The upcoming royal visit to BC and the Yukon is one that is hard to find fault with. As a Canadian who doesn’t care too much about royal goings-on, I didn’t expect too much from a visit such as this, but their itinerary has made me take notice. When I think of a royal tour, I expect an easy and pleasant trip, perhaps with some ribbon cuttings and parades thrown in.
This trip—which is 8 days with an apparently lazy 30 events—will bring them from Victoria, to Vancouver and the Downtown Eastside, Bella Bella, Kelowna, Whitehorse, Carcross, Haida Gwaii, and back to Victoria. They’ll spend much of that time engaging with local charities and spending time in aboriginal communities.
The charities that they’re focusing on are ones that share a theme with those Kate spends much of her time promoting. On September 28, they will be at the Sheway charity for mothers who are suffering from addiction, and will visit the Immigration Services Society of BC later that day. In Victoria, they’ll be meeting and spending time with members of the Kelty Mental Health Resources Centre. These are very important things to focus on, and since the royals receive so much publicity no matter what they do, they are the perfect people to bring the public’s attention to issues affecting Vancouver specifically. Issues like drug addiction and mental health affect people from all communities, and it is unfortunately very easy for many to ignore them. Having the royals focus on those issues in our cities, instead of on a more general scale, will hopefully bring much closer attention from those in the Lower Mainland.
Their tour itinerary also focuses heavily on BC and the Yukon’s aboriginal populations. In Bella Bella, they will be welcomed to the Heiltsuk First Nation with a traditional ceremony. In Whitehorse, they will tour the Kwanlen Dün Cultural Centre, and in Carcross receive another traditional welcome and spend time in the small aboriginal community. They’re spending a full day in Haida Gwaii as well, attending a ceremony at the Haida Heritage Centre and Museum. In each spot, they are spending time taking in nature by touring on mountain bikes, canoes, and boats. By taking the time to actually see and experience so much of the west coast, William and Kate are showing that they actually care about our provinces, our diversity, and our history.
Even those of us who don’t follow to royals should be grateful to them. They’re using their spotlight to bring focus to members of our society who need it, and to provide visibility to our aboriginal populations. Their tour should be very interesting and fun for them, as well, because on top of their stops, British Columbia and the Yukon are both absolutely beautiful. The only mistake they made when planning the trip is not bringing their Prince George to Prince George.