BRITISH COLUMBIA

Prince George, B.C. Celebrates Royal Connection

07/24/2013 05:13 EDT | Updated 09/23/2013 05:12 EDT
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PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - The new name of the royal baby may knock the City of Prince George off the top of a Google search, but the mayor isn't complaining.

Shari Green says there's no other place with more reason to celebrate in the naming of Britain's new prince than her central B.C. city.

"It's very exciting," she gushed in a telephone interview Wednesday. "We thought we had a few more days to prepare but we're very excited that the name has been announced and we're very pleased to share the name."

She said her phone started ringing the moment the name Prince George Alexander Louis was announced, ending speculation over what moniker Prince William and his wife, Kate, would pick for their first child.

But the name is where the similarities end: the royal Prince George is the pink cherub recently displayed by his happy parents, the City of Prince George is a resource-based industrial town of about 80,000 people located 800 kilometres north of Vancouver.

The mayor said her city is working on a plan to let those in the United Kingdom get to know Prince George, B.C., a little better.

"We have some plans in place right now ... through our tourism agency to get the word out to the people in England that there is another Prince George in the world and we would invite them to come and see what is happening in Western Canada."

Green said the city is also writing up an invitation to the royals to bring their new baby to the Canada Winter Games to be hosted by the city in February 2015.

"I think there are a lot of significant things happening in 2015 and baby Prince George will be about a year and 1/2 old by then, so old enough for a long flight and some time on the ground in a winter city."

If the royals make the trip, they'll have to bring a bunting bag for baby as the average January temperature in the city is -16 Celcius.

Green is confident the family will consider the trip.

"We hope that they'll be intrigued by that. They're very avid outdoors people and they certainly have a connection to Canada. This was the first place that they came as a newly married couple and Canada has long supported the royal family for generations."

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent nine days touring seven cities on the Canadian trip in 2011, but didn't make any official stops in British Columbia.

The city will also proclaim July 22 of each year Prince George of Cambridge Day to honour the future king's birthday, Green said.

A gift basket is being prepared for the baby that will have a number of mementoes from the city, including a baby shirt with a logo of Mr P.G., the city mascot that symbolizes the importance of the forest industry in the city, the mayor said.

The city also recognizes the royal couple's history of volunteering and giving and will be setting up a baby crib for those who live in Prince George for donations of baby clothes and toys for other new parents.

"Well make sure those get distributed," the mayor said.

The city's name dates back to 1760 and was named after the man who later became King George III.

-- By Terri Theodore in Vancouver

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