The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge along with Prince George and Princess Charlotte made the journey to Canada for a week-long visit to explore British Columbia and Yukon…
***Please continue to scroll for a glimpse into each day of #RoyalTourCanada!***
During their time in Canada, Their Royal Highnesses visited five communities in British Columbia (Victoria, Vancouver, Bella Bella, Kelowna, and Haida Gwaii) and two communities in Yukon (Whitehorse and Carcross), undertaking more than 30 engagements celebrating Canada’s First Nations communities, arts and culture, pristine and beautiful environment, and compassionate and innovative charitable sector. Along the way, TRH made it their goal to meet as many Canadians as possible, seeking to deepen their relationship with a country that they will visit many times over the course of their lives.
This was TRH second official tour of Canada, having visited shortly after their wedding in 2011. Prince George – who previously joined his parents during their tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2014 – undertook his second Royal Tour at the young age of three. However, it was 16-month-old Princess Charlotte’s first Royal Tour and the Cambridges’ first as a family of four… a special milestone.Day One – 24 September 2016
The Cambridge Family arrived in Victoria – the capital of British Columbia – where they received a warm welcome from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie, Governor General of Canada David Johnston and his wife Sharon, Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon, and Premier of British Columbia Christy Clark and her son Hamish.
After traveling to Government House – which was be the family’s base for the duration of the tour – The Duke and Duchess left George and Charlotte with Nanny Maria and attended the official ceremony of welcome at the British Columbia Parliament Buildings.
TRH honored Canadian military service by laying a wreath at the Cenotaph and The Duke later addressed the crowds gathered:
“Catherine and I are delighted to be back in Canada. When we were here last time, we had been married only three months. The warm welcome that you gave us at that important moment in our lives meant a lot to us, and we have never forgotten it. That is why we are so pleased that George and Charlotte can be with us in Canada this time ’round… beginning their own lifetime of friendship with this wonderful country. Catherine and I have asked to meet as many people from as many walks of life as we can while we are here. Nous sommes très heureux d’être de retour au Canada [we are very pleased to be back in Canada]… Thank you for welcoming us so warmly.”
Day Two – 25 September 2016
The Duke and Duchess traveled to Vancouver by float plane, landing at the harbour in the heart of the city to a loud welcome!
- Visiting Sheway, a charity that provides health and social service support to pregnant women and women with infants under eighteen months who are dealing with drug and alcohol issues.
- Meeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a visit to the new Welcome Centre of the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia, which supports over 25,000 recent migrants to Canada each year.
- Attending a reception celebrating young leaders in Canadian arts, music, sport, charity, business, and film.
- Visiting the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station to meet a number of first response agencies and learn how they provide improved marine safety off Canada’s west coast.
Day Three – 26 September 2016
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge traveled to the Great Bear Rainforest – the world’s largest temperate rainforest, located on the Central Coast of British Columbia – home of the Kermode bears or “spirit bears,” a rare sub-species of black bear noted for its unique white fur.
Significant rain and wind unfortunately necessitated the cancellation of TRH tour of a section of the vast rainforest by float plane (which would have been such a beautiful experience!), but luckily the rain did not prevent locals of the remote island community of Bella Bella from venturing out to glimpse and greet the Royal visitors!
- A ceremonial welcome by the Heiltsuk First Nations community, where TRHs were greeted warmly by the indigenous people as “hemas” (a hereditary chief) and “umaks” (a woman of high rank or standing).
- A speech by The Duke at the launch of Canada’s contribution to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC), a unique network of forest conversation initiatives involving all 53 countries of the Commonwealth in the conservation of indigenous forests for future generations.
- Visiting a section of rainforest near McLoughlin Bay for a ceremony and plaque unveiling, officially committing the Great Bear Rainforest to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.
- Attending a reception at Government House in Victoria, during which The Duke installed a final Ring of Reconciliation to the Black Rod – a ceremonial staff used on formal occasions when the monarch or her provincial representative (the Lieutenant Governor) is present in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia; the materials and symbols affixed to the Rod are representative of the province and its relationship to the Crown.
