With all this on the news, a few people have asked me what The Commonwealth is and I said I'd post some links they could explore.
Yes, two were Canadians, but much younger than I am. To me, the idea of the (originally British) Commonwealth was part of my Canadian identity. Is it still relevant? I do believe so as now The Commonwealth connects Canada with many more varied countries than our other better known economic and political relationships.
The Commonwealth since 1949 has been a voluntary association of independent countries spanning the globe, now 53 countries with over 2.2 billion citizens.
While the 'British Commonwealth' began as countries in the British Empire gained their independence, the Commmonwealth today includes countries unassociated with the British Empire or the United Kingdom, for example, the latest member countries, Rwanda and Mozambique.
The most significant Commonwealth statistic today to me is that 60% of Commonwealth people are under 30 years of age. They are the future of the world.
The Commonwealth - the official website: http://thecommonwealth.org
Commonwealth map, Atlas of Canada (jpg/pdf): http://atlas.nrcan.gc.ca/site/english/maps/reference/international/commonwealth
53 independent countries - map with list http://thecommonwealth.org/member-countries
Profile Commonwealth, BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16842428
Timeline - The Commonwealth, BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/country_profiles/1554513.stm
Commonwealth Games Canada - Canada hosted the very first Commonwealth Games in 1930. Then the Games were known as the British Empire Games; renamed as the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1954 and the British Commonwealth Games in 1970: http://www.commonwealthgames.ca/
Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the guardian organization of Commonwealth nations' military graves: http://www.cwgc.org/
WW II, British Commonwealth Air Training Plan: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/history/second-world-war/british-commonwealth-air-training-plan
WW II, Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada: http://www.airmuseum.ca/
Bomber Command Museum of Canada, Trenton, Alberta, particularly for those interested in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Alberta, WW II: http://www.bombercommandmuseum.ca/index.html
Commonwealth Foundation: http://www.commonwealthfoundation.com/projects
Royal Commonwealth Society - Canada http://www.rcs.ca/index.php
Commonwealth Oral History Project - 1965, Institute of Commonwealth Studies: http://commonwealth.sas.ac.uk/research/cw-oral-history-project
Just for fun - "Queen's quirky Commonwealth gifts go on display", The Telegraph, 19 March 2014:
11 minutes of highlights from the 5th British Empire and Commonwealth Games, 1954, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Filmmaker, Jack Olsen. NFB film: http://www.nfb.ca/film/british_empire_commonwealth_games/
Souvenir sweet dish, 1954 Vancouver, BC, British Empire and Commonwealth Games. Private collection.