Former Miss Canada winners (left to right) Julie Maloney (1969), Barbara Kelly (1967), Nina Ritchie (1962) and Gillian Regehr (1973) held their mini reunion at the Shady Rest Pub in Qualicum Beach on Canada Day. — Michael Briones photo

Former Miss Canada winners grace Shady Rest with their presence

Mini reunion of the four ex-beauty queens had heads turning

  • Jul. 5, 2017 9:24 a.m.

Four former Miss Canada winners had heads turning at the Shady Rest Pub in Qualicum Beach on Canada Day.

Miss Canada 1962 Nina Ritchie, Miss Canada ’67 Barbara Kelly, Miss Canada ’70 Julie Maloney and Miss Canada ’73 Gillian Regehr held a mini-reunion at the popular restaurant and they certainly drew a lot of attention.

Of course, they were hard to miss with their original sashes draped over their shoulders.

The occasion was a simple get-together, just to have lunch. There was no grand preparation nor the usual pomp and circumstance that one would expect for a group of former Miss Canada winners.

“It’s just a gathering of friends,” said Ritchie, a former Miss Victoria who now lives in Qualicum Beach. “We are a rare sisterhood.”

Although each one won in a different year, they have met each other in past Miss Canada reunions and through their involvement with the pageant. They forged a special friendship and have kept in touch throughout the years.

They have always wanted to have their own small reunion, said Kelly, and hey decided to make it happen on July 1, on Canada’s 150th anniversary. It wasn’t easy because Maloney had to fly from Ottawa to be in Qualicum Beach. Regehr resides in Victoria while Kelly is from Vancouver.

“We are all excited to be here together,” said Kelly. “We are going to share stories and also look at photographs.”

And they had a lot of stories to tell.

Kelly related the time when she was to meet the Queen mother during her reign. She was handed a crash course on royal etiquette that include learning how to curtsy properly and also answer with “yes, your majesty.”

Ritchie, a former Miss Victoria ’61, revealed she did not actually win Miss Canada in 1962. She was the runner-up, but landed the crown when the winner gave up her title. She reigned for almost two years

All four elegant ladies competed in the prestigious Miss Canada pageant for one reason only. They were enticed by the scholarship prize.

The coupe de grace of the lunch was when they took out their headgears or crowns to show one another. They didn’t have the same kind of lustre and glitter when they won them, but they are sentimental treasures.

Maloney was bit embarrased by the shape of her crown.

“Mine so banged up,” Maloney quipped. “My grandchildren played with it and I had to crazy glue it back together.”

The group plans to get together again next year. They plan to get in touch with other former Miss Canada.

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