Government House polishes silver, stocks kitchen for royal visit

By The Canadian Press
September 20, 2016 - 3:25pm Updated: September 21, 2016 - 10:29am

VICTORIA — The silverware is being polished, the menu crafted, children’s toys are being chosen and even the fridge is being stocked with locally brewed beers.

Government House in Victoria, B.C., is getting careful attention in preparation for Saturday’s arrival of royal guests.

“In many respects it’s like preparing for some very special house guests in your own personal home and wanting to basically do your very best to make them feel comfortable,” Thandi Williams, Government House operations director, said Tuesday.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their young children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, will spend eight days touring British Columbia and Yukon, and the official residence of the lieutenant-governor will be their home base.

The stately mansion, with its sprawling treed grounds and public gardens, has been in full house-cleaning mode in recent days, with employees like Karen Dale and Odessa Corletto ensuring their polishing efforts will make the silverware gleam.

“I’m very excited about the visit,” said Williams. “There’s lots to be done, but it’s all in the preparations for a very, very special time here for us at the house, for the province and in some respects our country.”

She said the preparations include making plans to entertain the young prince and princess while their parents undertake official duties in Vancouver, Bella Bella, Whitehorse, Carcross, Kelowna and Haida Gwaii.

Williams said plans have been made to keep the children occupied during the days and especially in the event of rainy weather. The vast grounds, which includes walking trails, will be closed to the public during the royal tour, she said.

“Privacy is the biggest thing,” she said. “We want to make sure they can feel at home when they’re here. We want to showcase the best B.C. has to offer in the way of food, snack items, beverages.”

The residence’s executive chef Aleks Kornat said he’s sourcing local ingredients and recipes to prepare for what he said will be a B.C.-based — but so far, secret — menu for the royals.

“The menus look great and they are specific to our region,” he said. “We’ll be excited to provide the meals for the family.”

Kornat said he or members of his staff will be able to provide a meal or snack for the royals at any time of day or night.

“You hear about other chefs in other cities getting (the royals,)” he said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase Victoria, showcase the house and have some fun with it.”

 

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

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