How To Travel Like A Royal In Canada

When Britain's royal family travels, it's a highly coordinated affair. Willam, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales recently visited Boston to attend the annual Earthshot Prize Awards Ceremony. But their relatively short three-day trip doesn't compare to the six-month tour in the 1950s by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip where they visited 11 Commonwealth countries (via CNN). Planning involves not just where they go and when, but who they will meet, where they will sit, and what they will wear. The queen liked to wear bright colors so she could be seen in a crowd, and she liked to include a country's national colors or symbols in her outfit, per Royal Collection Trust. Like when she visited Canada in 1957 and to a state banquet, she wore a dress that featured a maple leaf motif (via Canadian Museum of History).

Kate Middleton followed in the queen's footsteps during her first international visit after getting married in 2011. The newlyweds went to Canada for a nine-day trip, and while there, Kate wore a diamond maple leaf brooch borrowed from the queen and a red maple leaf hat, according to The Guardian. And while the rest of us don't have access to dressers and jewelers, much less the royal family's jewelry, we can visit many of the places that the royals have. Here's some information on where to go and what to do to travel like a royal in Canada.

Vancouver, Victoria, and Whistler in British Columbia

In 1939, King George IV and Queen Elizabeth were the first guests at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, per Fairmont Moments. The royal couple stayed on the 14th floor, where renovated heritage suites are available, including the Royal Suite. There's also a Royal Suite at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria on Vancouver Island, where King George IV and Queen Elizabeth stayed too. The luxury hotel has been visited by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip and then-Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles, per Historic Hotels Then & Now. To get between Victoria and Vancouver, follow the lead of William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales and go by seaplane. Daily flights take just over half an hour, per Tourism Victoria.

Queen Elizabeth visited Vancouver a total of six different times, per Vancouver is Awesome. On her 1987 visit, Queen Elizabeth proclaimed the Expo Centre built for Expo 1986 with its geodesic dome would be known as Science World, a destination for interactive exhibits and science demonstrations, perfect for families, per Vancouver Sun.

Long before the rift between the royal family and Prince Harry, Princes William and Harry spent a few days skiing on the nearby world-renowned slopes of Whistler in 1998 with their father, causing quite a stir with young fans, per CTV News. You can go skiing and snowboarding at Whistler Blackcomb from mid-November and all the way into May, depending on the year's snowfall.

Learn about indigenous history in Haida Gwaii and the Yukon

In 2016, Prince William and Kate visited Bella Bella, known as Waglisla, home to the Heiltsuk Native Band amidst the Great Bear Rainforest, (per CTV News). As the world's largest coastal temperate rainforest, it's great for forest bathing. They also visited Haida Gwaii, an archipelago that's the ancestral home of the Haida people, and went on a fishing trip and visited the Haida Heritage Centre, watching Haida cultural dances and looking through exhibits on Haida Gwaii life over centuries, according to Vancouver Sun.

Prince William and Kate watched another cultural performance at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre in Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon, where you can learn about the Kanlin Dün First Nation. They toured Whitehorse's MacBride Museum, with exhibits on area history, and stopped by the Healing Totem, via RegalFille. The 36-foot-tall totem on Main Street was carved to help with healing in regard to the residential schools that impacted so many First Nations people, per CBC.

While in the Yukon, they went to Carcross and met with Keith Wolfe Smarch, a Tlingit carver who gave one of his masks to Prince Charles on his 2001 Yukon visit, per People. Visitors can arrange to watch carvers at work or visit the Carcross Learning Centre to see traditional carvings. Prince William and Kate then went for a mountain bike ride at Montana Mountain, perfect in summer with its 25 miles of singletrack and amazing mountain views.

