Where to enjoy the royal wedding across Canada
Time to raise a glass to the royal couple
It's either going to be a really early morning or a really late night. It all depends on whether or not you can catch any sleep beforehand and, perhaps most importantly, where in the country you'll be watching the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29.
The scheduled start of 11 a.m. London time translates into a 7 a.m. ceremony on the east coast of Canada, or a bleary-eyed 3 a.m. in the west.
CBC party in Toronto
If you're in the Toronto area, CBC is throwing a royal wedding viewing party at the Canadian Broadcasting Centre, 250 Front St West, beginning at 5 a.m. Tea and scones will be served, and prizes will be awarded for the best hat, wedding dress or bridesmaid dress.
The good news for diehard royal fans – or even the mildly curious – is that there seems to be no shortage of events here in Canada.
From traditional English breakfasts at community centres and bars to fancy hat competitions and dog shows at hotels to private gatherings in living rooms and dens, people across Canada will be joining in the party. It's going to be a huge worldwide celebration, with some estimates suggesting as many as two billion people will tune in.
Here's a selection of events happening across the country.
Queen impersonator and royal dog show
In Victoria, B.C., the Fairmont Empress will be hosting a royal wedding party complete with a traditional English breakfast of fried bread, baked beans, kippers and eggs. There will be big-screen TVs to catch all the action. Tickets are $39 and doors will open at 2:30 a.m.
Angela Rafuse-Tahir, director of sales and marketing at the hotel, says the early start time doesn't appear to have dampened spirits.
"We have close to 400 people coming to breakfast at 3 a.m," she says.
However, she admits it has had an impact on the rules surrounding proper attire. The hotel is asking guests to show up in their pyjamas, but many still plan to show up in their very best duds, she says.
A Queen Elizabeth impersonator will also be on hand and there will be a royal dog competition after lunch.
The hotel is expecting a range of attendees, thanks in part to the "hipness" of the royal couple, Rafuse-Tahir says.
"It's a wide demographic, from the young to the young at heart," she adds.
9 a.m. champagne toast
A similar event is being planned at the Hotel Atlantica in Halifax, though the later start time seems to have allowed for a more traditional approach.
Doors will open at 6:30 a.m. and a "very interesting" English breakfast of stewed prunes, grapefruit, back bacon and black pudding will be served at 7 a.m., says Colleen Forward, director of sales and marketing.
Thanks to an extension of the drinking hours from the Nova Scotia alcohol and gaming division, there will be a traditional champagne toast at 9 a.m., she says.
Forward says the hotel has sold 147 tickets at $35 each and expects the 200-person capacity room to be full.
A $100 gift card will also be given out in a fancy hat competition, the exact rules of which have yet to be determined.
"It could be the most outrageous, it could be the most beautiful or the trendiest [hat]. We haven't got all the criteria figured out," Forward says.
A dry wedding
For anyone hoping to raise a glass to the bride and groom in Ontario on the morning of the wedding, it will have to be done in the privacy of the home, as the alcohol and gaming commission has denied an exemption on serving hours.
"Although temporary extensions are allowed, they are for municipal, provincial, national or international significance, designed to support the success of events occurring within the community where the extension is allowed," explains Lisa Murray, spokesperson for the commission.
The only exception to that rule has been during the FIFA World Cup, which Murray says is the "most anticipated, most watched sporting event and has a huge following in Ontario's multicultural communities."
Of the 17,000 licensed establishments in the province, only 32 applied for exemptions, Murray says.
This was a bit of a letdown for English-born Toronto councillor Sarah Doucette, who said last month that she was willing to use provisions within the City of Toronto Act to extend serving hours.
After hearing of the commission's decision, along with opposition from the chief of police, Doucette dropped her plans.
"Obviously, a glass of champagne would be nice to raise to the royal couple," says Doucette, adding that a toast will have to wait because she has a council meeting at 11 a.m. that morning.
Instead, she is planning a dry party at Swansea Hall in the city's west end, where attendees can watch the ceremony on several large screens.
"It's a good excuse to have fun, to get together, to have a party and celebrate a happy event," Doucette says.
From the comfort of your living room
The Monarchist League of Canada, a non-profit group promoting interest and loyalty in the British monarchy, is urging people to hold small gatherings inside their homes to celebrate the royal wedding.
