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The Globe and Mail

Young minister to plan William and Kate's Canadian visit

Heritage Minister James Moore photographed by the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, on June 10, 2011.

Dave Chan for The Globe and Mail/dave chan The Globe and Mail

James Moore is emerging as the minister most likely to show the young royals a good time. As Heritage Minister, it's his job to play host to Prince William and his wife, Catherine, when they come to Canada in a couple of weeks.

Unlike previous Heritage Ministers, who were old enough to be William and Catherine's parents, Mr. Moore is age-appropriate. He celebrated his 35th birthday Friday (the same day as Prince Philip and Preston Manning), and is just a few years older than the newlywed royal couple.

He's young but experienced: This will be the third time Mr. Moore has played host to a royal couple - Prince Charles and Camilla in 2009 and Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip last year.

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However, it's different this time. Not only, he says, because of the "age part" but what he calls the "Hollywood-ization of them." He's referring to the intense publicity and interest surrounding William and Catherine, fuelled by their recent wedding.

And so this visit - their first official trip abroad as a married couple - presents tremendous opportunities for Mr. Moore to showcase to the world Canadian artists and musicians.

"They have chosen Canada, Canada Day on the Hill, national TV, great access. It's going to be a huge day and a huge moment for them and for Canada," he says.

William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are in Canada from June 30 to July 8, visiting Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Summerside, Charlottetown, Yellowknife and Calgary.

There are few details as to their exact itinerary, and Mr. Moore will not comment if the couple, who are athletic and outdoorsy, have made any special requests - kayaking or waterskiing or rock-climbing.

He allows they will be "a huge part" of the Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa and likely will attend a reception for children afterward. In Calgary, at the end of their Canadian tour, they are to play a prominent role in the Stampede Parade, he says.

Compare and contrast this to the visit last year of Queen Elizabeth II, who also attended Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill with about 70,000 others.

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Mr. Moore says while that was big, he expects this Canada Day "may be one of the largest ever."

Last year, there were 18 journalists from the U.K. in tow; this time around, there are already 85 U.K. journalists registered, with more coming from other countries, especially the United States where the couple will visit after completing their nine-day tour.

"After Calgary, they go to Los Angeles. So there's not only going to be a bunch of Hollywood press who are going to be here but New York press and American press and international press," he says.

"And it's a huge opportunity for the Canadian artists and the musicians, who are going be performing, because they are going to be performing in front of the largest crowd, live crowd, perhaps of their careers and … in front, certainly, the largest broadcast audience of their lives. It's going to be massive."

Mr. Moore gave the Canada Day lineup, in particular, much thought: "I proactively got much more engaged in which artists, which songs," he says, adding that he wanted to make sure the Parliament Hill concert was "more lively and, also to be honest, much more diverse."

"In the past I haven't always been satisfied with the diversity of talent that we've had on Canada Day on the Hill so I wanted to have more diversity not only in the kinds of music but in the diversity across the country," he says.

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With that in mind, the minister from British Columbia is particularly excited about B.C. indie folk rocker Dan Mangan, whose songs are featured prominently on his iPod.

Quebec musician Sam Roberts has also been booked along with 10-year-old YouTube sensation and Winnipegger Maria Aragon, who gained fame after being chosen by Lady Gaga to perform with her in Toronto.

"It's current, hip and diverse and there will be stuff they will like," he says.

As for the rest of their tour, Mr. Moore expects to be with them on the Quebec portion - where he is not worried "at all" about any controversy from anti-monarchists - and then again in Calgary.

The costs of the trip are not yet known although Mr. Moore's office says they will be lower than that of the Queen's nine-day tour, which cost Canadian Heritage $2.7-million.

"Two royal back-to-back visits," Mr. Moore says. "I don't know if that has ever happened before in Canadian history."

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