AL­BERTA AND LAKE LOUISE

(For Vic­to­ria’s vi­va­cious daugh­ter)

Canada's History - - ROOTS -

In 1878, Queen Vic­to­ria’s fourth daugh­ter, Princess Louise Car­o­line Al­berta, be­came the first princess to cross the At­lantic Ocean when her hus­band John Camp­bell, Lord Lorne, be­came the fourth Gov­er­nor Gen­eral of Canada since Con­fed­er­a­tion. For the first time roy­alty moved into Rideau Hall, and the Cana­dian public was fas­ci­nated by the res­i­dent princess.

The Ot­tawa cor­re­spon­dent for The Times of Lon­don wrote on De­cem­ber 24, 1878: “Mat­ters of state pale in pop­u­lar es­ti­ma­tion in com­par­i­son with the move­ments of the Princess. The fact that she has been skat­ing, she has been out walk­ing daily, vis­it­ing the Chaudière Falls and city shops, she car­ries a light cane while walk­ing — these mat­ters call forth lively com­ments wher­ever men or women con­gre­gate.”

There had al­ready been “lively com­ments” about Louise’s ac­tiv­i­ties be­fore she left Bri­tain. Louise was the first princess to at­tend a public ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tion, at­tend­ing the Na­tional Art Train­ing School in Lon­don to de­velop her tal­ents as a painter and sculp­tor. She was also an ad­vo­cate of women’s rights, en­cour­ag­ing ed­u­ca­tion for girls and meet­ing pri­vately with suf­frag­ists. And her mar­riage to Lord Lorne marked the first time an English princess had mar­ried a non-royal hus­band since 1515.

Lord Lorne and Princess Louise en­cour­aged Cana­dian artists to ex­hibit their works in Canada, rather than go­ing abroad to the United States or Great Bri­tain, as was the usual prac­tice at the time. They founded the Royal Cana­dian Academy of Arts and the Na­tional Gallery of Canada, with Louise do­nat­ing one of her paint­ings to the col­lec­tion.

Un­for­tu­nately, Louise was in­jured in a sleigh­ing ac­ci­dent in 1881 and spent long pe­ri­ods of time re­cov­er­ing her health in Ber­muda and Europe. Although her ab­sence led to spec­u­la­tion that she did not en­joy Cana­dian so­ci­ety, she in fact main­tained an in­ter­est in Canada long after Lord Lorne’s term as Gov­er­nor Gen­eral ended in 1883.

There might have been a prov­ince called Louise to­day, ex­cept that when the then-dis­trict was be­ing named after her in 1882 the princess pre­ferred that it carry the name she had in­her­ited from her fa­ther — Al­berta. Her other fa­mous name­sake land­mark — Lake Louise in Al­berta’s Rocky Moun­tains — is known for its quiet beauty and is one of Canada’s best-known tourist at­trac­tions. The princess her­self was ev­i­dently fond of Al­berta. She wrote in 1924, “I am in­tensely proud of this beau­ti­ful and won­der­ful Prov­ince be­ing called after me, and that my hus­band should have thought of it.”

42 Princess Louise, Mon­treal, 1878.

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