The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge continued #RoyalVisitCanada by visiting Vancouver yesterday, spending time with Syrian refugees who have settled in the city, and families who have battled addiction.
William and Kate left Victoria for Vancouver on a float plane, the typical way of travelling between these cities. Their first stop was a visit to Sheway, a charity that works with vulnerable mothers who are battling addiction and other issues, which links with Catherine’s work back in the UK.
The couple cooed over some of the children there, with the Duke holding a baby’s hand who was being weighed at the centre. The Duchess told Ms Hydrochuk, the baby’s mother: “She is so incredibly sweet and I can’t believe how good she is. Whenever we used to put George or Charlotte on the scales, they would never stay still.”
Prince George and Princess Charlotte were gifted teddies and books amongst other items on the day – it’s a good job the Canadian RAF are taking them home, or they would need plenty of excess baggage allowance!
At a round-table discussion, Kate praised the women and families there: “What you’re all carrying as mothers and what you’ve all been through, is a huge, huge burden and just being able to come here and share your stories with us and each other is amazing.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) September 25, 2016
“You’re giving your children an amazing chance by coming here and being able to talk about your stories.”
Later, the couple travelled to the Immigration Services Society of British Columbia where they were greeted by Justin and Sophie Trudeau. Here, the Duke and Duchess got the chance to speak with Syrian refugees who have recently arrived in Canada following the devastating conflict in their home country.
Immigrant Services Society’s Welcome Centre is a regional hub for transitional housing and support services that includes 16 housing units, multilingual trauma support services and youth programs.
The Prime Minister spoke of his government’s efforts to settle 25,000 refugees in Canada and praised those who volunteer to help immigrants and families, as well as sponsors.
Courses have been made available to refugees, with Prince William learning about a technology course an Afghani man has taken to enable him to find work, while the Duchess charmed a young girl who gave her flowers.
Following lunch, the Royals went to Telhus Garden for an event with young Canadian leaders, who are making important contributions to their communities. William posed for a photo with Olympians and Paralympians, joined by the PM.
Kitsilano Coastguard Station in Vanier Park was next on the agenda. This was likely of interest for the Duke, who was a search and rescue pilot until 2013. He currently works as an air ambulance pilot in Norfolk.
William and Kate, both 34, spoke with first responders about their work, but also the mental health implications of tasks such as trauma medicine. The Duke of Cambridge has spoken about the ‘darkness’ of his job, which includes suicide call outs.
Following through on an election promise, the government re-opened the coast guard station following angry protests from locals at the previous government’s budget cuts.
More gifts were received for the Cambridge children, including life jackets and a large Dalmatian teddy, before being taken back to Victoria on a hovercraft.
Today they will visit Bella Bella.