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Prince William and Kate spend final day of tour focusing on youth, mental health

FILE PHOTO - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sit together after being draped in traditional First Nation blankets during a welcoming ceremony at the Heiltsuk First Nation in the remote community of Bella Bella, B.C., on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016.
October 01, 2016 - 10:33 AM

VICTORIA - The royal tour end today, but before it closes Prince William and Kate will meet with social and mental health providers in Victoria.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made it their mission to meet as many Canadians from as many walks of life as possible during their eight-day tour.

The royal couple visited Vancouver's most impoverished neighbourhood, the Downtown Eastside, participated in First Nations ceremonies in Bella Bella and Haida Gwaii, B.C., and met residents in the small northern community of Carcross, Yukon.

The family is scheduled to depart by sea plane from Victoria Harbour later today.

William and Kate will spend the last few hours of their trip focusing on youth and mental health, causes they have advocated for in the U.K. and have shown an interest in throughout their Canadian tour.

They begin the day with a visit the Cridge Centre for the Family, a non-profit society that offers child care, supportive housing, respite care and other social services.

William and Kate will then meet with members of the Kelty Mental Health and Resource Centre, which provides support to children and their families in need of mental health services. The centre, and the foundation that helped develop it, is named after Kelty Patrick Dennehy, who died by suicide at the age of 17.

While the centre is located at the B.C. Children's Hospital in Vancouver, it is still accessible to the estimated 140,000 children and youth who experience mental-health disorders across the province through online, telephone and peer-network resources.

William and Kate end the day meeting with members of the Sail and Life Training Society, which teaches youth how to sail tall ships, and representatives of the charity, a student leadership program that supports mental health promotion.

On Friday, the royal couple visited the idyllic archipelago Haida Gwaii, taking a ride to one of the area's remote villages in a 15-metre long replica Haida warrior canoe.

First Nations chiefs and elders welcomed William and Kate at the Haida heritage centre, where young dancers dressed in colourful beaded costumes performed a dance to honour survivor's of Canada's residential school system.

Haida Nation spokesman Peter Lantin told the couple his people are survivors who rely on the land and the visit of the royals was a sign of hope.

William spoke in the Haida language and remarked on the long relationship between First Nations and the Crown.

"It is an honour for me to be here with you to see your traditions remain strong," he said.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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