A crowd of several thousand people cheered as the Queen arrived in Ottawa for the first time in 13 years, where she visited a nature museum and unveiled a statue of Canadian jazz great Oscar Peterson.

Her Majesty was accompanied by her husband, 89-year-old Prince Philip. The Royal couple toured the Canadian Museum of Nature, which was recently restored, and the Queen unveiled a plaque dedicating a tower known as The Queens' Lantern.

"I feel a little overwhelmed right now," one well-wisher in the crowd said. "I hope that on her walkabout on the way out she'll stop by and say hello."

"I've been practicing my curtsey," she added.

Children lined up to present the Queen with flowers as the 84-year-old sovereign exited the building.

"She's beautiful and I loved her hat," said one child bearing flowers.

Her Majesty then moved to the National Arts Centre to unveil a statue of jazz legend Oscar Peterson, to meet Peterson's widow, Kelly and daughter Celine, and to hear the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir sing his "Hymn to Freedom."

Her Majesty also visited the Governor-General's residence and held audience with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The Queen kicked off her 22nd visit to Canada on Tuesday, and told Canadians she was happy to be "home." Hundreds of well-wishers braved rainy conditions to witness the beginning of the Royal visit and to watch the Queen review a flotilla of coast guard vessels and warships, commemorating the Canadian navy's centennial anniversary.

"These trips are very important to remind Canadians their head of state is the Queen of Canada, and to demonstrate visibly the ties between the Crown and the people," said Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, editor of Burke's Peerage & Gentry.

"The Royal Family has a deep and abiding affection for this country," he told CTV News Channel. "They've visited Canada more than any other country in the Commonwealth."

The Queen and Prince Philip later hosted a garden party at Rideau Hall, which 500 invited people were invited to attend. Guests dined on braised buffalo shoulder and lobster croquette fish and chips among other delicacies.

The Royal Couple will remain in Ottawa for Canada Day. The Queen will give an address on Parliament Hill at noon on Thursday that's expected to help the draw thousands more to the celebrations.

Performers at that event will include the Bare Naked Ladies, Quebec singer Isabelle Boulay and Newfoundland Indie rock group Hey Rosetta!

Her Majesty has an audience with Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff on Friday, and will visit Winnipeg, Waterloo, Ont., and Toronto during the Royal tour, which wraps up July 6.

With a report from CTV's Richard Madan and files from The Canadian Press