Vice Regal Tours

In 1925 the Service was called upon to provide communications with the "outside" for the Governor General, Lord Byng, during his 1925 summer tour of the mighty Mackenzie River. Equipment which had just arrived for installation at Fort Smith was diverted temporarily for installation on the Hudson Bay Company's "S S Distributor". As a result the opening of the Fort Smith station was delayed until after the completion of this river trip.

Incidentally, the service provided for Lord Byng was the first of many occasions when NWT&Y Radio System personnel accompanied distinguished visitors throughout the North, ministering to their safety and comfort and furnishing the outside world with information on their activities enroute.

In 1956 two System stations, Aklavik and Norman Wells were favoured with a visit from the Governor General of Canada, Rt. Hon Vincent Massey, in the course of his tour of Northern Canada and the DEW Line during the latter part of March and early April. All members of the station staffs were presented to him. Special arrangements were made for the expeditious clearance of traffic and press releases over the System throughout the tour with Aklavik handling 20,000 words of press and Norman Wells, 14,000 words, most of which was relayed from the DEW Line sites through Cape Parry.

Royal Tour of 1959

Plans for the Royal Tour of Her Majesty the Queen and HRH Prince Philip in 1959 called for them to be in the Yukon and NWT from 18 to 21 July with visits scheduled for Whitehorse, Dawson, Mayo, Yellowknife and Uranium City. However after arrival at Whitehorse on the 18th, Her Majesty was taken ill and was unable to honour Dawson and Mayo with her presence the following day. Prince Phillip eased the disappointment of the citizens a great deal by carrying out these aerial visits. HRH spent 2 1/2 hours at Dawson inspecting the many interesting historic relics of the Gold Rush Days of '98 and an hour at Mayo looking over the rich mineral properties thence back to Whitehorse for the night of July 19th. The next day Her Majesty's health was a little better and she was flown direct to Edmonton to rest while Prince Philip completed the visits to Yellowknife and Uranium City. HRH spent an hour at Yellowknife and two hours at Uranium City Beaverlodge Lake inspecting gold and uranium mines before rejoining Her Majesty in Edmonton the night of the July 20th. The Queen had recovered sufficiently to attend the official functions planned by the City of Edmonton, such as opening of Coronation Park, on 21st July before boarding a special Royal Tour train for Saskatoon in the late afternoon.

The Northern phase of the Royal Tour did not affect System traffic to any great extent as the press party filed their material covering the Dawson and Mayo visits with the commercial telegraphs at Whitehorse and held the Yellowknife Uranium City material until arrival at Edmonton. Despite this, Dawson handled 122 Royal Tour messages, Mayo 25 and Yellowknife 76 during the short time the party was in the north. In addition, RC Signals at Dawson, Mayo and Fort Simpson rendered extensive air ground coverage of the various aircraft involved in this phase of the tour.

Shortly after the Dawson visit, the CO NWT&Y Radio System was in receipt of a letter from the Royal Tour Transport Officer asking that thanks be forwarded to Sgt. Joe Murree and his staff at RC Signals Radio Station, Dawson City for their kind assistance and cooperation which contributed largely to the success of the visit at that point.

- Excerpt from the Official History of the NWT&Y Radio System.

If anyone can add details, or point us in the direction to find a more complete accounts of these visits please send information to

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