Burlingtonians signing a Book of Best Wishes to celebrate the first birthday of Prince George.

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 24, 2014


During the past ten days the citizens of Burlington have been signing a very unique birthday card for the newest member of the Royal family:  George Alexander Louis was born July 22, 2013.

An article in the Gazette shortly after his birth, set out a list of age appropriate books for the young Prince to play with as he grows up to become the monarch of Canada at some point.

Cover of BBW as PNG file

Cover of the Book of Nest Wishes: Gold embossed type on a rich wine coloured leather produced by a master bookbinder.

Final bannerOut of that article grew an initiative to send the Prince a Book of Best Wishes every year of his life.  The Book was to be a handsome, craft bound leather book measuring 14 inches wide by 10 inches deep with pages for anyone who wanted to send a Best Wishes.

The Book will be presented to Council at the end of the month, where Council members, and anyone in the audience, can sign the book which will then get turned over to Burlington’s member of Parliament, Mike Wallace, who will take the Book of Best Wishes to Rideau Hall , home of the Governor General.  The Governor General will have the book transported to Kensington Palace where the Prince lives with his mother and father; the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Getting the initiative off the ground has been a task.  The originator of the idea found that he had to have a hip replaced just as the hard field work had to be done.

Joe Veitch, a recipient of the Rotary Paul Harris award, took on the task of pulling together a group of volunteers who would man the tables at the Seniors’ Centre, Tansley Woods and the public library.

Selina Jane McCall did much of the early design work and selected the type face for the project name” Royal Reading.

Susan Fraser, a nominee for one of the city’s BEST awards in 2012, took on the task of liaising with the Hayden Recreation Centre people, where she enticed people at the Centre, students at Hayden High and at the Alton library to sign the book.

Each person who signs the Book of Best Wishes is given a book mark – with a picture of the prince and wording to signify that they have signed.  Expect some of those early book marks to show up on eBay someday – they will take on the value of hockey trading cards.  There are those who will collect these book marks, which we will issue each year. Copies will be left with the Historical Society.

The name Royal Reading was used to signify a second part of the initiative which was to have the citizens of Burlington involved in the raising of the Prince as a Canadian.

Each year we celebrate his birthday,  a few age appropriate books would be sent, not as a gift, but as a part of the process that gives the Prince a sense as to what Canada is all about.

At some point the Prince will get to read Dennis Lee’s Alligator Pie  and Roch Carrier’s The Hockey Sweater.  He will be introduced to the work of W.O. Mitchell and Farley Mowat as well as Mordecai Richler and Gabrielle Roy.

Book mark V2 bigger type

The bookmark that people will take away once they have signed the Book of Best Wishes from the citizens of Burlington to the Prince on his first birthday.

Three copies of each book will be purchased with one being sent to whichever Palace the Prince is living in, a second copy that will go into general circulation at the Burlington Public Library with an inscription inside explaining  that the title was also sent to the Prince.

A third copy will get placed in a space at the Library that will be known as the Prince’s Bookshelf.

Given the way Royalty travels throughout the Commonwealth and indeed around the world, he will most certainly visit Canada.  Our hope,  and one of the things we will work towards,  is bringing the Prince to Burlington where he just might choose to read from one of his books to a circle of children at the library  or perhaps in a public setting at the Performing Arts Centre.

Wouldn’t that be something?

The Book of Best Wishes will be available at city hall on Friday June 3oth and in a booth in Spencer Smith Park on Canada Day.  Do drop by and join the thousands that will be taking part in the making of some history.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 comments to Burlingtonians signing a Book of Best Wishes to celebrate the first birthday of Prince George.

  • What a great idea…thank you Pepper for letting me know about this.

  • Joan

    I think that signing the book and the placement in the library etc. every year is a wonderful idea.
    It gives all citizens adults and children alike to take part in wishing the baby Prince George and future Monarch of the Commonwealth including Canada a Happy Birthday each year and leaves Prince George with thoughtful mementos of Burlington Ontario Canada and it’s citizens.