Taste wine like royalty in the Okanagan Valley

When you think of Canadian wine, what might first come to mind are ice wines, particularly from Ontario near the Niagara Falls area. But the interior of British Columbia is home to the Okanagan Valley wine region, and Prince William and Kate visited the award-winning Mission Hill Family Estate Winery in 2016, per Decanter. They picked pinot noir grapes on the picturesque grounds, sampled wine, and got a tour from the owner, Anthony von Mandl. While the owner's not on hand to give just anyone a tour, guests can book a cellar experience to check out the underground barrel cellar followed by a wine tasting with food pairings that feature ingredients from the grounds. While you're there, if you pick up a bottle of Oculus, a full-bodied red wine, you'll be enjoying the same wine, (though from a different year), that Prince William and Kate liked so much they took some home, per MyLondon.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited the Okanagan Valley a number of times, including their 1971 visit to Kelowna, per Kelowna Capital News. They stopped by a celebration at Kelowna City Park, a popular beachfront park along the shores of Okanagan Lake where visitors can go lawn bowling, sailing, swimming, and even go out on a tiki boat. Princess Diana and Prince Charles also stopped by Kelowna City Park in 1986 and went on a walkabout (via Kelowna Capital News).

Enjoy the beauty of the Canadian Rockies

Marvel at the beauty of the Canadian Rockies in Alberta the way that many royals have done. In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother visited the Banff Springs Hotel, now known as the Fairmont Banff Springs, according to the Independent. The grand mountain resort has 745 guest rooms and suites, one of which is The Crown Suite, with two bedrooms and panoramic views — perfect for royalty. The resort is inside Banff National Park. Opened in the 1880s, the park is full of recreational options from skiing and hiking to horseback riding and dog sledding.

When Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited Banff National Park in 1959, one of their stops was for lunch at Lake Louise, a glacier-fed lake with stunning turquoise water, per the Canadian Research and Mapping Association. And Prince William and Kate spent a private night in the midst of their 2011 tour at Skoki Lodge, a backcountry lodge near Lake Louise with outhouses and no electricity, though reportedly a bathroom was provided for the royals (per CBC).

Another remote destination approved by Prince William and Kate is Blachford Lake in the Northwest Territories. There, they paddled to an island for a romantic dinner. If you want to explore the off-the-beaten-path destination, stay at Blachford Lake Lodge, open year-round for snowshoeing and aurora gazing in winter and paddling and hiking in summer. Keep an eye out for bald eagles and moose.

Go from star gazing to bronco riding in Alberta

Neighboring Banff National Park to the north is Jasper National Park, where royals like to stay in the four-bedroom Outlook Cabin at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. It's known as the royal retreat since King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stayed there, as did both their daughters: Princess Margaret in 1980 and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 2005, per Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. While there, the royals may have enjoyed the beauty of the night sky. Jasper National Park was designated a Dark Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

From mountain scenery to cowboy heritage on visits to Alberta, going to the Calgary Stampede is practically a royal tradition. The annual rodeo and festival is held in July, and in October 1951, then-Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh got to watch calf ropers and eat barbecue at Stampede Park. In 1959, they attended the festival and watched chuckwagon racing. On Prince William and Kate Middleton's first royal tour as a couple in 2011, they donned cowboy hats and watched rodeo demonstrations, per CBS News. Guests at the 10-day event can expect world-class cowboying, parades, carnival rides, and plenty of food.

Another heritage destination in Alberta is Fort Edmonton Park, where Princess Diana and Prince Charles famously dressed up in 1880s-style garb during their visit in 1983. The park features reconstructions of turn-of-the-century Edmonton, complete with historic reenactors.

A royal suite in Saskatchewan and Winnie-the-Pooh in Winnipeg

For more ways to sleep like a king or queen, there's the The Hotel Saskatchewan, Autograph Collection in Regina, the province's capital. The grand hotel was originally built in 1927, and when Queen Elizabeth stayed there in 2005, she was unsurprisingly in the Royal Suite, per Reader's Digest.

While in Winnipeg, then-Prince Charles fed Hudson, a polar bear at the Assiniboine Park Zoo, per CBC. While the zoo is still open and does still have polar bears in its Journey to Churchill exhibit, Hudson is back in the Toronto Zoo, via CBC. But Prince Charles didn't just see a polar bear in Assiniboine Park, he saw Winnie-the-Pooh, according to the CBC. The Pooh Gallery in the Pavilion Art Gallery includes paintings and memorabilia from the beloved children's book character, who was inspired by a real bear from Canada.

As for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, on their last visit to Manitoba in 2010, they walked across the elegant Esplanade Riel at The Forks, per the Government of Canada. On their 1970 visit, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were joined by their children, and they stopped by the newly opened Manitoba Museum, where the monarch reportedly liked the Bison Diorama, which is still there, per CHVN Radio.

