Thousands of people in Calgary waited for hours, many overnight, for a chance to get a wristband to access royal tour events. (Mary-Catherine McIntosh/CBC)

Thousands of people who lined up overnight outside a Calgary arena were collecting their prized royal-watcher wristbands Wednesday morning.

The free wristbands provide access to one of two chances to see the couple: on Thursday at the BMO Centre on the Stampede grounds, or on Friday at Challenger Rotary Park in northeast Calgary before the couple departs for the United States.

The pyjamas-clad, sleep deprived crowd at the Max Bell Centre on Barlow Trail S.E. was patiently shuffling through the doors in single file to collect their wristbands, reported the CBC's Mary-Catherine McIntosh.

Many recipients held up the wristbands like they had won an Olympic medal, she said.

But even as the die-hard royal watchers who had camped overnight packed up, many people who simply took a chance and showed up Wednesday morning were leaving with one of the coveted 5,600 wristbands, McIntosh said.

"Stacks and stacks of wristbands are still available for one of two events in Calgary. The wristbands will allow people limited access to the official send-off at Rotary Challenger Park," blogged CBC reporter Bryan Labby.

Advertisements started appearing on the website Kijiji late Wednesday morning from people trying to sell the wristbands. One vendor was asking $1,000 for a blue wristband, which grants access to the BMO Centre event.

"Camped all night, froze our butt off stod (sic) in line all morning for these tickets no sod (sic) stories please," the ad read.

After visiting Slave Lake on Wednesday, William and Kate will take a day-long retreat before their official arrival in Calgary on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. MT.