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William and Kate's visit to Canada to be casual and action-packed

The party begins the moment William and Kate touch down in their Canadian Forces Airbus for a nine-day tour during which they will sample everything Canadian - from street hockey to the Calgary Stampede to Anne of Green Gables.

It's a tour designed for young people who happen to be royals - casual and action-packed. And it begins at 3:15 p.m. on June 30 at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. Everyone is welcome.

"All are invited on the grounds," Governor-General David Johnston said Tuesday. "As they embark on this royal tour, their Royal Highnesses will have the unequal opportunity to visit communities across our wonderful country and witness what Canada is becoming as we move toward its 150th anniversary in 2017."

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He noted the theme of the tour is "moving forward together."

The details of the couple's much-anticipated visit were revealed by the Governor-General and Heritage Minister James Moore at a news conference at Rideau Hall. The couple's every move is accounted for - except for their one down day, July 6, when they will be whisked by helicopter from Calgary to a secret location. And government officials vow never to reveal where the newlyweds spend that day.

During their visit, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be seen on every mode of transportation - from open landau to helicopter to float plane and even a dragon boat - as they travel to seven cities in four provinces and one territory over the nine-day span, ending July 8 in Calgary.

The "moving forward" theme, according to government officials, is meant to honour those who helped build the country as well as future nation builders. So it's fitting that there is a real focus on the military and youth.

Looking and listening

William and Kate's itinerary suggests the couple will be very visible during their tour, with wreath-layings, trips in open landaus, a picnic and even some romping on a beach.

The best chance to see them, however, comes on June 30 at Rideau Hall and again on July 1 when they travel to Parliament Hill in an open landau for the noon Canada Day celebrations.

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The couple will be less visible in Montreal and Quebec City - they travel on the HMCS Montreal overnight to Quebec City - but will be very much in the public eye during their visit to Prince Edward Island.

After a visit to Province House, the birthplace of Confederation, on July 4 the couple will travel to the seaside resort on the north coast of PEI, Dalvay by the Sea, featured prominently in the Anne of Green Gables made-for-TV movie.

A great chance there to see the couple in action - they are to compete in a dragon boat race across Dalvay Lake and participate in beach activities. In Summerside, the two will watch a search-and-rescue operation aboard a Coast Guard vessel.

On their last day in Canada, they will travel by car along the Calgary Stampede parade route, providing everyone a glimpse.

Prince William will make three speeches during the visit. He will speak at Rideau Hall when he arrives and also on Parliament Hill on July 1. His last speech will be at the end of the tour in Calgary. In addition, he is to make "four remarks," according to the official itinerary - at the Freedom of the City Ceremony in Quebec, at the official arrival ceremonies in Prince Edward Island and the Northwest Territories and at a reception in Calgary.

Kate will not speak publicly. The couple will give no interviews.

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Personal touches

William and Kate are young and active, which is reflected in this visit.

Expect William to grab a stick and play street hockey in Yellowknife on July 5.

They will be participating in a cooking workshop at the Institut de tourisme et d'hotellerie du Quebec in Montreal. And they will be

"white-hatted" - a stampede tradition - when they arrive in Calgary on July 7. It has been reported that Kate is a fan of the Anne of Green Gables books. The star of Anne of Green Gables, The Musical, will be at the Dalvay event.

As for the couple doing anything spontaneous, Mr. Moore said, "You never know."

Exposing Canada

TheHeritage Minister expects the royal couple's presence on Parliament Hill on July 1 will make it a record-setting Canada Day - 70,000 were there for the Queen's visit last year.

In addition, there are 1,300 accredited journalists, from countries including India, Japan, Qatar and China.

"This will be the highest-profile, most-televised, most-watched, most-written-about royal visit that Canada perhaps has ever had," Mr. Moore said.

Logistics and costs

The royal tour will cost $1.5-million, compared with $2.8-million for the Queen's tour last summer. The couple will be flying on a Canadian Forces Airbus that will pick them up in England and drop them off at the end of their visit in Los Angeles.

The security costs are shared with the local police forces. But the costs specifically to "secure the Duke and Duchess" will be covered by the federal government, Mr. Moore said.


Given their age and royal rank, this visit is considered more relaxed and casual than that of a visit by the Prince's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth. Although it is not mandatory, men are encouraged to make a "neck bow" when they meet the couple; women are encouraged to make a small curtsy as a sign of respect.

On first reference, they are to be addressed as Your Royal Highness; on second reference they are to be called "Sir" or "Ma'am."

In addition, the media covering the royal couple have been given a set of rules: "Photography is not permitted during meals" and "[they]must not be embarrassed or inconvenienced by photographers." Reporters cannot direct questions to them.

James Moore on anti-monarchists and threats of disruption during the visit

"Debate over the monarchy is nothing new to this country," the minister said. "I would think that the vast majority of Canadians would want them to feel very welcome in Canada."

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About the Author
Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

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