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

Ballenas students launch fundraiser for U.S. travel to promote science experiment

Students’ experiment headed for International Space Station

Search is on for parties to build $10.7M Bowser sewage project

Further investigation of land disposal option rejected by RDN board

Parksville council won’t ban single-use plastic bags

Politicians vote 6-1 against proposed bylaw

RDN dealing with high interest in backyard cannabis production

New policy proposed to address challenges with Health Canada licences

Qualicum Beach doles out Community Awards

Jacobson is Citizen of the Year; new mayor Wiese named top newsmaker

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Nanaimo Clippers say former CEO overcharged, took liquor sales money

Ownership group of B.C. Hockey League team files lawsuit in Supreme Court

Most Read