The world’s first equestrian statue of Her Majesty The Queen was unveiled on Parliament Hill by Her Majesty on July 1, 1992, in honour of the 125th anniversary of Confederation and the 40th anniversary of her reign. She is depicted riding astride her horse Centenial, a gift from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to mark their 100th anniversary. The bronze statue is one and a half times larger than life, standing at 4 metres tall. The base is made of granite from the Laurentians and measures 3.7 metres tall, 4.3 metres long and 1.5 metres wide. In total, the monument weighs 1225 kilograms.
Due to the major rehabilitation of the Centre Block on Parliament Hill over the next 10 years, the Queen Elizabeth II Equestrian Monument has been temporarily relocated in front of Rideau Hall’s main gate on Sussex Drive. The monument is a visual indicator of arrival at Rideau Hall and marks the beginning of the ceremonial avenue up to the residence; a fitting choice, as Rideau Hall is the official residence and workplace of the governor general, The Queen’s representative in Canada, and where Her Majesty stays when she is in Ottawa. It was installed in the new location in May 2019 and a formal inauguration ceremony to welcome the monument to its new location was held on June 12, 2019.
Not far from the new location, you will find the RCMP Musical Ride Stables where Centenial, the horse depicted in the monument, was trained. The RCMP stables are open to the public.
Jack Harman – Sculptor
Jack Harman (1927–2001) was a sculptor from Vancouver, British Columbia, who came to prominence in Canada and abroad in the 1980s. He was selected in 1990 to create an equestrian monument of Her Majesty. It required a team of 10 people and 2 years to complete. His other works include the Peacekeeping Monument on Sussex Drive in Ottawa.
Centenial was a gift to Her Majesty in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the RCMP. On August 2, 1973, Her Majesty selected the horse—then known as Jerry—from a group of five geldings at the RCMP stables in Ottawa, Ontario. Jerry stayed with the RCMP for saddle horse and Musical Ride training as per Her Majesty’s request. Sergeant Fred Rasmussen had trained the first horse gifted by the RCMP to Her Majesty, Burmese, and subsequently was given the responsibility for Jerry’s training. The horse was presented to Her Majesty at Windsor Castle on May 15, 1977, and renamed Centenial. Centenial was the second of eight horses that have been presented to Her Majesty by the RCMP to date.
Her Majesty at Rideau Hall
Rideau Hall is the official residence of Her Majesty when she is in Canada. Her Majesty’s first visit was as princess in 1951, when she square danced in the Ballroom and planted her first ceremonial tree, a sugar maple, on the grounds. She has returned as Queen many more times and planted four other ceremonial trees that serve as a timeline of her connection with Canada.
Echoes of Her Majesty’s visits can also be seen inside the residence. A Royal commemorative stained glass window, unveiled in 1992, illuminates the Entrance Hall. At the end of your tour, walk through the front door, officially designated The Queen’s Entrance, and live your own Royal moment.