Haida Heritage Centre and Museum in Skidegate.

Royals to visit iconic B.C., Yukon locales oozing with beauty, social values

Aboriginal hosts figure large in plans to welcome Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Canada's West Coast

VICTORIA – The indigenous guardians of British Columbia’s remote and largely untouched Great Bear Rainforest are preparing a royal welcome for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as part of a Canadian tour of iconic B.C. and Yukon locales dripping with history, beauty and social conscience.

Starting Saturday, the Royals will make stops in Victoria, Kelowna, Bella Bella, Haida Gwaii, Whitehorse, Carcross, Yukon, and Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, among Canada’s most impoverished neighbourhoods.

Heiltsuk Nation Chief Marilyn Slett says her people have been living on B.C.’s central coast for thousands of years and Monday’s royal visit to their territory will open the doors to a worldwide sharing ceremony in the village of Bella Bella.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Where, when and what of Royal visit

Slett said the Heiltsuk artifacts dating back 14,000 years have been found on their coast territory.

“We’re very proud of the fact we’ve been very strong in land stewardship and protection of the Great Bear Rainforest,” she said. “That’s something we’re really proud to share with the world. It’s important for us that the rainforest, the resources, land and sea, be there for future generations for people on the coast.”

The Great Bear Rainforest is the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world and home of the kermode, or spirit bears, a subspecies of black bear noted for its white fur.

B.C.’s government protected from logging 85 per cent of the 6.4 million hectare area that stretches from the Discovery Islands off Vancouver Island northwards to Alaska.

The Heiltsuk will welcome the royal couple during a ceremony at their community hall in Bella Bella, a community only accessible only by float plane or boat.

“Our culture is strong and vibrant and we’re pleased to be able to share it with the royal couple,” said Slett.

At Haida Gwaii, on the province’s northern coast, the royals will take a canoe trip from historic Skidegate Landing to the Haida Heritage Centre and Museum.

The tour will also take the couple to a coast guard station in Vancouver, a wine tasting at an Okanagan vineyard in Kelowna, and indigenous cultural events at Whitehorse and Carcross.

The royals will also visit an immigrant centre in Vancouver that provides settlement services to 25,000 refugees annually.

In Victoria, where they will be based for the trip, the royal couple will host a garden party for military families at Government House and visit the Cridge Centre for the Family, which offers shelter, care and help for children, women and families.

On Sunday in Vancouver, William and Kate will visit Sheway, a pregnancy outreach program for young mothers struggling with drug and alcohol issues.

Prof. Sarika Bose, a Victorian England and monarchy scholar at the University of B.C., said William and Kate are highlighting issues of family, environment and community in the places they visit and people they meet.

“It really brings attention to British Columbia, both its beauties and some of the issues that British Columbians and Yukoners might have in common with other places in the world,” she said.

William and Kate’s children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, are making the trip to Canada, but are set to spend much of their time in Victoria while their parents conduct official duties.

The family is not scheduled to visit the northern B.C. city of Prince George.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

Police seek man wanted for assault

Queen Charlotte RCMP are asking for help finding a man wanted for… Continue reading

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

BC BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canucks blow three goal lead, lose to Avalanche in overtime

Vancouver struggled on the penalty kill, as Colorado scored all five goals on the powerplay

Widow of avalanche victim sues Golden lodge operator

A woman from Alberta is suing guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence

BC BUDGET: NDP hope to nix court delays with $15 million cash influx

Union says funding could stop sheriffs from leaving for higher paid jobs

Cattlemen urge B.C. to prevent erosion caused during 2017 wildfire season

Other concerns are fencing restoration and repair, and a lack of feed for cattle.

Patrick Brown’s Tory leadership bid fate looms

Brown’s bid to for Tory leadership to be decided on Wednesday

Alberta shrugs off B.C. legal challenge on wine ban

The potential fine Alberta faces for violating free trade rules according to economic development minister

Yelling vulgar slur at reporter not a crime says judge

Judge rules ‘vulgar’ slur against reporter was not a public disturbance

Most Read