'Kindred spirits': Princess celebrates Japan-Canada relations during P.E.I. visit
Prince Edward Island hosted royalty on Wednesday, as Princess Takamado of Japan visited the island to commemorate the 90th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Canada.
Princess Takamado started the day in Cavendish, where she took part in the official opening of the new Montgomery Park and Green Gables Visitor Centre.
"Although we may differ physically, Canada and Japan are indeed kindred spirits," said Princess Takamado.
"One such close cultural tie with Prince Edward Island is our mutual admiration of the literary gift of Anne of Green Gables," said Prince Edward Island Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry.
Princess Takamado expressed her admiration for the popular literary heroine, saying she enjoyed a performance of Anne of Green Gables Tuesday night for the second time in 15 years.
"I was surprised to find that I remembered the tunes and in fact some of the lyrics," said the princess.
A tree-planting ceremony and the unveiling of a statue of Lucy Maud Montgomery were part of the park's opening -- with a packed crowd excited to see the princess.
"I feel very honoured that as a person from away to be part of the P.E.I. community and to welcome the princess is a special day," said Annette Purro, who is from Rhode Island, but is a summer resident of P.E.I.
"It's a very special day whenever you can visit with royalty,” said Prince Edward Island Education Minister Brad Trivers. “In this case it's such an intimate connection between Japan and Prince Edward Island and the princess herself."
That intimate connection, drawing back to the princess' love for Anne of Green Gables, as the official international patron of the Lucy Maud Montgomery Institute.
"Anne of Green Gables has continued to give hope and encouragement to many," said Princess Takamado. "Her novels show us the importance of words, the power that rests in rich vocabulary."
The princess also visited the University of Prince Edward Island on what is her second time visiting the island. Her first visit was in 2004. She will spend Thursday on the island before heading back to Japan.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kate Walker.