Queen draws thousands

About 10,000 people turned up in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday to catch a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

The royal visitors were in Centretown to re-dedicate the refurbished Canadian Museum of Nature and to officially unveil a statue in front of the National Arts Centre honouring the famed Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson.

Lined four and five deep down Elgin Street from the National War Memorial to Queen Street, crowds cheered as the Queen’s motorcade passed by, offering a brief peek of the monarch in a baby-blue hat.

The crowds were diverse, with young, old, and new Canadians holding their cameras high above their heads in hopes of snapping an image of the royal couple.

Expecting a walkabout, little girls in dresses clutched flowers and waved flags far from the actual dedication ceremony.

Margot Simpson, 75, said she was thrilled just to be able to catch a quick look at the Queen. But others were disappointed by the fact that the ceremony was almost entirely blocked by a media stage.

“It would have been nice to see her for more than two seconds after waiting here for an hour, but I guess we’ll get another chance tomorrow,” said Devin Yakabuskie.

The royal couple and their entourage left immediately after the statue dedication to attend a tree planting ceremony at Rideau Hall.

The Queen was also a star attraction at the Canada Day celebrations on Thursday.