Dine like a prince and princess in Ottawa

Since 1967, Ottawa's Rideau Hall has been the official Canadian residence of the monarch, and no visit to the Canadian capital would be complete without a stop there. The grounds and gardens are open for visitors to wander, complete with trees that have been planted by royal family members, and you can get a tour of the state rooms, per The Governor General of Canada.

Another oft-visited royal spot in Ottawa is the impressive seven-story granite Canadian National War Memorial in Ottawa's Confederation Square, including Prince Charles in 2022, per Hello!. During that Ottawa visit, Prince Charles sampled some of the food at the ByWard Market. It's a combination of indoor and outdoor food vendors, specialty shops, and dining, and Prince Charles and Camilla tried handmade Beavertail pastries.

In a previous visit with Princess Diana, Prince Charles dined more formally at what is now the Fairmont Château Laurier, where you can see a picture of Princess Diana in their photo gallery and have high tea fit for royalty, according to The Spec. Both Queen Elizabeth and her father stayed at Château Laurier on pre-1967 visits to Ottawa, per Historic Hotels Worldwide.

Ontario has a variety of museums visited by royals

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip stopped by Toronto's Black Creek Pioneer Village in 1973, a living history museum representing Ontario in the 1860s. where guests can watch reenactors and artisans, according to Toronto. On their next Toronto visit, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh opened the Terrace Galleries at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum in 1984, a multi-million dollar expansion that helped make the museum of art, culture, and history the largest in Canada and renowned around the world.

The couple was also at the unveiling of the aptly named The Queen's Lantern in 2010, via CTV News. The large glass tower was constructed above the entrance to Ottawa's Canadian Museum of Nature, and while at the unveiling, the queen was given a tour of a number of the natural history museum exhibits, including its blue whale skeleton.

Museum visits seem to be popular with royals. Princess Diana, Prince William, and Prince Harry went to Science North in Sudbury in northern Ontario, a museum with interactive science exhibits, a planetarium, and an IMAX theater in 1991, via On the same visit, Diana took their two boys on a Maid of the Mist boat ride to see Niagara Falls, via CBC.

Canada's smallest provinces aren't to be overlooked

Prince Charles planted an English oak tree in the Victorian-era Halifax Public Gardens in Nova Scotia on his 2014 visit, next to one that his grandfather King George VI planted in 1939, per CBC. He and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall checked out the Halifax waterfront as well, including a tour of the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market, which has been running since 1750, and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, via CBC. Immigration has played a large role in the history of Nova Scotia, the second-smallest Canadian province. At Hector Heritage Quay in Pictou, there's a reproduction of the tall ship Hector that was used to bring Scottish settlers to Nova Scotia in 1773 that was visited by Prince Charles and Camilla, according to CBC.

The smallest Canadian province Prince Edward Island is the setting for the "Anne of Green Gables" books by L.M. Montgomery. The books were some of Kate Middleton's favorites from her childhood, and she apparently requested to stop there on her and Prince William's 2011 Canada tour, per Daily Mail. They stopped by Dalvay by the Sea, a Queen Anne Revival home-turned-hotel along Dalvay Lake on Prince Edward Island's north shore, per The Star. The majestic house has been used as a film location for a few Anne of Green Gables projects, via Willow and Thatch.

Newfoundland & Labrador celebrates Canadian history

In 2022 when they were Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles, the couple visited Canada as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, and they stopped by the Government House in Newfoundland and Labrador. While there, they had a prayer at a Heart Garden, which was created to honor victims of residential schools, via CBC. They also opened the Commemorative Commonwealth Walkway, a 1-km path through the grounds of the Government House, per CBC.

From late May to early October, guests can tour Cupids Cove Plantation archaeological site, the location of the first English settlement in what is now Canada. Prince Charles and Camilla visited the site in Conception Bay on their 2009 trip, according to The Star. They stopped by nearby the historic town of Brigus as well, which basically looks like an English fishing village, including the Hawthorne Cottage National Historic Site, home to famed Arctic explorer Captain Bob Bartlett. And before leaving the province, the couple enjoyed a beer at Quidi Vidi Brewery in Quidi Vidi, a fishing village near St. John's.