The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting British Columbia and Yukon, Canada, between 24th September and 1st October. This is Their Royal Highness's second official tour of Canada, having visited in 2011 shortly after their wedding. They are incredibly grateful to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the invitation to visit Canada, and to the Canadian, British Columbian, and Yukon governments for their work to organise and support this tour.
Their Royal Highnesses arrived in Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, on the afternoon of Saturday 24th September - before travelling to Victoria with the Royal Canadian Air Force to a fantastic welcome.
The Duke and Duchess then made their way to British Columbia's Parliament Buildings to pay their respects at Victoria's Cenotaph and unveil a new plaque paying tribute to the veterans of Canada's involvement in the Afghanistan conflict.
The official welcome to Canada then got underway, featuring an honour guard and speeches.
Following this event Their Royal Highnesses returned to Government House to meet with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie.
The second day of #RoyalVisitCanada saw The Duke and Duchess travel from Victoria to Vancouver by float plane. Float planes are the quickest way to travel between the two cities and are one of the real symbols of this part of the world.
The Duke and Duchess then travelled to the Downtown East Side of Vancouver to meet the amazing team at Sheway, a charity that has achieved remarkable things for vulnerable mothers who are battling addiction and other issues. Prior to Sheway’s inception in 1993, babies born to mothers with substance use issues living in the Downtown East Side had their babies removed at birth.
These babies were frequently premature and underweight. Today, 88 per cent of the babies are born full term and are of average birth weight. In addition, 74 per cent of the children born today leave the hospital in their mother’s care. The link between addiction and family breakdown is something that has been a major priority of The Duchess's charitable work.
They then visited the Immigration Services Society of British Columbia. Here they met staff and volunteers who support over 25,000 recent migrants to Canada each year, including some of the 30,000 who have arrived in Canada over the last year from UNHCR camps that are supporting those who have fled the war in Syria.
The final engagement of the day will saw The Duke and Duchess learn more about the first responders who work together to keep Vancouverites safe as they enjoy life in their city. They visited the Kitsilano Coastguard Station in Vanier park to learn about the round the clock operation to support people who come into trouble on the water that surrounds this coastal city.
On day three The Duke and Duchess travelled to the Great Bear Rainforest – the world's largest temperate rainforest, located on the beautiful Central Coast of British Columbia. Great Bear has been named as Canada's commitment to The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy. Launched at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta, in 2015, the QCC is a unique network of forest conversation initiatives, which involves all 53 countries of the Commonwealth. Find out more about The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy.
The QCC present a rare opportunity to unite the whole Commonwealth family and save one of the world’s most important natural habitats, forests. By creating a pan-Commonwealth network of forest conservation products, the QCC will mark Her Majesty The Queen’s service to the Commonwealth while conserving indigenous forests for future generations.
Her Majesty is immensely grateful to you, and the people of Canada, for the leadership you have shown in making this contribution
The Duke of Cambridge
The Duke and Duchess were ceremoniously welcomed by the Heiltsuk First Nations community before being guided by young people through Bella Bella to the community centre where The Heiltsuk First Nation shared their culture with Their Royal Highnesses through songs, dance and drumming.
At nearby Mcloughlin Bay the rainforest will be officially committed to The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy before exploring see one of the new walking trails being constructed in the area.
Back in Victoria, The Duke and Duchess attended a reception hosted by the province of British Columbia at Government House, with a Black Rod ceremony where The Duke installed a ring on Black Rod symbolising reconciliation.
On day four Their Royal Highnesses flew to Kelowna, a city in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. Their first stop was the Okanagan campus of the University of British Columbia. UBC is one of the world's finest research universities and recently celebrated its centenary. The campus in Kelowna opened a decade ago and plays a vital role in the region, home to 600 current research projects and 8,000 students.
They then took part in the BC Government's 'Taste of British Columbia' festival at Mission Hill Winery. The Okanagan region is producing world-class wine, cheese, and food and The Duke and Duchess took the chance to sample some of the province's best offerings. They will met with local young people learning about potential careers in food and agriculture.
