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The Globe and Mail

Will and Catherine look to wow Canada's youth

Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, watch the racecourse after Queen Elizabeth's horse Carlton House lost the Epsom Derby at Epsom Racecourse in southern England June 4, 2011.


As the new, hipper generation of royals, Prince William and his wife, Catherine, will be spending much of their upcoming visit to Canada meeting with the country's younger generation.

The emphasis of their nine-day visit, which begins June 30 and is their first official tour as a married couple, will be on young Canadians, a senior Conservative source told The Globe and Mail.

The itinerary will also lean heavily on military symbolism and exercises.

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Since announcing their engagement last year, the couple's public events have focused on youth. Their first event since their April wedding was at a charity gala dinner for Absolute Return for Kids, an organization that funds education projects for disadvantaged children.

And for their first event in Canada, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are expected to meet with children after their attendance at the noontime Canada Day concert on Parliament Hill.

The concert features, of course, young Canadian talent, which will be showcased around the world. Afterward, it is expected the couple will meet youth representatives.

Heritage Minister James Moore has kept many of the details of the tour secret. On Tuesday, however, he and Governor-General David Johnston are to make an announcement about the royal couple's itinerary.

It is known that after visiting Ottawa, the royal couple travels to Montreal, where they will meet young chefs, then to Quebec City and Prince Edward Island before heading west again.

On the Island, they will meet, among others, Premier Robert Ghiz, whose wife is also named Kate.

"So it's William and Kate and Robert and Kate. The new generation," observes the Conservative source, noting that Mr. Ghiz is Canada's youngest premier.

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The couple arrive in the PEI capital on the evening of July 3. The next day they will visit Province House, the birthplace of Confederation.

The source says that afterward they will meet with The Confederation Centre Young Company. The group of young actors are debuting their new musical play, The Talking Stick, on July 1. It involves aboriginal and First Nations students from every province and territory and tells the stories of Canada's First Peoples. It is not clear if the group will perform part of the play for the royal couple or just meet them.

After Charlottetown, William and Catherine will go to Dalvay By The Sea, the charming 1890s seaside resort on the island that was featured in the Anne of Green Gables television series.

Catherine is said to be a fan of the Canadian classic - and the actors who play Anne and Gilbert in Anne of Green Gables, the Musical, which plays at Charlottetown's Confederation Centre, are expected to be at Dalvay to meet the couple, according to the source.

From there, they are expected to fly by helicopter - along the coast and over Green Gables, the Lucy Maud Montgomery historic site in Cavendish, to Summerside. There they are to watch a search and rescue demonstration. William is a search and rescue pilot for the Royal Air Force. Canada's gift to the couple (in addition to hiking gear) was a donation to the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Yellowknife is their next stop, where they will meet Canadian Rangers, and they also travel to Calgary before going on to Los Angeles.

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On their last day in Canada, William and Catherine will be confronted by the faces of 156 Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

The Portraits of Honour display, a 40-foot mural of faces by artist Dave Sopha, is part of a cross-country tribute to fallen troops that will stop at the Spruce Meadows North American Show Jumping Championships, just south of Calgary.

As well as William, Catherine has a personal connection to the military. Her grandfather fought in the Second World War and for years was based in Calgary.

The couple's visit is also a chance for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to draw a clear connection between Canada's monarchy and its military - two institutions of which he's been a vocal proponent - and boost the profile of each in a royal tour that's guaranteed large media coverage.

Kevin MacLeod, secretary to the Queen and the federal figure in charge of organizing the tour, is quick to note the trip isn't all military. In the case of Yellowknife's Canadian Rangers, for example, "you've got Arctic sovereignty, volunteerism, giving back to community. I don't think some of these things you should say, 'Well, that's a military event.

"That's where creativity comes into play."

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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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