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

Curated Second-Hand Market joins farmers’ market

Event hosted by The Reach Gallery Museum takes place July 20 in Abbotsford

Alleged Abbotsford crime boss loses bid for jail release while awaiting extradition hearing

Jazzy Sran is accused of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into Canada from the U.S.

Family of Chilliwack pilot killed in Honduras crash creates memorial scholarship fund

Parents, sister of Patrick Forseth fundraising to pay to send aspiring pilots to flight school

RCMP use helicopter and police dog to search for suspect on Sts’ailes First Nation

Man known to police fled an allegedly stolen vehicle and firearm on the reserve north of Chilliwack

Public hearing Monday for huge development near downtown

A 599-unit development has been proposed for a large site just north of the historic downtown

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

Justin Trudeau’s carbon footprint revealed in ranking of world leaders

Travel company ranks 15 world leaders’ foreign flight CO2 emissions

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

Cars keyed on BC Ferries after alarms bother dog on board

Delta police arrested one passenger on suspicion of mischief

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Most Read