Royal rainstorm: Miserable weather diverts B.C. royal tour plans
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were met with more than pristine wilderness on their tour of B.C.'s rugged central coast Monday as the region was drenched with heavy rains and pounded by gusting winds.
Environment Canada predicted up to 40 millimetres of rain would soak Bella Bella Monday, accompanied by winds of up to 50 kilometres an hour, in the region known for its temperamental fall weather.
The weather was so miserable for the third day of Prince William and Catherine's tour that several parts of the itinerary in the North Central coastal community were truncated or completely scrapped.
An aerial tour of the pristine and very remote Great Bear rainforest was cancelled due to the inclement weather. The couple was set to tour the territory with First Nations elders at noon.
The couple got to meet members of the small community and around two dozen hereditary chiefs.
Prince William then officially dedicated the territory as part of the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy Initiative, a program launched last year in Malta to conserve forests in all 53 Commonwealth countries.
More than 15 countries have already dedicated forestry projects or are planting new forests as part of the program, and another 10 are finalizing submissions.
It is expected that all 53 countries will have joined the canopy by 2018.
"Creating a global network of forests that will benefit indigenous communities, wildlife and tourism now and into the future," Prince William told a crowd of journalists and community members.
"When we protect our rivers, oceans, atmospheres, and today, or like today our forests, we are telling our children that our future prosperity cannot be separated from our natural world."
B.C. Premier Christy Clark said $1-million would be dedicated in a trust to promote the rainforest landscape.
The day is a busy one for the Royal couple. After unveiling a dedication plaque for the Great Bear Rainforest, they will return to Victoria by helicopter for a ceremony to add a ring of reconciliation to a ceremonial staff dubbed the Black Rod.
The rod is a ceremonial staff used in the provincial legislature when the monarch or her representative is in the legislature.
The ring symbolizes the connection between the Crown, First Nations people and all people in British Columbia, although some key First Nations members are not taking part in the ceremony, citing concerns over Indigenous title and rights.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, the leader of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said in a statement the chiefs deemed the event inappropriate for him to participate in.
Phillip said he could not participate "in good conscience" with the ongoing suffering and deepening poverty of First Nations people in Canada.
"The suffering in our communities is too great," he said.
"I apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused with our decision. We do not mean any disrespect. It is a matter of principle.”
The Royal's visit to the Central Coast comes the day after the couple's whirlwind tour of Vancouver.
After arriving by float plane downtown Sunday morning, the Royals made a quick stop to Sheway in the city's gritty Downtown Eastside.
The maternal health clinic supports mothers at risk that are struggling with drug and alcohol issues.
The agency is modelled on the Glasgow Women's Reproductive Health Service Unit, which was opened by Princess Diana, William's mother, in 1990.
Prince William and Catherine have followed in Diana's footsteps when it comes to maternal health.
From there, the couple met new Canadians at the Immigrant Services Society of B.C.'s new Welcome Centre., while accompanied by Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau.
Finally, the couple visited the newly-reopened Kitsilano Coast Guard base, where they were treated to a First Responders Showcase.
With files from CTV’s Melanie Nagy and The Canadian Press