M9126.96.36.1991 | Queen Victoria
John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
About 1870-1880, 19th century
Ink on paper - Wood engraving
27.5 x 23.1 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords: female (19035) , portrait (53878) , Print (10661)
Keys to History
Queen Victoria was the symbol of British power around the world in an Empire where the sun never sets. In Canada, even French Canadian politicians like George-Étienne Cartier might name their children after Her Majesty and, naturally, the bridge over the St. Lawrence in Montreal would be named after her. The Queen was invited to inaugurate the bridge but sent instead her eldest son, Albert Edward. Across Canada, and particularly in Montreal, committees were organized to celebrate the British connection as symbolized by the arrival of the Prince of Wales.
Source : Confederation: The Creation of Canada [Web tour], by Brian J. Young, McGill University (see Links)
The Crown in 19th-century Canada symbolized much more than monarchy. It represented a collectivity of historic rights that continued in the Canadian state established at Confederation.
Although Queen Victoria's empire surrounded the globe, Canada had particular status as a Land of Promise. It was hoped that, with Confederation, a strong British dominion would share the continent with the American republic.
Expectations for Queen Victoria's Canadian dominion peaked in the 1860s with the completion of the Victoria Bridge, the holding of the Great Exhibition and the launching of the Confederation experiment.
From her ascent to the throne in 1837 to her death in 1901, Queen Victoria was a symbol of British achievement in technology, culture and empire. We call the span of her monarchy the Victorian Period.