Monday 26th September was going to be one of the most beautiful days of the tour. William and Catherine visited Bella Bella – a small Heiltsuk First Nation community situated on the east coast of Campbell Island.
The Duke and Duchess travelled to the Great Bear Rainforest – the world’s largest temperate rainforest, located on the beautiful Central Coast of British Columbia and home of the Kermode bears or “spirit bears” – a sub-species of black bear noted for its white fur.
Ahead of the tour, the Premier of British Columbia announced that Great Bear has been named as Canada’s commitment to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. Launched at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta, in 2015, the QCC is a unique network of forest conversation initiatives, which involves all 53 countries of the Commonwealth.
The QCC presents a rare opportunity to unite the whole Commonwealth family and save one of the world’s most important natural habitats, forests. By creating a Pan-Commonwealth network of forest conservation products, the QCC will mark Her Majesty The Queen’s service to the Commonwealth while conserving indigenous forests for future generations.
Immediately on arrival at Bella Bella airport The Duke and Duchess transferred to a floatplane where they were given an aerial tour of a section of the vast rainforest. The much-expected rain did not hamper the mood despite the cancellation of a few events planned specifically to give the couple a local experience.
They then landed on the water at Bella Bella’s main jetty where they were welcomed by the Heiltsuk First Nations community. From there, a group of young people guided them through Bella Bella to the community centre where a youth performance was taking place.
The couple received a very warm welcome from the locals.
The couple spent time meeting and greeting the locals and thanking them for the warm welcome.
Then they walked to the Elders Lodge, where The Duke of Cambridge marks the dedication of the Great Bear Rainforest as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative. The text of Prince William’s speech
Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to be here today as the Great Bear Rainforest is officially committed to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. I would like to thank the Heiltsuk First Nation community for so welcoming us to their home.
Her Majesty has asked me to convey her sincere thanks to the Government of British Columbia, and the Federal Government of Canada, for nominating your innovative Ecosystem-Based Management programme in Great Bear to be part of The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy network.
This is a substantial dedication which will highlight a more collaborative approach to sustainable forest conservation. Other Commonwealth countries will benefit from sharing the knowledge and expertise you have gained by working together with First Nations, industry and environmental organisations to establish this unique forestry management programme.
The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy was launched by Her Majesty in Malta last year. An appeal has been made to all 53 Commonwealth nations to contribute areas of indigenous forest, to be preserved in perpetuity in The Queen’s name, marking Her Majesty’s service to the Commonwealth.
I am pleased to say that more than 15 countries have already dedicated forestry projects or are planting new forests, with another 10 finalising their submissions. By CHOGM 2018, it is expected that all 53 countries of the Commonwealth will have joined The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, creating a global network of forests that will benefit indigenous communities, wildlife and tourism now, and into the future.
The Commonwealth has at its heart always been about the values that bind its people. This project, focusing on our shared natural heritage, is no different. The establishment of the Canopy is a loud and unambiguous statement that the citizens of all Commonwealth countries believe that nature is fundamental to the health of our societies. When we protect our rivers, oceans, atmospheres, or like today,our forests, we are telling our children that their future prosperity cannot be disconnected from the health of the natural world.
Her Majesty is immensely grateful to you, and the people of Canada, for the leadership you have shown in making this contribution. I have no doubt that other Commonwealth nations will be inspired by what you have achieved here.
The Great Bear Rainforest is a global treasure that covers 6.4 million hectares on British Columbia’s north and central coast – equivalent in size to Ireland. All British Columbians have a stake in protecting it. Commemorating the visit, Government announced $1Million trust-fund to protect the rainforest. The historic agreement that secures the future of the Great Bear Rainforest meant more old- and second-growth forest will be protected, while still ensuring opportunities for economic development and jobs for local First Nations.
The party then travelled to nearby Mcloughlin Bay where the rainforest was officially committed to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy during a brief ceremony.
The Royal Couple had an opportunity to see one of the new walking trails being constructed in the area before departing by boat and returning to Victoria. They unveiled a plaque marking the visit.
A video highlighting the tour so far.
For the day, Duchess was dressed casually and was in her comfort zone – a country girl. The Duchess of Cambridge was wearing Topshop Gingham Shirt and Jigsaw Cashmere Katherine Cloud Sweater with her Zara Blue Skinny jeans and Holland & Holland Ladies Lightweight Multipocket Safari Jacket. Catherine paired the outfit with Pippa Small’s Large Kite Double Drop Earrings and her Penelope Chilvers Long Tassel Boots.