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Royal Visit to Victoria

Royal Story Ideas

This fall, B.C. and the Yukon will host the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, better known as Will and Kate, with their two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte at the invitation of Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. Their visit itinerary has just been released and Victoria will be their first stop on Saturday, September 24 with subsequent visits on September 27, 29 and October 1, delighting locals and inspiring the city's businesses to add a regal touch to their offerings. Our handy guide will give you the lowdown on Victoria's royal history and how to treat yourself to a stately experience fit for Will and Kate.

The city of Victoria was originally going to be named Camosun, a Songhees word meaning "where different waters meet and are transformed." Soon it was decided that it should honour the young Queen's husband and consort, and for a short time became Fort Albert. When it became clear that post would be the headquarters for the Hudson's Bay Company west of the Rocky Mountains, and destined to be the seat of a new British colony, it was decided that no less a name could be attached than that of the Queen herself.

Robert Bateman artwork 

Kate's Guide to Victoria

Kate graduated from the University of St. Andrews in 2005 with a 2:1 in History of Art. It was there that she met her future husband Prince William, who enrolled on the same degree before switching to Geography. Kate has long been passionate about painting, photography and the arts. After joining the Royal Family, Kate chose to support charities and patronages that reflect her arty interests. She is patron of The National Portrait Gallery and The Art Room, a charity that works with children who are experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties, to increase their self-esteem and independence through art.

Given her inclination to the arts perhaps Kate would enjoy a visit to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. The Gallery, the largest on Vancouver Island, is housed in a combination of contemporary exhibition spaces and the remarkable 1889 Spencer mansion. The Gallery has an outstanding collection of art from Asia including one of the only authentic Shinto shrines outside of Japan and significant works by celebrated Victoria artist, Emily Carr.

Kate might wish to explore a number of the city's galleries and discover the range of distinctive West Coast artworks created by local artists. She could find traditional potlatch masks, basketry, shamanic devices, button blankets, totem poles, artefacts, and more at Out of the Mist Gallery, or take George and Charlotte to the Robert Bateman Centre to admire the legendary Canadian artist's striking nature paintings. They can browse the gallery with Bateman's multi-media commentary to hear about his art and his vision for a world where everyone shares a deep connection with nature and learn about the Songhees First Nation upon whose land the gallery sits through the newest Resilience of the People exhibition.

Fisgard Lighthouse Royal Visit 

Will's Guide to Victoria

Prince William has a strong connection to the British military. After training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as a cadet, he earned his commission as a second lieutenant, later qualified as a pilot, trained with the navy and underwent helicopter training to work with R.A.F. Search and Rescue until 2013.

We think the Duke of Cambridge would be fascinated by a tour of Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse. The fort, a National Historic Site, is a West Coast artillery fortress built in the late 1890s to defend Victoria and the Esquimalt Naval Base and was on active duty from 1895 to 1956. Visitors can tour through secret bunkers, explore gun batteries and underground magazines built a century ago, as well as searchlight emplacements and command posts. With Kate's passion for photography, she would also enjoy this location to capture photos of the historic lighthouse and beautiful Olympic Mountains in the distance.

He might also enjoy a day at the British Columbia Aviation Museum. Dedicated to preserving aircraft and artefacts, the museum's society collect, restore and display aircraft and objects related to the history of aviation in Canada, with emphasis on British Columbia aviation history. Located next to Victoria International Airport (YYJ), the museum is home a variety of historic civilian, commercial and military aircraft, all of which made contributions to British Columbia's aviation history. Visit the Memorial Room, where you will find artefacts from the wars in which Canadians fought as members of the Royal Flying Corps, Royal Air Force, or Royal Canadian Air Force.

Fairmont Empress Royal Suite cropped 

Fairmont Empress

Experience the royal treatment at the newly restored Fairmont Empress. The hotel's regal connection stretches back to 1919 when Edward, Prince of Wales, waltzed into the dawn in the Crystal Ballroom - an event considered by Victorians to be of such importance that almost 50 years later, the obituaries of elderly ladies would appear under headlines such as, 'Mrs. Thornley-Hall Dies. Prince of Wales Singled Her Out.' In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth experienced afternoon tea at the historic property, and more recently the hotel welcomed Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for a Golden Jubilee luncheon in 2002.

