On Friday 30th September, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had the privilege of visiting Haida Gwaii, the archipelago on the northern coast of British Columbia that is home to the Haida Nation.
Haida Gwai is a remote, but very special place. Formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands, it the ancestral home of the Haida Nation. The breathtaking natural beauty and Argillite carvings, totem poles and ancient Haida villages encourage visitors from all over the world to learn more about Indigenous culture and environmental stewardship.
When the couple arrived at Skidegate, they were transferred to a traditional Haida canoe and helped to paddle around to the beach at the Haida Heritage Centre and Museum, where they were officially welcomed. They were accompanied by a team of Haida warrior paddlers, elders and drummers, canoe from Skidegate to the Haida Heritage Centre and Museum at Kaay Llnagaay.
The couple arrived at the Heritage Centre and Museum and received raven’s tail scarves – a sign of wealth in the Haida community. Inside the centre, they were addressed by the President of the Haida Nation and saw a cultural performance from around 30 local children.
William and Catherine participated in a Haida prayer, a song and dance performance with representatives of the Haida Nation. They also visited the Carving House and Welcome House to view totems and arts, crafts and food.
A woman performed a dance in the honour of Princess Charlotte. The celebration at the centre commemorated past, present and future of the Haida culture.
The Duke and Duchess then had the honour of officially opening the new Haida Gwaii Hospital and Care Centre in Queen Charlotte.
This impressive new facility houses several new services that have recently transformed medical provision on the islands. People no longer have to leave Haida Gwaii to have children, for instance, and families can be close to their loved ones as they receive care late in their lives. The replacement hospital will enable Northern Health clinicians and staff to continue to deliver client-focused health care services in a modern environment that will improve outcomes for patients.
The Duke and Duchess met with people who have benefitted from these services. They visited the long-term care wing, where they meet residents in the common room, and proceed to the maternity wing, where they join a discussion with mothers and staff about maternal health.
The couple unveiled a plaque to mark the completion of the hospital and commemorate their visit.
Before leaving Haida Gwaii, The Duke and Duchess joined youth from the Skidegate Youth Centre where they enjoyed world-class fishing on the beautiful waters of the Hectate Strate. The Skidegate Youth Centre serves the youth of Skidegate and surrounding areas engage in safe and meaningful social, recreational and educational activities. The programme focuses on confidence building, physical activities and creativity while achieving social and life skills.
William and Catherine enjoyed a boat ride on the Highlander Ranger from the Queen Charlotte boat launch. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also went for salmon fishing with youth. The couple enjoyed their time fishing and talking with the team.
They caught fishes and crabs.
For the day, The Duchess of Cambridge was dressed smartly. She wore Smythe Duchess Blazer Army and Temperley Somerset Spot Pretty Top. For the fishing, Catherine swapped her blazer and blouse with Troy London Wax Parka and Really Wild Clothing Cashmere Mix Cable Crew Ruby Sweater.
Catherine paired the uppers with Zara Skinny Mid-Rose Trousers topped with Mulberry Braided Leather Belt, R. Soles Virgi Chocolate Suede Boots, her Kiki McDonough Citrine Pear Drop Earrings and Cartier Ballon Bleu watch.