The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are coming to Canada this fall for a royal visit, and excitement is high. We finally get a chance to showcase what our beautiful west coast has to offer, and we might even get to see William and Kate in person!
This is the second time that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting Canada. When they visited in 2011, it was their first overseas tour as a married couple, and they made stops in Ottawa, Quebec, Alberta, Prince Edward Island and Yellowknife. This year, their visit to the west coast will be their first trip as a family of four. Yes, Princess Charlotte and Prince George will be coming along for the ride!
Just in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary, the royal tour is sure to put a spotlight on our country’s rich heritage and natural beauty. In fact, the royal tour itinerary features some unique destinations that have inspired this article. So, we set out to virtually explore these places to understand what it means to travel like the royal couple.
The 2016 Royal Tour Itinerary
The royal tour itinerary was planned by the Department of Canadian Heritage, and takes place from September 24th to October 1st. A detailed day-by-day tour itinerary was just released, and the week-long tour is going to be packed! The Royal Highnesses will cover everything from the west coast’s urban centres such as Vancouver and Victoria, to remote locations like Bella Bella and Haida Gwaii.
September 24: Victoria, BC
The tour starts with an official welcome in Victoria attended by the Prime Minister, complete with a 21-gun military style salute, where The Duke and Duchess will honour the Canadian military service.
September 25: Vancouver, BC
In Vancouver, the Royal Highnesses will be greeted by the public and dignitaries followed by visits to the Pregnancy Outreach Program, Sheway in Downtown Eastside and the Immigrant Services Society of BC. There will also be a reception at Telus Garden to meet young Canadians.
September 26: Bella Bella & Victoria, BC
Also known as Waglisla, Bella Bella is a small Heiltsuk First Nation community located near Campbell Island, and home of the Great Bear Rainforest. The Royal highnesses will start their visit with an aerial tour of the rainforest, followed by a cultural ceremony and ending with a boat tour of McLoughlin Bay. From there, they’ll head to a reception hosted by the province of BC in its capital, Victoria.
September 27: Kelowna, BC
In Kelowna, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will mark the 10 year anniversary of UBC Okanagan and 100th anniversary of UBC, which will be followed by a women’s volleyball match and a true taste of BC wine at the beautiful Mission Hill Family Estate.
September 28: Whitehorse and Carcross, Yukon
In Whitehorse, William and Kate will visit the Kwanlin Dun cultural Centre to appreciate local exhibits and First Nations Art. They’ll also visit the MacBride Museum of Yukon History, and explore the Yukon’s talent at the Youth Art Festival.
Carcross will host a lively welcome ceremony for the royal couple, where they’ll watch a Mountain biking demonstration at Montana Mountain and meet with participating young riders.
In Victoria, the Government house will host a tea party with children and families from the Victorian era.
September 30: Haida Gwaii, BC
In Haida Gwaii, William and Kate will enjoy a canoeing trip from Skidegate to Haida Heritage Centre and Museum, followed by a First Nation’s welcome, a visit to the Haida Gwaii General Hospital and a fishing trip with the youth from Skidegate Youth Centre.
October 1: Victoria, BC
The final leg of the royal tour will end with a visit to The Cridge Centre for the Family. From there, the couple will meet with members of the Kelty Mental Health Resources Centre, and put their sailing skills to the test as they aboard a tall ship with Sail and Life Training Society and Jack.org.
Meeting the Royal Couple – Opportunities and Etiquette
With 70% of Canadians supporting the country’s ties to monarchy, the royal couple will have their fair share of Canadian fans lining up to meet them. The royal tour is structured to maximize opportunities for the Royal Highnesses to meet Canadians. If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the royal couple, note the dates below of the events that are open to the public:
- Sept. 14th, Victoria – Official welcome at the Parliament Building in Victoria
- Sept. 25th, Vancouver – Official welcome at Jack Poole Plaza
- Sept. 27th, Kelowna – Anniversary celebration at UBC Kelowna
- Oct. 1st, Victoria – Official departure from Victoria Harbour seaplane terminal
If you’re lucky to meet the royal couple during an event or celebration, check out some general etiquette guidelines for meeting the royal family designed by the Government of Canada to help you feel more comfortable and prepared. One thing is for sure, BC is certainly going to witness a big spike in the sale of hats!
Discover the Unique Beauty & Indigenous Culture of Canada’s West Coast
As Canadians, we’re lucky to have so much history, culture and natural beauty spread throughout our provinces. I hate to admit it, but before the tour itinerary was announced, I didn’t know much about remote locations like Bella Bella and Haida Gwaii. So for all the wanderlust lovers, I wanted to showcase some of the hidden (and not–so-hidden) gems on the west coast.