Royal Suite
For the ultimate regal experience, live it up in the Fairmont Empress' brand new Royal Suite which will be completed this summer. Featuring a king bedroom, living room parlour, dining room for eight, modern spa bathroom and ensuite powder room, guests also have exclusive access to all Fairmont Gold services and amenities. Glamorous, luxury living at its finest with a palatial feel, the Royal Suite is perfect for an unforgettable indulgent treat.

Tea at the Empress
The Fairmont Empress Tea China was originally presented to King George V in 1914 upon the opening of the Booth factory in Stoke-on-Trent, England. The china was first used by The Empress in 1939 for the Royal visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and is still used to this day. The pattern is now produced by William Edwards exclusively for The Fairmont Empress.

Q at the Empress
Q may represent Queen and country, but this modern take on royalty is definitely feeling a bit more like Prince Harry than Queen Victoria. Q at the Empress is the centerpiece of the reborn Empress Hotel. Debuting June 1, 2016, the restaurant transforms the former Empress room into a modern sophisticated space while retaining the iconic architectural integrity of the room. Sip cocktails and sample the local fare overlooking the Inner Harbour.

Lobby Lounge
If Q at the Empress represents Prince Harry the Lobby Lounge former Tea Lobby characterises Will and Kate. The former Tea Lobby has been re-imagined as a modern sophisticated dual purpose space featuring Tea at the Empress during the day and a cocktail/wine bar in the evening. Home of the Empress cake, which showcases an extra special customized chocolate developed by our Executive Pastry Chef AJ Thalakkat in France, Tea at the Empress is among the world's best unique tea experiences.

Spinnakers beer and appy photo 

Royal Eats

Pubs
Will and Kate will feel right at home with a stop at one of Victoria's British pubs.

The Guild: We think Will and Kate would enjoy finding a taste of home in Victoria. The Guild has a mission to provide British comfort food prepared with true craftsmanship. Favourites such as Scotch eggs, chip butties and beer and cheese sausage pair with The Guild's extensive daily selection of beers and ciders from local and international breweries. Their full English breakfast on weekend is a must!

The Bard & Banker: To remind the royal couple of where they met in St. Andrews, Scotland, we think they would enjoy a pint at the Scottish-inspired Bard & Banker Pub. With shining brass taps, dark wood paneling and British ephemera on the walls, this cosy pub feels like home. They also serve an extensive collection of whiskies to complete the experience.

Spinnakers: Canada's oldest brewpub would be the perfect place for the royal couple to try delicious local fare with a cold pint overlooking the Inner Harbour. Spinnakers has a number of British style beers including their English Style India Pale Ale, one of the brewery's favourites among regulars and beer aficionados, and Mitchell's Extra Special Bitter, brewed in honour of John Mitchell, Spinnakers' original brewer.

English Sweet Shop 
Will and Kate can find familiar British sweets and treats for their little ones in Victoria's English Sweet Shop. Established in 1910, the walls of the store are lined with jars over 1,000 different sweets, all imported from Britain. Try everything from hard boiled favourites like humbugs and sherbets to Jellies Babies, Dolly Mixtures and Party Rings.

Bard and Banker music 

 

Heritage Tours

Want to learn more about Victoria's regal connections? Take a walking tour with Come See Victoria and hear stories about the royal family's connections to the city, from Queen Victoria herself, Edward (of Mrs. Simpson fame), and Elizabeth, of course. Even places locations including Chinatown and the Morris Tobacconist shop have royal stories to share.

 

What could be more British than a ride in an authentic London cab? Flag down The Victoria London Taxi, an original 1970 Austin FX4, and take a tour of the city, head out to Butchart Gardens or sample local wine in the Cowichan Valley.

For more Royal content, check out:
Royal Visit
5 Ways to Enjoy Royal Treatment at The Fairmont Empress
Will and Kate's Victoria Favourites  

 

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