The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are presently in Canada, on their second official visit to the country, after accepting a formal invitation from Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. The royals are accompanied by their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, marking the first official royal tour for their 15-month-old daughter. The couple has previously visited Canada in 2011, which was their first overseas tour as a married couple.
The royal tour started in Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, named after William’s great-great-great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. Established in 1843 as a fort for the Hudson’s Bay Company, Victoria’s British ancestry reflects on the numerous historic buildings, double-decker buses, horse-drawn carriages, lush gardens and tearooms. Voted one of the top 10 cities in North America in 2015, Victoria aims to be a cosmopolitan centre showcasing an array of attractions, including museums and flower gardens.
From Victoria, the royal couple travelled by seaplane to Vancouver, the city named the top Destination in Canada in TripAdvisor’s 2016 Travellers’ Choice Awards and chosen as the best place to live in North America (and number five in the world) in Mercer’s 2016 Quality of Living survey. The city’s location by the ocean and proximity to the mountains, which are approximately 20 minutes north of downtown, offers travellers opportunities for outdoor adventure and the amenities of a world-class city.
Around 2-hour’s drive north of Vancouver is the alpine village of Whistler, which became world-renowned as the site for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Blending the characteristics of an alpine village with the amenities of an urban centre, the pedestrianised Whistler Village may be a place of choice for tourists of all ages. This fall Whistler aims to prepare to welcome visitors at the Cornucopia Festival, a celebration of wine and food scheduled in November.
On September 26th, the royal couple embarked on a floatplane for an aerial tour of the Great Bear Rainforest and Bella Bella, the Heiltsuk Indian Reserve, and attended a briefing ahead of the dedication of the Great Bear Rainforest to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project at the Elder’s Lodge, Bella Bella. The Great Bear Forest, known as the ‘Amazon of the North’, stretches for more than 250 miles along the Pacific coast of British Columbia and is the only home of the rare Kermode, or Spirit bear, which is a sub-species of black bear with white fur.
On September 27th, the royals attended the Taste of British Columbia Festival at Mission Hill Winery, West Kelowna, and attended a Yukon Cultural Celebration at Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon. Located in northwest Canada, Yukon is a region famed for the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush when some 100,000 people flocked to the area trying to find gold.
The royal tour is set to continue on September 28th with a visit to the MacBride Museum of Yukon History, in Whitehorse, and a mountain biking event on Montana Mountain, Carcross. The royal couple’s itinerary is also set to include a journey to Haida Gwaii, a remote archipelago formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands home of the Haida Nation of indigenous people, before the tour wraps up in Victoria, on October 1st.
Besides meeting Canadians and celebrating Canada’s First Nations communities, its arts and culture and pristine environment, the Duke and Duchess’s visit to British Columbia may also bring in the spotlight the Canadian compassionate and innovative charitable sector. A royal visit may be a memorable occasion to honour the communities they visit and also promote local charities by providing a high profile exposure to their work and achievements.
How may travellers support innovative charitable foundations around the world?