"Whether your living room or den can accommodate five or 25, there are certainly neighbours and monarchists in your area who would enjoy the fellowship of watching the wedding with like-minded friendly folk," its web site states.
For Marilyn Braun, a blogger and royal commentator who has appeared on CBC, CTV and BBC, getting together with others is a good way to join in the festivities.
"It's probably just a way to be involved in the event," she says. "I mean, if you're not traveling to the U.K., I guess this would be the best thing, to be amongst a party and to be celebrating in your own way without having to pay for expensive airfare."
Besides, she says, if you're really interested in seeing the ceremony and catching a glimpse of Kate's dress, your best bet might be to watch everything on a TV screen.
"It's a much better view, just being able to see it all and being able to get the information."
Then again, Braun herself is one of the several hundred thousand expected to be in the streets of London on April 29.
Cross country snapshot (all times are local)
The Royal St. George’s Society of Halifax: Holding a Royal Wedding Breakfast for members and invited guests at St. Mary’s University on April 29. Watch the event on a large screen and enjoy a buffet breakfast.
Government House: The Lieutenant governor will be opening the doors to the public to watch the wedding on big-screen TVs. Starts at 6 a.m. Reservation required.
The Burgundy Lion pub has a royal wedding breakfast and tea starting at 5:30 a.m..
Royal ParTEA: An afternoon of tea and fashion in support of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation at St. Laurent Centre.
The Earl of Sussex: Pub will be open as of 6 a.m. for breakfast. Will air the Royal Wedding live.
The Queen Mother Café: Will serve a British-inspired lunch and dinner on April 29, complete with steak and yorkshire pudding and fish and chips.
The Duke of Kent: Opening at 5 a.m. to show a live broadcast of the Royal Wedding. Will be serving a traditional fry-up breakfast for $8.99.
The Fox and the Fiddle (27 Wellesley St. East): Opening at 5:30 a.m. to show the live broadcast of the Royal Wedding. The kitchen will serve a traditional English breakfast.
The Artful Dodger: Hosting a party for the Royal Wedding in the evening, with monarchy-related regalia and a bagpiper.
Fairmont Royal York Hotel: Tea served in Library bar and traditional breakfast served in Epic restaurant at 6 a.m. Kate and William look-alikes will greet attendees in the lobby.
King Edward Hotel, 37 King St. E.: A full English breakfast served in the Sovereign Ballroom from 5 a.m. while diners watch the events in London.
St. John's Church: Happy and Glorious! Royal Wedding Cocktail Party and Concert on April 28 with pianist Valerie Tryon, who has performed for numerous Royal family members. Janet Obermeyer will also sing Windsor favourites.
The Blue Willow Tea Shop: This British tea shop will be hosting a Royal Wedding Cream Tea on April 29. They’ll serve traditional tea items: egg salad finger rolls, lemon scones with double Devon cream.
Palace Theatre: A live broadcast of the wedding. Doors open at 5:30 a.m. on April 29.
The Carriage House: Potluck dinner will take place at 6 p.m. on April 29 and highlights of the wedding will be shown. Hosted by the Monarchist League of Canada.
The Palliser Hotel: Holding a breakfast at 7 a.m. on April 29, featuring a telecast of the wedding and a royal buffet breakfast and trivia. Tickets are $45.
The Rose & Crown Restaurant and Pub: Won’t be open for the live broadcast, but it will show highlights throughout the day.
Point Ellice House: From 11:30 to 2:30 p.m. on April 28, you can toast the Royal couple at a Tea and Toast celebration ($10 per person or $18 for two).
Fairmont Hotel: On April 29, afternoon tea will begin at 11 a.m. with a replay of the Royal Wedding shown on a big screen. Guests named William or Kate will receive 50 per cent off afternoon tea.
Shangri-La: Offering a $259 "Princess Package." Guests check in on Thursday and are woken up at 2 a.m. PST on Friday for the Royal Wedding. Tea and scones will be served in the Library followed by a live screening of the wedding in the Blue Moon Theatre and High Tea at the Lobby Lounge.
Three Lions Café: Will show highlights on TV throughout the day on April 29.