The big fat airbus hit the tarmac in Whitehorse on Tuesday evening and departed Wednesday afternoon — William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were in the Yukon for less than 24 hours.
The government of Canada booked the entire Coast High Country Inn for Will, Kate and their 80-or-so person entourage, Governor General of Canada David Johnston, and members of Heritage Canada.
The High Country is owned by Northern Vision Development. CFO Philip Fitzgerald says that the inn is the easiest one in Whitehorse to secure, that’s why it was chosen as the place to stay.
Sarah Edwards is the director of accommodation for NVD. She returned to work in August after a maternity leave, and was immediately occupied by preparing for the royal visit.
The jacuzzi suite that Will and Kate slept in for one night was completely re-vamped — the carpet was ripped out and replaced. The new bed was made with new linens. The walls were painted — grey. “We chose calming décor and colours,” said Edwards on the Monday before the guests arrived.
Next door to the bedroom another jacuzzi suite was the designated wardroom. This room was emptied out, and a big mirror — new — leaned against the wall in the corner. Down the hall was a room where the duke and duchess dined. This room overlooks Jim Light Park; the window was replaced.
David Johnston stayed a floor down from Will and Kate. His carpet and furniture were the original versions, but the sheets on his bed couldn’t have been more taut.
The mask, hanging on the wall above the Governor General’s bed, was one of seven reasons I was touring the High Country Inn. It, along with five other works of art, were chosen from the Yukon government’s permanent art collection to be on display for the royal guests. Another one, by carver Calvin Morberg, came from the Northern Cultural Expressions Society. It is for sale.
Philip Fitzgerald explained that First Nations own 40 per cent of NVD’s shares. For this reason, he told the curators at the permanent art collection to choose artwork by Yukon First Nations to hang in the rooms occupied by the crown visitors. Otherwise, he said, it would be impossible to choose which artists’ work should adorn the rooms — “There would be a thousand opinions on this,” said Fitzgerald.