Olympic Welcome for Royal Couple on Canada Day

Some very special guests from overseas will be in Ottawa to attend Canada Day celebrations this year and some home-grown Olympic heroes will be there to welcome them.

In their first official visit as a Royal couple, England’s Prince William and Kate Middleton will be on Parliament Hill today to celebrate Canada’s 144th birthday. The newlyweds, who will travel across the country over the next week, were officially married in London’s Westminster Abbey just over two months ago, on April 29.

As part of the festivities, two of Canada’s most accomplished Olympic athletes will be on hand to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the nation’s capital. Freestyle skier Jenn Heil (Spruce Grove, Alta.) won a gold medal in the women’s moguls event at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy, followed by a silver medal performance four years later in Vancouver. She is also a four-time world champion dating back to 2007. Joining Heil is diver Alexandre Despatie , a two-time silver medallist in the 3-metre springboard. The Montreal native is also the only diver to have been world champion in all three platform categories – the one, three and 10-metres.

Heil and Despatie will serve as emcees for the event, which kicks off at noon and runs throughout the day. The theme for the afternoon’s show will be “Canada: A Proud Past and a Bright Future” and will feature musical performances by Great Big Sea and Pierre Lapointe, among others, as well as a special fly-over by Canada’s Snowbirds and the CF-18 jets.