The Earl of Wessex has spent time in Toronto, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Canada recently, and his schedul has been jam-packed.
Arriving last Monday for his 37th trip to Canada, Prince Edward attended the Toronto Scottish Anniversary Parade and Reception at the Bellenden Hutcheson Armoury in Toronto, a drum and pipes band celebrating its 100th birthday this year.
The following day, Edward spent time with local dignitaries and politicians, including Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, and Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, before heading to Ryerson University. The school focuses on applied, career-oriented education.
— Kathleen Wynne (@Kathleen_Wynne) October 27, 2015
There, he toured the Toronto office of Think2Thing, a 3D printing lab and the Digital Media Zone. He was impressed to meet two high school students who had created a wearable heart monitor that can alert emergency Services to heart attacks or other problems.
“It’s great to see that young people are coming up with these fantastic ideas,” Prince Edward told CTV Toronto. He said it’s important for young people to have the resources to turn an idea ‘into something that becomes commercially viable’.
The rest of his day was centred around The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, as Trustee of the foundation; a meeting with the other Trustees was on the agenda, with a reception for those achieving Gold Standard Awards afterwards.
Engagements for the following few days were also focussed on the award, named after his father, Prince Philip, who launched the programme.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award is for 16-25 year olds, and is a valuable extra-curricular qualification.
As chairman of the International Council of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association, the Prince chaired a meeting to discuss the program’s progress and future, before attending the International Forum Discussion Groups for the award. An international Forum, opening ceremony and workshops formed the most of his next few days in Toronto, barely leaving the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
On Thursday morning came a meeting with the Governor General of Canada, David Johnstone, with a military engagement thrown in the mix: Edward, as Colonel-in-Chief of The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, held a meeting, afterwards attending the International Forum Youth dinner that evening.
Edward travelled to Halifax Sunday evening, and on Monday it was a stop at IWK Health Centre. He toured the facility meeting staff, patients and family members at the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, perhaps poignant for him, since his son, James, Viscout Severn’s birth saw his son kept in intensive care for a number of days. The Prince also got to see the Garron Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
Later, a scholarship named after the 50-year-old Earl was revealed. The Wessex Scholarship will give $5000 to a post-secondary school health care student.
Next, Edward headed to the Halifx Public Library; following a tour, he presented 59 Canadian youths with gold awards at the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Awards ceremony.
“Well done to all of you. You didn’t just sign up. You got it done,” he told the awardees.
— Rebecca Lau (@RebeccaLau) November 2, 2015
“This program essentially teaches people how to be able to take opportunities, seize opportunities and how to overcome challenges,” he said in an interview following the ceremony.
“Life is full of challenges and opportunities but unless you got the confidence to go through that open door and see where it leads you, you may never find out where your life may take you.”
That evening saw the Earl visit his namesake – Prince Edward Island – inspecting troops of the PEI Regiment in Charlottetown.
The troops paraded inside the Armouries, then Prince Edward performed an official inspection, also handing out promotions and awards to soldiers.
He also unveiled a new plaque to mark the occasion, dedicated to the troops past and present.
Edward’s next day saw him attend the second annual Special Olympics P.E.I. fun day at the University of Prince Edward Island on yesterday, Tuesday 3rd November, where he received an honorary doctorate in 2007.
The Prince was applauded and cheered as he arrived, and asked them ‘Are you wecoming everyone like this?’. He spent time chatting with those undertaking activities and sports at the university.
Later in the day, Prince Edward unveiled a new logo for the St John’s Regatta, the oldest continuing sporting event in North America. The logo commemorates the reagatta’s 200th anniversary, which will be celebrated in 2018.
Edward will fly home today.