto we are afforded an opportunity, as has been amply demonstrated by those who have stood here before me, to express our very warm and very sincere sentiments of affection and loyalty to Your Majesty, to the Royal Family and to extend you a welcome befitting this very historic occasion.

Here in this gathering tonight in honour of The Toronto Scottish Regiment and to pay tribute to the Royal Canadian Military Institute which is celebrating its 75th Anniversary, we meet under the aegis of the Empire Club of Canada which last year celebrated 60 years of service, not only in this City but far beyond its boundaries. And we are, Your Majesty, very deeply conscious of the honour all of us enjoy as you visit our Province of Ontario.

I think we all recall those days of 26 years ago when you and your gracious husband, King George VI, crossed Canada from ocean to ocean, from east to west. We welcome you now as we did in those days with full hearts and with very deep emotion. We also remember when you returned home from that visit, at a luncheon in the Guild Hall which took place 26 years ago yesterday on the 23rd day of June, 1939, in referring to his journey across Canada His Majesty, King George VI said, and I think these words have significance 26 years later and I quote: "It was the desire to serve the ideals of the Commonwealth which led me to undertake my journey, to foster its sane and wholesome faith, to show if I could that its headship, which I have been called upon to assume, exists today as a potent force for promoting peace and good-will among mankind. These were the objects that I, and the Queen with me, set out to fulfill. It will be a source of thankfulness to us all our lives long if we have in some sort succeeded."

On this occasion 26 years later it is a great honour for me to say that the understanding, the friendship, the goodwill then so manifested by Your Majesties with such sincerity accomplished its dedicated purpose. All of this Commonwealth of Nations, I would suggest, are one family, and one household, and in leaving the old land to visit Canada and the Canadian domain, you simply come from one home to visit another.

In 1937, Your Majesty, you graciously consented to become the Colonel-in-Chief of The Toronto Scottish Regiment, an event which will always serve to recall to you the ties which unite Canada and your native Scotland. This Regiment sprang from the 75th Canadian Infantry Battalion, recruited during the First World War. The first Colours were presented to the Battalion on March 16th, 1916, by the late Thomas L. Church who at that time was considered to be the perpetual Mayor of Toronto, and this has only served to prove the fallibility of man. That Battalion went through many engagements in France, was awarded 16 battle honours and after the return of the infantry unit to Toronto by General Orders it was redesignated The Toronto Scottish Regiment. It is allied with the 14th County of London Battalion which is the London Scottish Regiment. Now the motto of this Regiment, Your Majesty, is "Carry On", and I feel that this has probably been interpreted on some occasions in more ways than one.

In May of 1939, Your Majesty, you presented new Colours to your Regiment on the campus of the University of Toronto. The fall of 1939, of course, saw the Regiment in war once again. Mobilized to full strength in a very short period of time, the Regiment was the first complete Canadian unit to land in the United Kingdom following the commencement of hostilities in World War II. It was the first Canadian Militia Regiment ever to mount guard on Buckingham Palace, and through the history of the fighting in France -I will not attempt to detail the engagements-suffice it is to say, in the words of Major General A. B. Matthews, and I quote: "It was a tower of strength with a degree of morale unexcelled anywhere in the Canadian Forces and in keeping with the highest standards and fine tradition of the Regiment."

The active unit was disbanded on December 31st, 1945, to become once more a Militia Unit and in June, 1947, was redesignated The Toronto Scottish Regiment, and its history at that time had come full circle. The 75th Battalion had begun as an infantry unit and now after 30 years and a variety of designations and roles, The Toronto Scottish Regiment became again an infantry formation. It is interesting to note here that The Toronto Scottish is the only Regiment bearing the City's name and the brooch worn with full dress bears the crest of Metropolitan Toronto.

Ladies and Gentlemen, will you rise, charge your glasses and drink with me a toast to the continued glorious service and existence of The Toronto Scottish Regiment.


The gallant Commanding Officer of the Toronto Scottish Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel J. Donald Learment.


Mr. Chairman, Your Majesty, Your Honour, honourable gentlemen, My lords, My lady, distinguished guests, gentlemen: May it please Your Majesty. On behalf of the 75th Battalion and its successor, The Toronto Scottish Regiment, I thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for your kind words in proposing the toast to the Regiment.

When a Commanding Officer speaks for his Regiment it is with pride and affection. When a Regiment is born it is recognized that it must stand or fall on its performance in times of peace or war. If it performs adequately or distinguishes itself it is only doing that which is expected of it by its sovereign and its homeland. Perhaps our greatest concern at present is not the past 50 years but the half century that lies ahead. We have much to be thankful for. The quality of that small coterie of Mississauga Horse that saw the beginning of the 75th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, with their magnificent record of service, and the emergence of the Toronto Scottish Regiment with its outstanding contribution in World War II provide a 50 year saga of which all members are extremely proud.

We are grateful to have been welcomed into the London Scottish family. The presence of former and serving members of that famous Regiment serve as a reminder to all of the benefits of such an affiliation. Colonel Niekirk, we are proud to have you with us and thank you for our relationship with your Regiment.

We do enjoy one advantage that befalls few Regiments. The Queen Mother belongs to all of us, but to The Toronto Scottish our Colonel-in-Chief has exercised an unusually real and continuing influence. The Queen Mother's activities and interest in her Regiment have on many occasions strengthened our resolve to carry out our allotted tasks. May I assure Your Majesty that it is our intention to continue to nourish the traditions of Old Caledonia and it is with firm resolve and confidence that Your Majesty's Regiment faces the next half century.

To the Empire Club of Canada our thanks for providing this magnificent forum and your considerate and generous attendance.

Mr. Prime Minister, on behalf of the 75th Battalion and The Toronto Scottish Regiment, I wish to thank you for your kind and thoughtful toast. This Regiment is very grateful.

Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.


Royal Visit Dinner

A Royal Visit Dinner in Honour of The Toronto Scottish Regiment and The Royal Canadian Military Institute.