Royal tour to honour service by Canadians
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla arrive on a Royal Canadian Air Force Airbus in Fredericton, N.B., on Sunday, May 20, 2012. The royal couple begin a four-day visit to Canada to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
FREDERICTON - Prince Charles and his wife Camilla arrived in Canada Sunday to start a tour to help to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
The plane carrying the royal couple touched down on a clear sunny evening in Fredericton. The Prince's newly designed Canadian flag was displayed out of the cockpit window as the plane taxied to the airport terminal.
The royal couple were greeted by local dignitaries including federal fisheries minister Keith Ashfield and New Brunswick Lt. Gov. Graydon Nicholas.
Ashfield said he had met many members of the royal family during his political career, but it was the first time to meet Charles and Camilla.
He said the visit during the Queen's diamond jubilee is important.
"I think most Canadians appreciate the royal family and the work that they do," Ashfield said.
He said Camilla commented on the nice weather and said it was warmer than the weather they left at home.
Kaitlyn Tozer, 10, gave flowers to Camilla before the royal couple were whisked away in a limousine.
Outside the airport fence, a small crowd of about 20 people gathered to watch the arrival.
Barry Adams of Saint John has an invitation to one of the events with the royal couple on Monday, but made the trip to Fredericton for another opportunity to see them.
"I think there are a lot of people really excited to see them come," Adams said. "It's just great to see royalty come to our province."
The four day tour includes stops in New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan, during which they will honour those who have devoted their time to others. The visit does not begin in earnest until Monday, where they will start their day by paying tribute to members of the military and their loved ones at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown.
Charles and Gov.-Gen. David Johnston will deliver speeches and the royal couple will also visit the Prince's Operation Entrepreneur program, which helps military personnel transition to civilian life by starting and growing their own businesses.
In the afternoon, they will travel to Saint John for a walking tour along Prince William Street, which features late 19th-century architecture. In 1981, Prince William Street became the first streetscape in Canada to be designated as being of national historic and architectural significance by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
They will also attend a citizenship ceremony for 12 new Canadians — two for each decade of the Queen's reign.
Then it's a short walk to the Marco Polo Cruise Ship Terminal for Victoria Day celebrations, including displays of local crafts and choral presentations.
They will then tour Hazen White-St. Francis School, an elementary school with about 145 students who are predominantly from low-income families, before flying to Toronto in time to view a Victoria Day fireworks display.
On Tuesday, the Ontario government will host a reception in the historic Distiller District for the royal couple before Charles visits the Yonge Street Mission.
In a column he wrote for the Globe and Mail, Charles said he wanted to find practical opportunities to celebrate how Canadians are serving their home communities, the country and the world.
"Service to others is the central theme of the Diamond Jubilee and it is this that guides the Queen and my family in all that we try to do," he said.
"Many of the engagements during this tour are deliberately focused on highlighting individual cases of success which tell a wider story so that they might inspire others to become involved in similar ways."
Barry MacKenzie of the Monarchist League of Canada said the tour provides an opportunity for Charles and Camilla to thanks Canadians for their community efforts while marking Her Majesty's 60 years on the throne.
"It's the wonderful service of the people of Canada to others that makes it a great place to live.
"I think the opportunity we're being afforded this year is to celebrate all of that."
They will depart Toronto on Tuesday evening for Regina. The next day, Charles will have a private audience with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and be treated to a concert by the Regina Symphony Orchestra before the tour concludes.
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