National mourning period begins in Canada after Queen Elizabeth II’s death, but no indication of public holiday

After the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, a period of mourning has begun in Canada and preparations are underway for a commemoration ceremony in Ottawa.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Thursday the “coming days will be a period of mourning for Canadians, as it will be for all Commonwealth citizens.”

Flags at all federal government buildings — including Canada’s diplomatic buildings abroad — were lowered to half-mast on Thursday and will remain at half-mast until the day of the Queen’s funeral.

Several landmarks and buildings across Canada, including the Parliament and Senate buildings, will also be illuminated with a royal blue hue every night from sunset to midnight during the mourning period.

The prime minister said this mourning period will end with a national day of mourning when an official commemorative service is held to mark her passing. That commemorative service is set to be held at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa on the same day as the Queen’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

The time and date of the late Queen’s state funeral have yet to be confirmed by Buckingham Palace, but as per the “Operation London Bridge” plans that have been in place for years, her funeral is expected to take place around 10 days after her death.

“Operation London Bridge” also states that in the U.K., the day of the Queen’s funeral should be treated like a public holiday, unless the funeral falls on a weekend. According to the Manual of Official Procedure of the Government of Canada, the federal government may also decide to observe the national day of mourning as a public holiday, but the feds have not indicated any plans to do so.

The national commemorative ceremony in Canada will begin with a parade in Ottawa involving the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP. A 96-gun salute will also take place — with one round representing each year of Queen Elizabeth II’s life. CF-18 fighter jets will fly over Christ Church Cathedral and Parliament Hill to mark the end of the ceremony.

Guests at the invite-only ceremony in Ottawa will include government officials, foreign dignitaries and “representatives of organizations with whom Her Majesty had a close connection.” The ceremony will also be livestreamed for the public.

The House of Commons had been adjourned for the summer at the time of the Queen’s death, but had the House been in session, the manual states the prime minister could adjourn Parliament out of respect.

Although the manual states that MPs in the past have taken new oaths after the death of the sovereign, there is no legal requirement to do so. House Speaker Anthony Rota said in a statement on Thursday MPs “will not need to renew their oath of allegiance” given that their existing oath is “automatically extended to our new sovereign.”

Some Canadians may choose to wear black armbands during the mourning period. The Alberta government says wearing a black armband, along with a black necktie and dark coloured clothing, is “a sign of respect and a way to officially mourn the passage of a person of state importance.” Some municipalities, such as the City of Ottawa, have also been distributing black ribbon lapel pins.

The federal government, as well as provincial and municipal governments across the country, have invited Canadians to sign books of condolences. As of Friday, over 18,000 Canadians have signed the federal government’s online book of condolences.

A ceremony to proclaim the accession of King Charles III is also set to take place at Rideau Hall on Saturday morning.

With files from CTV News’ Rachel Aiello and CTV News Ottawa

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