In 1919, the twenty-five-year-old Edward, Prince of Wales, visited Vancouver Island as part of a Canada-wide royal tour. The royal visit to Canada in 1919 lasted about two months and took place between August and November, when Prince Edward’s trip took him to the United States. This photograph, from September 1919, shows the Prince on his visit to Qualicum Beach.
The tradition of the royal tours dates back to 1786, when Prince William (later King William IV) made the first of many trips across the Atlantic to Halifax. This 1919 trip was one of four visits Edward made to Canada, including two visits to his Alberta ranch.
Later known as King Edward VIII, Edward would famously go on to abdicate the throne in order to marry the twice divorced American woman Wallis Simpson. His abdication in December of 1936 and subsequent marriage to a divorcée would create quite a stir at the time, and his wife would not be permitted to adopt any special titles as a result of their marriage.
This photograph, taken long before the scandal that would result from Edward’s marriage and abdication, shows Qualicum Beach just after the First World War. While he was in Qualicum, the Prince paid a visit to the Qualicum Beach Hotel, where a line of soldiers were gathered, awaiting his inspection. During the war, the Qualicum Beach Hotel had been used as a military convalescent hospital for solders who had returned from combat. In the centre of this image, Edward is shown greeting crowds of spectators in Qualicum.