Saturday marked the last day of the Royal Visit 2016 and it was a busy one for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who spent the day in Victoria, B.C., before delighting crowds with the appearance of their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, at the family’s official departure.
Prince William and Kate focused on youth and mental health-related causes during their excursions on Day 8, which they have advocated for in the U.K. and shown interest in throughout their Canadian tour.
FULL COVERAGE: Royal Visit 2016
Prince William thanked Canadians for their “warmth and hospitality” over the last week, adding he and Kate loved the beautiful places and welcoming people they met during their time in British Columbia and the Yukon.
Watch below: Prince George shakes hands with Governor-General David Johnston during the official departure from Victoria
“We feel very lucky to have been able to introduce George and Charlotte to Canada. This country will play a big part in the lives of our children and we have created such happy memories for our family during this visit,” he said in a statement.
“Canada is a country of optimism, generosity and unrivalled natural beauty. I hope we have helped all Canadians celebrate what makes this country great. We will see you again soon.”
The royal couple’s first engagement on Saturday was a visit to the Cridge Centre in Victoria — one of the most well-known charities in the city. The royal couple unveiled a statue at the centre, paying tribute to people who have overcome challenges. Hundreds gathered to watch the event.
Board president Val Fuller said the Cridge Centre offers programs for those with brain injuries and victims of domestic violence, along with care for infants, families and seniors.
Watch below: The Duke and Duchess arrived at the Cridge Centre for the Family in Victoria, B.C. on Saturday. They met well-wishers, enjoyed songs from a choir and helped unveil a monument.
Fuller welcomed William and Kate, saying their visit to the centre touches “the common thread of the courage to overcome.”
“Your presence here today is a true reflection of your genuine commitment to change lives,” she said. “Whether the United Kingdom or Canada, whether the Royal Family or just the folks here in Victoria, in the end we are all people who are privileged to be able to reach out our hands and raise our voices to help one more overcome on their journey.”
Watch below: A young BC girl talks about getting to meet Prince William and Kate on the final day of their Royal Visit to Canada
B.C. Premier Christy Clark also gave the Royal Family matching child-sized Vancouver Canucks jerseys with three-year-old George and 16-month-old Charlotte on the backs.
Next, the couple visited a local cafe where they met with families who have been supported by the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre.
The Kelty Mental Health and Resource Centre 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.
Andrea Vukobrat, 25, was one woman who has used the Kelty centre’s services. She said she told the royal couple she suffered from anxiety issues as a teenager and it took her years to seek help.
“When did you realize what you were feeling?” William was heard asking.
Vukobrat said she let her father know she needed help, who told her he had been suffering mental health issues as a Canadian Forces soldier while serving in the Balkans.
At 11:45 a.m. the Duke and Duchess boarded a tall ship operated by the Sail and Life Training Society, which teaches youth how to sail. On board was a group of young people who are part of JACK.org, a national student leadership network working to end stigma around mental health for their generation. The charity was started by the parents of Jack Windeler — a student at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., after his suicide in 2009.
The Duke and Duchess talked to the group about the organization’s work while helping to sail the Pacific Grace on a cruise around Victoria’s harbour.
Both royals helped take down sails and posed for a selfie with the young crew.
“Thank you so much,” Kate said with a smile.
Watch below: The royals take a boat ride on tall ship Pacific Grace; Prince William is impressed by the beards of crew members
Later in the afternoon, William and Kate ended the tour by taking part in a public official departure ceremony at Victoria Harbour Airport, which started just after 3:40 p.m.
The family then boarded a float plane for a brief tour of the southern tip of Vancouver Island, before leaving Canada with the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Prince George, wearing red shorts and a blue sweater with knee-high blue socks, waved to the crowds as he walked down a ramp to the harbour. He held his father’s hand while Kate carried Charlotte, who wore a light blue dress and red cardigan.
Prince George earned smiles from onlookers as he withheld a high five for the second time since his interaction with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday.
Watch below: Boy gives flowers to Princess Charlotte, gets denied high five from Prince George
Trudeau announced an official gift of $100,000 to mark the royal visit on Saturday. The donation will be split evenly between Prince’s Charities Canada (PCC) and the Immigrant Services Society (ISS) of British Columbia. The $50,000 donation to PCC will go towards promoting education and preserving languages in Canada’s Indigenous communities; the gift to ISS will support newcomers to the country with housing, employment and language skills.
“In keeping with tradition, I am honoured to mark the visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with a gift that will help both Indigenous youth as well as newcomers to Canada realize their dreams,” Trudeau said in a statement.
“Canadians have a real affection for the Royal Family which was once again very much on display during this tour.”
Watch below: The Royal Visit ends as Prince William and his family depart by seaplane
With files from The Canadian Press