Canada to donate $100K in name of Prince George
Donation will go to a 'child-focused charity' to be named later
It may be a while before Prince George pays a visit to Canada, but the country's future king already has plenty of symbolic homegrown mementoes.
On their official website, Prince William and his wife Kate expressed gratefulness for the gifts they've already received for their newborn son, but suggest well-wishers instead support those in need, such as a local children's charity.
Canada appears to be heeding the call. Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a donation by the government of $100,000 to a Canadian child-focused charity to be named at a later date. In addition, Harper announced the offering of a Canadian-handcrafted blanket "reflective of our country's rich and diverse culture.
"These gifts symbolize our warm ties to our royal family, honouring our close and enduring relationship," Harper said in a statement Thursday.
Harper and his wife, Laureen, and Gov. Gen. David Johnston and his wife, Sharon, are also offering a personal present to the infant heir to the throne: a selection of Canadian children's books in both official languages, many of which have won the Governor General's Literary Awards. The names of the books were not listed in the release.
The Monarchist League of Canada is also opting to take the charitable route. Rather than sending an actual gift, branches and members are being encouraged to raise money and collect gifts for local charities in Canada, said chair Robert Finch.
"Ultimately, the royal couple will be bombarded with presents, so this is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the birth by helping others less fortunate," Finch said in an email to The Canadian Press.
Tradition of official gifts
Whether it's to celebrate a birth, wedding or the occasion of a royal tour to Canada, selecting an official gift that remains in Canada as a legacy to the royal family is a tradition dating back decades, said Kevin MacLeod, the Canadian secretary to the Queen.
MacLeod has been organizing royal tours and other royal events in Canada since 1987. During Prince William and Kate's tour of Canada shortly after their 2011 wedding, the official gift for the couple was the creation of a youth ambassadors program with Parks Canada, he noted.
The mayor of Prince George, B.C., Shari Green, said a gift basket is being prepared for the prince who shares a name with the Canadian city.
The basket will include a baby shirt with a logo of Mr P.G., the city mascot, which symbolizes the importance of the forest industry within Prince George, which is located in central B.C.
Green said the city will also proclaim July 22 of each year Prince George of Cambridge Day to commemorate the birthday of the future king.
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Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo and his wife, Nancy, opted to make a symbolic addition to the young prince's wardrobe with footwear from aboriginal-owned Canadian company, Manitobah Mukluks.
The couple sent a pair of Infant Scout moccasins to the son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as Edna Nabess mukluks from Manitobah Mukluks' Storyboot Project. The initiative seeks to help revive the traditional arts by forging business-building partnerships with elders and artisans who fashion mukluks and moccasins the traditional way.
"This gift symbolizes the historic ties between the Aboriginal peoples of Canada and the Crown, and will serve as a continued token of friendship," Atleo said in a statement.
Prince George, whose full given name is George Alexander Louis, was born on Monday in a London hospital, and is third in line to the British throne behind Prince Charles and Prince William.