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

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press Media file photo)
Court-registered sex offender arrested for breach of parole in Langford

Cameron Ratelle returned to correctional facility after female youth approached at bus stop

Marc Porpaczy said he’s glad he delayed his daily walk with his dog, Juno, after a car crashed just outside his driveway just before 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 25. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dramatic crash highlights need for sidewalks, say Colwood residents

‘The residents have gone from frustrated to angry’

Jerry Dyck plans to purchase a new RV to drive across Canada in, once it’s safe to travel again. (Courtesy BCLC)
Victoria man plans post-pandemic cross-Canada RV trip after $2M lottery win

Retired electrician bought the winning ticket in Duncan

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Residents of the Cowichan Valley decorated more than 55 vehicles with anti-racist slogans for a car rally in support of Cowichan Tribes on Saturday, January 24. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Dozens join anti-racism car rally and virtual panel in Cowichan Valley

Provincial ministry and BC Green caucus issue joint statement detailing concerns

Jesse Savidant, 31, is wanted by the RCMP after failing to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo in December. Police warn Savidant should be considered violent. (Photo Submitted)
Warrant out for man accused of stolen property offences across Vancouver Island

Jesse Savidant did not appear for court date in Nanaimo last month, say RCMP

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Island artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

Most Read