Prince Philip honors Canadian military battalion

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TORONTO (AP) - Prince Philip wrapped up a two-day visit to Canada on Saturday, awarding a new regimental flag to a military battalion.

Parachutists spiraled through in the sky and rappel teams raced down the side of a building at the Toronto military ceremony on the front lawn of the Ontario legislature.

A crowd of several hundred people gathered to watch Queen Elizabeth II's husband present the ceremonial flag, known as the regimental colors, to the Third Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment.

Regimental colors are considered the most prized possession of every regiment.

"In a world where there is so much senseless violence, the regiment has an enviable reputation for peacekeeping," the 91-year-old Duke of Edinburgh told the dozens of troops gathered in front of him .

Philip inspected rows of soldiers dressed in crisp red uniforms, and watched closely as teams deployed a belt-fed machine gun and a C-16 grenade launcher as part of the ceremonial exercises.

The prince has served as the Royal Canadian Regiment's colonel-in-chief _ an honorary title bestowed on members of the Royal Family _ since 1953.

The festivities began with a dramatic display of the battalion's skills as a pair of soldiers jumped from a plane above the legislature and swooped downward into a nearby field, before a rappel squad emerged on the roof of a nearby building and sped down its side.

The flag awarding was followed by a military parade and ceremony marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of York in the War of 1812.

A day earlier, Philip had been on the receiving end of a pair of special honors.

Gov. Gen. David Johnston, the queen's representative in Canada, awarded him with the Order of Canada and the Order of Military Merit on Friday.

Philip is scheduled to fly back to England on Saturday night.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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