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Canadian history, art and the Royal Family's relationship to the country

Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom (1819-1901)

Tickertape 1858

Ink on paper | 6.5 x 31.0 x 3.5 cm (whole object) | RCIN 84450

The first transatlantic cable was laid between 1854 and 1858, and stretched from Newfoundland to Ireland. This is the tickertape recording of the first message transmitted along it, which was sent by Queen Victoria on 16 August 1858. Improvements were made to the line over several decades, and soon, messages that once took weeks to cross the Atlantic by ship were received the same day they were sent. It was via these cables that King George VI was informed of Newfoundland’s entry into Confederation in 1949.

Canada has often been at the forefront of technology. In 1876, the Scottish-born Canadian inventor Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call on his new invention and, in 1961, Canada and Britain were brought even closer together by the laying of one of the first transatlantic telephone lines, between Newfoundland and Scotland. Her Majesty The Queen made the first phone call on this new line, telephoning Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker in Ottawa from Buckingham Palace. During the call she reflected on the relationship between Canada and Britain and her role as Queen of both countries.