Royal tour schedule sets a fast pace for newlyweds
From horses to hockey, from dragon boats to frigates, from Great Big Sea to Anne of Green Gables -- Prince William and Catherine will be get a multi-flavoured taste of Canada during their first royal foreign tour.
The details of the June 30-July 8 trip were released Tuesday (Prince William's 29th birthday) and the schedule includes a stop at the Calgary Stampede, despite pleas by animal rights activists who asked the couple to skip the annual rodeo.
The day-by-day roll is packed with activity, making for a very quick pace for the newly-minted Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
It begins with Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa and includes stops in Montreal, Quebec City, Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife and Calgary.
Among the events:
- The couple arrives at Ottawa's Rideau Hall on June 30 at 3:15 p.m. and will be welcomed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen. They will host a reception with more than 120 Canadian youth who represent various community service causes.
- The Duke and Duchess will watch a swearing-in ceremony for new Canadian citizens at the Canaidan Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Que. (July 1)
- Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill, beginning at noon, will include acts from across Canada, including Sam Roberts and Great Big Sea.
- Tour of a Montreal children’s hospital (July 2).
- An evening aboard HMCS Montreal, a navy frigate, for a sail down the St. Lawrence River (July 2).
- The Freedom of the City ceremony with the Royal 22e Régiment in Québec City (July 3).
- A search and rescue demonstration in Charlottetown, PEI (July 4), with Prince William participating in a training exercise.
- The couple will participate in a dragon boat race on Dalvay Lake (July 4), followed by perfomances from Aboriginal, Acadian and Celtic cultures. There will also be a performance by actors from 'Anne of Green Gables - The Musical.' The book series by Lucy Maud Montgomery was a childhood favourite of the Duchess.
- In Summerside, PEI (July 4), there will be a coast guard demonstration.
- Street hockey game in Yellowknife (July 5).
- A float plane trip from Yellowknife to the native community of Blachford Lake (July 6), where they’ll take a canoe ride, have a barbeque with students, and then take 24 hours off from royal duties.
- The tour ends in Calgary (July 7-8) with the highlight being the opening of the Stampede. Jeans and cowboy gear will be the order of the day, even for the royals. Instead of a designer hat, expect Kate's hat to be more of the 10-gallon variety.
Other stops in the Alberta city include the 21st Centrue Research and Innovation Centre at the University of Calgary, the Calgary zoo, and Challenger Rotary Park for a wreath-laying ceremony for fallen Canadian soldiers.
"This will be perhaps the largest, most-watched royal visit in Canada's history," said Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore, who estimates the bill for Canadian taxpayers to be about $1.5 million. "We do expect a record number of Canadians to come out to the public events."
The royals then head to California for three days on July 8. Activities there include a black-tie dinner in Hollywood in aid of the British film industry, and a charity polo match in Santa Barbara.
“Canadians are eager to welcome Their Royal Highnesses and show them the deep affection reserved for members of the Royal family and, in so doing, reaffirm their profound and ongoing attachment to the Crown of Canada,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a release.
“The visit will showcase the beauty and rich diversity of all regions of our country, highlighting what we have accomplished and underscoring the opportunities and promise of the future.”