Day Four – 27 September 2016
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge traveled to Kelowna – a city in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, last visited by Prince Charles and Princess Diana 30 years ago – and Whitehorse, Yukon – where the temperature was a chilly 6℃ (~42℉)!
Upon arrival in Whitehorse, The Duchess was seen carrying the Maple Leaf tartan – declared an official national emblem of Canada in 2011. It’s pattern reflects the colors of the maple leaf as it changes through the seasons: the green of summer foliage, the gold of early autumn, the red which appears with the coming of the first frost, and the brown tones of fallen leaves.
- Visiting the Okanagan campus of the University of British Columbia – a leader in environmental sustainability, conservation, and ecology research – to acknowledge the campus’ 10th anniversary as well as the 100th anniversary of the University of British Columbia.
- Taking part in the “Taste of British Columbia” festival, which showcased the diversity and bounty of British Columbia’s agri-food and seafood industries.
- Inspecting a guard composed of Canadian Rangers Junior Rangers, the military branch that provides a presence in the north of the country. Both The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry were made honorary members of this reserve unit in 2009.
- Viewing “Land of Gold – A Yukon Cultural Celebration” at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, which highlighted the diversity and depth of Yukon’s cultural scene through dance and music.
Day Five – 28 September 2016
The Duke and Duchess spent the day visiting Whitehorse and Carcross in Yukon, where they learned about the province’s people while experiencing its stunning natural beauty.
A particularly fun moment occurred when TRH visited the newly renovated Telegraph Office – previously visited by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh in 1959 – of the MacBride Museum in Whitehorse. They signed the museum’s virtual guest book via morse code on a telegraph machine, which was then transmitted into a digital message and posted on Twitter @telegraph_tweet: “THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE, SEPTEMBER 2016, WHITEHORSE YUKON.” The message was typed out by former radio operator Doug Bell, who last sent a telegram in 1947!
- Visiting the MacBride Museum of Yukon History, which showcases Yukon’s history with a focus on the role of Whitehorse in the development of the territory.
- Visiting the local community street party – which celebrated Whitehorse’s thriving arts scene – as well as the impressive 11-metre Healing Totem. TRH were joined by members of Bring Youth Toward Equality (BYTE), an organization focused on empowering young people throughout Yukon and helping them develop confidence, skills, openness, and a sense of belonging.
- A traditional welcome ceremony in Carcross by the Carcross/Tagish First Nation people, where TRH experienced local traditions, culture, and heritage as well as toured recently completed economic development initiatives.
- Attending a mountain biking demonstration atop Montana Mountain – one of the world’s most picturesque destinations for mountain biking – with Single Track to Success (S2S), a program that provides life-changing experiences to local youth and contributes to tourism in the area.
Day Six – 29 September 2016
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge enjoyed a lovely day with their children in Victoria. Although Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s excursions during their stay have been carried out in private without the glare of the media, the Royal siblings had their first official joint engagement today!
The young Royals were the guests of honour at a children’s party in the grounds of Government House in Victoria, the family’s base during the tour. Among those attending the event were children and families from the Military Family Resource Centre, a non-profit organization that provides programs and services to military members and their families.
Organizers at Government House brought in a petting zoo – complete with rabbits, goats, and miniature horses – as well as balloon animals, bubbles, a puppet show, and a troupe of children’s entertainers to add an extra special touch to the day.
Sociable Charlotte was particularly fascinated by the balloons! She ran for them as soon as Catherine put her down, shouting “Pop!” When William then asked her, “Are we going to go pop?” she tried to lift the whole balloon archway and carry it away!
Although George was a bit shy at first and kept asking for “Mummy,” he quickly perked up when he saw an orange fish-shaped bubble-maker… which he proceeded to cheekily squirt at Charlotte!
