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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko’s State Visit to Canada

  July 8, 2009 at 3:52 am by

The Imperial Couple landed in Ottawa on Friday afternoon to kick off their 12-day state visit that will also take them to Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria.

The last time Akihito visited Canada, he was a 19-year-old Crown Prince on his way to attend the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. Although this visit is to commemorate the 80th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries, it is also to strengthen their common bonds.

The weekend activities were chosen in keeping with Akihito’s interest in natural science and his biological studies. They visited a tea room at the Mackenzie King Estate in Gatineau Park, Quebec and Ottawa’s Experimental Farm.

The official state visit began on Monday when the Imperial Couple rode in an open carriage up the winding road to Rideau Hall, the Governor General’s Residence, to be welcomed by Governor General Michaëlle Jean. He reviewed the GG’s guards and planted a Canadian hemlock tree in the GG’s private garden.

“We are most impressed with the effort the people of your country make in order to maintain nature in metropolitan areas and try to lead a healthy lifestyle,” said the Emperor as part of his address.

Later that afternoon, Akihito met with students at Carleton University before returning to Rideau Hall for informal talks with the Prime Minister.

GG Jean hosted a state dinner for the Imperial Couple and other dignitaries at Rideau Hall during the evening.

On Tuesday the Couple toured Parliament Hill and attended a gala reception at the National Gallery.

Many excited Japanese-Canadians could be seen among the crowds greeting the Imperial Couple.

You can follow the Imperial Couple’s state visit to Canada in the thread here.

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