TORONTO [Peter Paul Media] — Prince Charles ventured through manure-infested mulch Friday to greet unsuspecting fair-goers in his most intimate moments yet since arriving in the city as part of a three-day visit to Ontario. As accredited media, we followed the Royals all day.
The Royal couple, on their first visit to Canada as a married couple, officially opened the 2009 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on Friday. Billed as the largest agricultural show in Canada, the fair features over one million square feet of space with eateries, animals and educational areas for children.
Accompanied by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the Royal couple entered Ricoh Coliseum in a landau, a horse-drawn carriage and circled twice to greet the thousands in attendance.
Following opening remarks by the fair’s president, Gayle McPherson, Prince Charles opened the 2009 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. “Nothing could give me more pleasure than to declare the 87th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair officially open,” he said.
As with other visits during their tour, there were gifts. McPherson’s grandson presented His Royal Highness with a basket of Canadian maple syrup and honey. The Duchess of Cornwall received a western saddle from McPherson’s granddaughter.
Following the opening ceremony, the royal couple separated to explore the fair and interact with royal watchers and camera-toting guests. “I had no idea he was coming, I am just here with my kids,” Christine Higgins said as Prince Charles entered the east concourse to meet with ordinary Canadians.
His Royal Highness made small talk and shook hands with ordinary fair-goers who packed the area around Prince Charles as Royal Protection Officers watched on nervously. Their Royal Highnesses then rendezvoused at the Ring of Excellence to present the championship ribbon to the supreme champion steer of the Queen’s 2008 Guinea’s Beef Cattle Competition.
After signing an official guestbook, His Royal Highness made his way outside, shook a few hands and, for a brief moment, stood by the door of his Lincoln Town Car as if to say he was sorry for leaving so soon. During that seldom-seen moment, Prince Charles seemed reluctant to go.
As quickly as it came, the royal motorcade departed.
After a brief visit to the Evergreen Brickworks Facility, the royal motorcade arrived at Toronto’s Pearson Airport shortly after The Duchess of Cornwall. Shortly before 2 p.m., Lt.-Gov. David Onley and other royal delegates escorted Their Royal Highnesses to their Canadian Forces Airbus plane.
With a final wave, the royal visit to Ontario was over. As the aircraft pushed off from the tarmac, the Royal Standard and Canadian flag drifted through the brisk air ending the historic trip.
On Thursday, the royal couple visited Varsity Stadium and presented new Colours to the Royal Regiment of Canada and the Toronto Scottish Regiment. A less than capacity crowd watched on as the ceremony took place amid frigid temperatures. Prince Charles serves as Colonel-in-Chief to both regiments.
“As you watch on with your new colours, please be aware of your Colonel-in-Chief’s undying interest and concern in all you do, but above all, the pride I feel being associated with two such special regiments,” the prince said. “God bless and preserve you all,” he added.
Their Royal Highnesses’ continue their 11-day visit to Canada on Saturday in Victoria, B.C., and then return to London on November 12.