Government House buzzing with excitement for royal visit (with VIDEO)

No outlandish requests for royal couple's stay at Government House

Odessa Corletto

Odessa Corletto

When Thandi Williams was given the news that Prince William and his family would be staying at Government House this month, she anticipated her shopping list would have some difficult items to fill.

But as the days tick down to the royal couple’s arrival in Victoria on Saturday, so far nothing has been out of the ordinary — aside from the buzz amongst staff preparing the house for their stay.

“I was quite surprised that it wasn’t anything really huge that we had to do to make the arrangements for our visitors. You would think with the royal family coming to visit that it would be pretty outlandish or something that we’re not accustomed to, but it really wasn’t,” said Williams, director of operations at Government House.

“You can feel the excitement, you can feel the desire from the team to really put their best foot forward. If you think about this being the centre of hospitality for British Columbia, we really have a responsibility to showcase the best of our culture.”

Located in Rockland, Government House is the office and official residence of the Lieutenant Governor, who also provides accommodation to distinguished visitors like international royalty.

According to Williams, the house hosts more than 100 events each year so staff are continually making sure the rooms are up to par, polishing the silverware once a week, dusting the furniture and manicuring the extravagant grounds.

No major upgrades were done for the royal visit, but the worn out carpet in front of the building has been replaced and renovations were recently completed to make the washrooms accessible for wheelchairs.

Staff have also been child proofing the house to some degree for the couple’s young children — Prince George, age three, and 16-month-old Princess Charlotte. It’s rumoured a sandbox will be on hand for the children to play, but Williams was tight lipped on any details and how many people will be part of the couple’s entourage.

“We’re just trying to think what they might like to do while they are here if they do intend to stay within the grounds and what would be amusing for children of that age, so that’s where we started our planning and preparation,” said Williams, who’ll be placing local snacks in some of the 13 rooms.

When it comes to what will be on the menu for the royal family, Aleks Kornat’s lips are sealed. But the executive chef at Government House for the last two years has been busy this week, sourcing local products for meals that celebrate the best of B.C. Some food will be gathered from the orchard, vegetable gardens and beehives on the grounds.

Kornat anticipates a lot of late nights in the kitchen during the few days the couple are here, but he and his staff are already tingling with excitement about cooking meals for the biggest guests of his career.

“You don’t get that chance every day. It’s a great opportunity,” said Kornat, who’s cooked for a royal visit before and isn’t feeling too much pressure thus far.

“You always hear about the royals coming to Canada and you hear about other chefs in other cities getting them. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase B.C., showcase Victoria, showcase the house and have some fun with it at the same time.”

The royal couple, who will be in Victoria between Sept. 24 and Oct.1, have a number of things planned for their first trip to city, including visits to the Cridge Centre for the Family, tea at Government House with children and families from the Military Family Resource Centre, and sailing a tall ship with the Sail and Life Training Society before making their departure at the Victoria Harbour seaplane terminal.

During their week-long visit to B.C., the couple will also stop in Vancouver, the Great Bear Rainforest, Bella Bella, Kelowna, Whitehorse, Haida Gwaii, the Yukon and Carcross.

A welcoming ceremony will be held at the B.C. Legislature at 5:05 p.m. on Saturday. The grounds of Government House will be closed to the public from Sept. 23 to Oct. 2.

editor@vicnews.com

 

Just Posted

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

Co-creatorsAdrianna Hatton and Malcolm McKenzie stand next to the little free library revealed Sunday at 9710 First St. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Literary crowd helps opens little free library in Sidney

Located at 9710 First St., the book sharing box features original art and reclaimed wood

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read