January 16, 2019

William and Kate visit Canada’s Yukon

Kate and William in Carcross, Yukon. (Photo: Chris Jackson / Getty)


How refreshing to see British royalty embrace Robert Louis Stevenson’s approach to travel. The famous author of Treasure Island and other classics once said, “Travel is the chance to come down off this feather-bed of civilization and find the globe granite underfoot.”

On a recent visit to Western Canada, Prince William and his wife Kate openly displayed their preference for down-to-earth experiences over pomp and ceremony. Their accommodations at the stately Government House in Victoria were no doubt in keeping with the luxury they are used to, but the couple looked happiest when donning casual clothes and flying to remote wilderness areas such as the Great Bear Rainforest of coastal British Columbia or the islands of Haida Gwaii, which were originally named the Queen Charlotte Islands for one of Prince William’s ancestors. But he didn’t seem to mind the name change. In fact, he and Kate looked like a pair of lovebirds who had escaped their gilded cage as they paddled, fished, sailed and hiked their way around some of Canada’s most scenic locations with big smiles on their faces.

They left their two small children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, in a nanny’s care for one night back at Government House while they flew to the Yukon. The British press was aghast that the future heir to the throne was checking into a three-star hotel in Whitehorse, but I doubt if William and Kate will be posting a negative review on Trip Advisor about their stay at the Coast High Country Inn. In fact, they looked blissfully rested and relaxed the next day while visiting Whitehorse’s McBride Museum and watching children perform at a First Nations Ceremony in the village of Carcross.

Alaska cruise passengers visiting the port of Skagway can book a shore excursion to Carcross (pop. 300), which was originally called Caribou Crossing and is located on the shores of Lake Bennett. It was here during the Klondike Gold Rush that hundreds of stampeders, after making the grueling mountain trek up the Trail of ’98, set off in makeshift rafts down the treacherous Yukon River to the Klondike gold fields.

A rail line eventually linked Carcross with Whitehorse, where travellers would board a sternwheeler to continue their journey by river to Dawson City. Whitehorse attractions include the MacBride Museum – a complex of log buildings which includes a cabin built by Sam McGee, who was a prospector and friend of the poet Robert Service. Whitehorse and other parts of the Yukon can be visited on a variety of land tours offered by Holland America Line (Holland America ).

Victoria, the provincial capital of British Columbia, is a port of call on round-trip cruises from Seattle and can also be visited, pre- or post-cruise, from Vancouver. There is regular floatplane service from Vancouver to Victoria’s Inner Harbour, where William, Kate and their two children boarded a floatplane after waving good-bye to hundreds of well-wishers gathered along the sea walls. Government House, the royal family’s home away from home during their week-long stay in Victoria, is open to the public. Check its website for details on tours and opening hours (Government House).

Anne Vipond About Anne Vipond

Anne Vipond is the author of several guidebooks to cruising destinations around the world. She draws on an extensive sailing background to impart her enthusiasm for cruise travel. From her home port of Vancouver, she travels by cruise ship to a wide range of destinations to keep her books current and useful for her cruise readers. Her cruising articles have been published in magazines and newspapers throughout North America and over seas.