One royal couple, two nations to visit, two rather different approaches
Canada Day Fireworks. Pig-tailed girls at Anne of Green Gables. Canoes in the Northwest Territories. Cowboy hats and bucking broncos at the Calgary Stampede.
To be followed by a charity polo match in ultra-posh Santa Barbara, California with a three-course meal going for $4,000, and a star-studded Hollywood dinner for British filmmakers.
The hype, of course, is already beginning. The Mirror in London today was running a huge headline with the startling news that, wait for it, Kate was wearing a ... gasp ... knee-length BLUE DRESS on the plane to Canada (see photo). Talk about a scoop.
The royals' visit starts in Ottawa today. They'll celebrate Canada Day Friday, then head to Montreal (at least they get a bit of big-city glam), Quebec City, Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife and Calgary.
Kevin MacLeod, the Queen's Canadian secretary, told the Montreal Gazette that the idea is to showcase Canada.
"We have to be conscious of the fact that through the lens of a camera, yes, we'll have the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the foreground, but what's in the background?" he said. "Is it the Rockies? Is it the beaches of (Prince Edward Island)? Is it the wide-open expanse of the territories? It's such a huge, unique opportunity for the world to look in, not only on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but to look in on them in a uniquely Canadian setting."
Yeah, but I still think it's RIDICULOUS that they're not visiting Toronto. I mean, are we going to continue to market ourselves FOREVER as the country of Moose and Mounties? Folks overseas love the Rockies and a good canoe trip, and so do I, but not many people outside of North America know how much Toronto has grown and how it's prospered as a hotbed for the arts and entertainment. It would've been nice to give the royal couple a small taste of the new AGO and some hot restaurants on Ossington. A killer cocktail on a swanky patio downtown would've been a tremendous boost. But I forgot. This is a Stephen Harper production...
No such problems in California, where Will and Kate (who surely had a hand in the decision-making) will be in lovely Santa Barbara (see photo) and then down in Hollywood. Nice choices, for sure. Santa Barbara has glorious weather, great beaches and excellent food. The local wines are among some of California's best, with luscious Syrah and Pinot Noir and excellent Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay all being grown just over the hills in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Folks in California are embracing the visit, but of course they want to make a buck like anyone else. The Beverly Hills Hotel has a presidential suite for $10,800 a night. On a budget? You can snap up a $15 Royal Fizz cocktail at the Luxe Rodeo Drive.