MANITOBANS don't have to travel to London to share in the pomp and pageantry of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Sunday.
While the Queen enjoys a weekend of celebration in England, here in Winnipeg events are planned to mirror some of the monarch's festivities.
At 9:30 a.m. Sunday, breast cancer survivors will paddle a dragon boat down the Red River in sync with counterparts on the River Thames in London.
And while the Queen will sail down the Thames on the Royal Barge, across the pond, another Royal flotilla gets underway Sunday at 1 p.m. just north of the city.
Yachts decked out in royal colours will parade down the Red and Assiniboine rivers with the Queen's representative in Manitoba aboard. In the evening, more than 11,000 candles will be lit at Brookside Cemetery to honour military members who died.
"It's quite an event for us," said Bob Baranoski, commodore of the Royal Manitoba Yacht Club. The commodore will lead a flotilla of 20 yachts up the Red River to The Forks then down the Assiniboine to the Manitoba Legislature.
Baranoski's boat Knight Shift will have royalty aboard. Lt.-Gov. Philip Lee and his wife Anita are getting a lift to the legislative building.
"We're sure looking forward to doing this," Baranoski said Friday, sprucing up the yacht club, which received its royal charter in 1981.
Canada is among Commonwealth countries celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Queen's reign as monarch.
The yacht club was invited to form a flotilla by committee planning the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in Manitoba, he said.
"They came to us and asked if we'd be interested and it just worked out perfect," said the commodore.
"As yacht club members, we like to show our boats and what better way?"
Today, they'll be decking out their yachts in royal colours of purple and gold.
On Sunday, they leave the yacht club on the Red just north of Winnipeg at 1 p.m. and expect to arrive at the Manitoba Legislature in about 90 minutes.
"It's quite the honour to be asked," Baranoski said. Other boats are not welcome to spontaneously join the flotilla, he said.
"We're under police escort, front and back," said the commodore. "It's only for the Royal Manitoba Yacht Club." The boats will be flying the Royal standard.
"If you see it, it's very dignified."
And the weather forecast is looking respectable for another, slightly less-regal event. A mix of sun and cloud is forecast for Sunday morning's dragon boat paddle along the Red River
The Chemo Savvy team of breast cancer survivors are paddling 11 kilometres in sync with the Canadian dragon boat team that's taking part in the Pageant on the Thames in London. The Winnipeg paddlers leave the Redboine docks at 9:30 a.m. in their finest attire, with tea and cucumber sandwiches to follow.
A solemn but spectacular event is planned Sunday night.
The Diamond Jubilee candlelight service of remembrance takes place at 8:30 p.m. at Brookside Cemetery's Field of Honour.
Cadets will place a candle at each of the military monuments on each of the more than 11,000 monuments at Canada's oldest and largest military interment site.
The cadets will join veterans and guests at the Stone of Remembrance for the service with representatives from all three levels of government as well as the Queen's representative, the lieutenant-governor.
"The Royal Family has always been very involved with the military," said Dwight MacAulay, the province's chief of protocol and a member of the Diamond Jubilee organizing committee.
"We thought this would be a great thing to have, honouring the Queen's service to Canada and honouring the veterans at Brookside who did so much to preserve our way of life in Canada."