Their Royal Highnesses then flew to Whitehorse, Yukon. On arrival, they were greeted by members of the Canadian Rangers, the military branch that provides a presence in the north of the country. The Duke and Duchess also met some of the young people serving in the Junior Canadian Rangers.
Later that evening they watched a cultural performance at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre.
Wednesday 28th September gave The Duke and Duchess a real chance to see the natural beauty of Yukon and to learn about its people. The day began with a visit to the MacBride Museum, where they learnt about Yukon's history. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visited the telegraph office, now part of the museum, in 1959.
Next up was a colourful and fun party on Main Street in Whitehorse, which has a thriving arts scene.
The Duke and Duchess then made their way to Carcross, a small town of less than 300 people, 70 kilometres from Whitehorse on the Klondike Highway. At the Carcross Commons they received a traditional welcome from the Carcross/Tagish First Nation and were given a tour of the recently completed buildings and public spaces there, and took the opportunity to say hello to the local community.
The Duke and Duchess then travelled a short distance to the beautiful Montana Mountain where they visited one of the world's most picturesque destinations for mountain biking. The Single Track to Success (S2S) project on Montana Mountain not only builds world class trails, it provides life changing experiences to local youth and contributes to tourism in the area.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were delighted to bring their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, to a children's party in the beautiful grounds of Government House.
Prince George and Princess Charlotte joined children from military families as they enjoyed party activities from a petting zoo to balloon artists. It was a a really lovely morning with plenty of surprises for the children!
On the penultimate day of the Canada tour, The Duke and Duchess had the privilege of visiting Haida Gwaii, the archipelago on the northern coast of British Columbia that is home to the Haida Nation. It is a remote, but very special place.
On arrival at Skidegate, Their Royal Highnesses transferred to a traditional Haida canoe and helped to paddle around to the beach at the Haida Heritage Centre and Museum, where they were officially welcomed. Inside the centre they were addressed by the President of the Haida Nation and saw a magnificant cultural performance from around 30 local children.
The Duke and Duchess then had the honour of officially opening the new Haida Gwaii Hospital and Care Centre. This impressive new facility will house several new services that have recently transformed medical provision on the islands. People no longer have to leave Haida Gwaii to have children, for instance, and families can be close to their loved ones as they receive care late in their lives. The Duke and Duchess has the opportunity to meet with people who have benefitted from these services.
Before leaving Haida Gwaii, The Duke and Duchess joined young people from the Skidegate Youth Centre to take part in world-class fishing on the beautiful waters of the Hectate Strate. The Skidegate Youth Centre serves the youth of Skidegate and surrounding areas engage in safe and meaningful social, recreational and educational activities. The programme focuses on confidence building, physical activities and creativity, while achieving social and life skills.
It was a busy final day for the tour. The first engagement was at the Cridge Centre for the Family – one of Victoria's most well-known charitable institutions. The Centre provides a range of services, including childcare, youth outreach, and support for women who have experienced domestic violence.
The Duke and Duchess then stopped by a local café where they met with families that have been supported by the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre, one of British Columbia's leading mental health charities. Kelty uses digital and community-based tools to take mental health services and information to families throughout the province. This focus on signposting and information provision chimes closely with the work that The Duke and Duchess are focusing on along with Prince Harry through their Heads Together campaign.
Their Royal Highnesses boarded a tall-ship operated by the Sail and Life Training Society, a charity that uses the power of sailing to give young people skills and direction in their lives. On board will be a group of young people who are part of JACK.org – a national network of youth who are working to end stigma around mental health for their generation. The Duke and Duchess spoke to these young people about their work while actively taking part in helping to sail the tall ship before docking in the inner harbour.
Later that afternoon The Duke and Duchess ended their tour by taking part in a public official departure ceremony at Victoria Harbour Airport. The Harbour airport is located in the centre of the city and was a perfect place for Their Royal Highnesses to demonstrate their gratitude for the hospitality that will have been extended to them over the previous week. With their children, they then boarded a float plane and had a brief tour of the southern tip of Vancouver Island before departing Canada with the Royal Canadian Air Force.