Prince George, B.C., celebrates connection with newborn prince

Matthew Coutts
Daily Brew
The naming of the royal baby has put the city into the spotlight

When William and Kate announced their newly born child would be named Prince George on Wednesday, those interested in fawning over the baby heir for another day rejoiced.

The tyke's full name is George Alexander Louis, but his friends will call him George, Prince George or His Royal Highness of Cambridge.

But George is such a common royal name, one wise woman mused to me, that the little child wouldn't have anything named after him. His predecessors have already had everything named in their honour.

It's a good point. The Commonwealth is wrought with George-isms, Canada notwithstanding. Prince George streets, statues, plaques are everywhere. Even cities, such as the British Columbia community of 80,000 that now shares its name with the tiny, diapered heir.

The name is expected to do wonders for the city of Prince George, B.C. Boost tourism? Perhaps. After the baby's name was unveiled, WestJet announced a seat sale to Prince George, B.C. (and the rest of the continent, but that came secondary).

[ Related: Royal baby named Prince George Alexander Louis ]

The city's tourism agency also started doing back flips at its sudden good fortune, angling for a royal visit, perhaps sometime soon (the city celebrates its 100th birthday in 2015).

Indeed, the city itself has already sent the Royal Family a gift basket and, at a press conference on Wednesday, Mayor Shari Green, joined in the celebration.

"It's a chance for us. We'll certainly invite the royals, both the Duke, the Duchess and Prince George of Cambridge to join us in 2015, that's when Prince George this city will be celebrating its 100th birthday," she told reporters.

Green also announced that a baby crib would be set up at city hall, where donations would be collected and later distributed to new parents in the city. Which is, frankly, a very nice touch.

Prince George, B.C. hasn't been this royally relevant since the city's University of Northern British Columbia campus finished construction in 1994 and Queen Elizabeth II attended the official opening.

In a moment that could elicit some groans, however, the city recently disabled its Facebook and Twitter pages while it reviewed its social media policy. Meaning its connection to the online fury created by the royal naming is someone tampered.

In a column posted before the name was official, Prince George Citizen editor Neil Godbout opined the news could wreak havoc on the city's online connectivity. "[S]orry, folks, the #princegeorge tag on Twitter could soon get usurped by His Royal Highness," he wrote.

But he added this uplifting message:

So if it is Prince George, let's run with it proudly. We already regularly take phone calls from our friends in Prince George County, Maryland, so surely we can work in a connection with a young fellow who one day we will call king. And let's make some inquiries now to see if his parents will include his namesake city as part of his inaugural visit to Canada, when he's 19-months-old and Prince George hosts the Canada Winter Games.

I like it, thinking ahead and co-opting happenstance for publicity sake. My kinda town.

[ More Brew: Royal baby name could be big boost for Canadian cities ]

Funnily, the city now being celebrated for its fortunate name hasn't always been the focus of good vibrations.

The Citizen reports that, just over a year ago, a city councillor from neighbouring Abbotsford grew so tired of the "musty, old-fashioned and lifeless" name that he wrote to Prince George officials and urged them to consider a new moniker.

“All I want to do is plant the seed. I think sometimes Prince George gets a bad rap,” then-Coun. Simon Gibson, now a provincial representative, wrote in an email. “I think rebranding Prince George ... will bring it more into the mainstream.”

Thankfully, the city did not act on the suggestion, and it now sits at precipice of what could be a major renewal. Nice call, Gibby.

Check out some tweets celebrating the city's new name buddy.

#IHeartPG is so awesome they are naming royal babies it. — Johnny Enemark (@Enemarxist) July 24, 2013

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