Eenie meenie miney moe ... where will Kate and William go?
The newest royal couple hasn’t set foot on Canadian soil, but already there’s just that slight edge of whining lurking under the surface. For some, it’s the “why not visit me too” syndrome.
The couple will be hitting Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Alberta and the Northwest Territories on the June 29-July 8 visit (not counting the obligatory stop in Ottawa, likely for July 1).
The people who run Kings Landing Historical Settlement, near Fredericton, are preparing an official invitation with the hope a little side trip from PEI to neighbouring N.B. can be arranged. Nova Scotia was kind enough to keep quiet, since they already had the Queen there last summer. It’s fair to say Toronto is shaking its head over being bypassed, as is fellow big city Vanvouver.
Alberta cities are already lobbying for royal attention. Calgary has the Stampede beginning the last day of the visit and figures it would a natural fit for Kate and William to head the parade, which hasn’t seen a royal since princes Charles and Andrew were there in 1977.
Meanwhile, Edmonton figures its status as provincial capital stands for something. As the Edmonton Journal points out, the city might also want to make up for the Queen’s 2005 visit, where “she was forced to fend for herself in steady rain, gusty winds and finger-numbing cold at Commonwealth Stadium.”
Queen Elizabeth II smiles (??) in spite of the lousy weather during her visit to Edmonton's Commonwealthy Stadium in 2005. (Reuters).
Of course, it’s not all hugs from Albertans. The Calgary Herald warned that the visit “would require G8-style security at costs that would be enormous.” (Which is a good argument a Toronto stop, isn’t it? Still plenty of fencing and barriers left from last summer’s G-20.) Tom Freda of Citizens for a Canadian Republic, a group lobbying to have a Canadian instead of a monarch as head of state, estimates the cost of this visit at $5-7 million. In 2009, the 11-day visit by Charles and Camilla cost taxpayers $2.57 million.
Of course, one of the reasons to be left off the royal itinerary is that you've been there before. Willam has been to Canada three times, including stops in both Ontario and B.C.
Still, it stings. In B.C., radio station News1130 talked to Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore, who assured the province that B.C. won’t be forgotten in future visits.
"It's a little bit of a negotiation,” said Moore about how sites are chosen. “Obviously, they're guests, so they choose. We're hosts, so we offer suggestions on where they might want to go," says Moore. "(It's their) first visit, not their last.”
Some good old Canadian maple syrup, literally and figuratively, might ensure that's the case.