Said a Kensington Palace spokesman: “The Duke and Duchess are really pleased to have this opportunity to introduce their children to Canada and it’s great that they have the chance to play with other children while they are here.”After the party, the Royal couple and their children spent the rest of the day enjoying some private downtime together.
Day Seven – 30 September 2016
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge traveled to Haida Gwaii – formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands – an archipelago located off the northwest coast of British Columbia and the ancestral home of the Haida Nation.The breathtaking natural beauty and argillite carvings, totem poles, and ancient Haida villages encourage visitors from all over the world to learn more about indigenous culture and environmental stewardship… it is a remote but very special place. During their visit, TRH were presented with scarves as a sign of welcome and respect by the local First Nations Haida Community; the woven scarves were trimmed with sea otter fur, a type of fur worn only by individuals of great standing in the native community and thus representative of rank and wealth.
- A canoe trip to Haida Heritage Centre and Museum in Haida Gwaii, where they received an official welcome – including a prayer and a song/dance performance – from representatives of the Haida Nation. In thanks, The Duke spoke in the local Haida language: “Aan t’alang isis ska-wada-gee id ga dalang kil laa, haw.” [Thank you very much for having us here.]
- Visiting the new Haida Gwaii General Hospital and Care Centre, an impressive new facility housing several new services that have recently transformed medical provision on the islands. TRH joined mothers and staff in the maternity wing for a discussion about maternal health.
- Boating and salmon fishing on the beautiful waters of the Hectate Strate with youth from the Skidegate Youth Centre, a program that engages local youth in safe and meaningful social, recreational, and educational activities.
Day Eight – 1 October 2016
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had a busy final day as they completed their final engagements of the tour in Victoria.
- Visiting the Cridge Centre for the Family – one of Victoria’s most well known charitable institutions – which provides a range of services including childcare, youth outreach, and support for women who have experienced domestic violence.
- Visiting a local café to meet with families that have been supported by the Kelty Mental Health Resources Centre, one of British Columbia’s leading mental health charities.
- Sailing into Victoria’s Inner Harbour on the tall-ship “Pacific Grace” with the Sail and Life Training Society (SALTS) – a charity that uses the power of sailing to give young people skills and direction in their lives – and Jack.org – a national charity dedicated to supporting student leadership in mental health promotion and advocacy work across Canada.
As the tour drew to a close, The Duke shared this message of thanks:
“Catherine and I are incredibly grateful to the people of Canada for the warmth and hospitality they have extended to our family over the last week. We have loved our time in British Columbia and Yukon and will never forget the beautiful places we have seen and the many people who have been kind enough to come to welcome us in person. We feel very lucky to have been able to introduce George and Charlotte to Canada. This country will play a big part in the lives of our children and we have created such happy memories for our family during this visit. Canada is a country of optimism, generosity, and unrivalled natural beauty. I hope we have helped all Canadians celebrate what makes this country great. We will see you again soon.”
As their final farewell to Canada, TRH enjoyed a seaplane tour of Victoria before departing with the Royal Canadian Air Force… back to the United Kingdom!
In commemoration of the Royal Tour, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Government of Canada’s official gift:
“In keeping with tradition, I am honoured to mark the visit by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with a gift that will help both Indigenous youth as well as newcomers to Canada realize their dreams. Canadians have a real affection for the Royal family which was once again very much on display during this tour.”
The official gift is a donation of $100,000, which will be divided equally between two worthy initiatives:
- The first $50,000 contribution will go to Prince’s Charities Canada (PCC) and will be used to promote education in Canada’s Indigenous communities, helping more young people reach their full potential. It will also be used to help preserve Indigenous languages in Canada.
- The second contribution of $50,000 will be given to the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia to help assist newcomers with housing, employment, and language skills.
We’re already looking forward to the next Royal Tour!
Meghan McKillop is American by birth but British at heart. Endlessly fascinated by British culture, entertainment, history, royalty, literature, and travel, she aspires to indulge her curiosity while sharing her passions and discoveries with Anglophiles everywhere.