Get a Royal Experience in Victoria, BC
If you’re looking for a luxurious, regal getaway in Canada, it doesn’t get much better than BC’s capital, Victoria (also known as the British capital of Canada). Dubbed as the most English city in the country, you’ll find yourself cruising in horse-drawn carriages, enjoying an afternoon high-tea or hopping on a double-decker sightseeing bus, very reminiscent of London. Check out this guide by Tourism Victoria which will take you through some of Will & Kate’s favourite spots and other things to do when in Victoria.
The Parliament Building is an iconic landmark overlooking Victoria’s inner harbour, and the city is a treat for history lovers. With heritage sites like Craigdarroch castle and museums like the Maritime Museum, the Royal BC Museum and the Hatley Park National Historic Site, there’s plenty to see.
If you’re headed to Victoria this fall, visit the Butchart Gardens to witness the changing colours of the leaves, and prepare for some breathtaking scenery. If you have more time, explore the uncrowded, peaceful Mayne Island for a laid back getaway.
Indulge Your Way Through Vancouver and Kelowna
Will and Kate will be spending most of their time doing charity work during their tour of Vancouver, but Vancouver is also home to a brilliant melange of outdoor beauty, art, culture, shopping, fine dining and adventurous activities. If you’re a nature lover, you’ll love these 3 hikes near Vancouver. There’s even something for TV and movie lovers in Vancouver, where you can plan a trip to Canada’s Hollywood North to visit your favourite movie locations.
Kelowna (only a 4 hour drive from Vancouver) is the gateway to the stunning Okanagan valley and a treat for food and wine aficionados alike. The local orchards and wineries provide endless opportunities to sample the best of BCs produce while inspiring many farm to table culinary adventures.
Some budget travellers also make the most of the local orchards by becoming fruit pickers during the harvest season to fund their ongoing travels. If you want to travel like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, don’t miss a visit to the Mission Hill Winery where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Okanagan lake and sample BC wines on one of their signature tours. If you’re travelling to Kelowna from Vancouver by road, make it more memorable by exploring these 5 places between the two destinations.
Spot the Elusive Spirit Bear in Bella Bella
Bella Bella is a small village on Campbell Island. Home to the Heiltsuk First Nation, the region first came into the spotlight when it was ranked amongst the Best Trips for 2013 by National Geographic. A 3 hour plane ride from Powell River Airport (or a ride via boat or ferry) takes you to this rustic, untamed location, which is also home to the Great Bear Rainforest (yes, Canada has a rainforest) that stretches across 400 kilometres.
Bella Bella is not only for serious nature and adventure lovers, but also for travellers looking to explore Canada’s indigenous art, culture and history. Apart from humpback whales and dolphins, this destination offers a chance to see the elusive Spirit bear (a.k.a. the Kermode bear). From wildlife excursions to hiking, biking, whale watching and exploring the First Nations culture, thanks to William and Kate, Bella Bella is definitely on our travel bucket list for 2017!
Marvel at the Totem Poles in Haida Gwaii
Formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, Haida Gwaii is a group of islands in the north coast of British Columbia, uniquely shaped like dagger when you look at it on the map. Also known as Canada’s Galápagos, travellers flock to Haida Gwaii for its raw natural beauty, rich Aboriginal culture and its vibrant art scene.
If you love wildlife and the great outdoors, you’re in for a treat at the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Heritage Site. From camping to caving, climbing to ziplining, there’s a ton to do and see in Haida Gwaii. For history and culture buffs, a visit to Haida Heritage Centre at Ḵay Llnagaay is highly recommended, where you can enjoy curated tours including Canoe Chat, Pole Tour and the Weaving Exhibit Tour.
Explore History and Canada’s Wild North in the Yukon
Synonymous with the Northern Lights, the land of the midnight sun is often mysterious and inundating for Canadian travellers. But the Yukon is packed with one-of-a-kind experiences and adventures. Here are 4 fun things to see and do in the Yukon. Sure, it’s for nature and wildlife seekers, but the Yukon is also for care-free travellers who want to explore a new culture, and also makes for a memorable family road-trip destination.
If you want to travel like the royal couple, be sure to visit the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre to experience the Kwanlin Dun First Nation culture. Head to the MacBride Museum of Yukon History where over 30,000 artifacts, documents and photos depict the Yukon’s rich past. Adrenaline seekers and seasoned mountain bikers can head to the famous Montana Mountain in Carcross for hiking and biking during the summer months, or skiing and snowmobiling during winter.
Did the 2016 royal tour fuel your sense of wanderlust too? Which destination would be your pick for exploring the beauty and culture of Canada? Join the conversation using the hashtag #RoyalTour on Twitter and Facebook.
Photo credit: Featured image via Travel + Leisure Magazine