Fun in store for William and Catherine on Canada tour

Britain's Prince William and his new wife Catherine will indulge their fun-loving side when they visit Canada, their first official overseas tour since getting married, royal officials said Tuesday.

From donning aprons in a cookery workshop to taking part in a boat race, the packed tour is billed by royal officials as a hands-on affair.

Their energetic nine-day trip, which starts on Thursday next week, is an energetic contrast to the more reserved approach taken by Queen Elizabeth II, William's grandmother, on foreign tours.

The couple will be hoping that their trip to Canada will be a further boost to the British royal family after their fairytale wedding on April 29 was watched by a global TV audience of more than two billion.

"The Canadians have put together an extremely welcoming and well-balanced programme of meaningful engagements," said the couple's private secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton.

He added it was "mixed with fun and lots of opportunities to get to know Canada and Canadians better".

The couple will take part in a dragon boat race and will be given the challenge of steering their teammates across a lake on Prince Edward Island, an eastern province of Canada.

Catherine, the former Kate Middleton, trained for a charity dragon boat race in London in 2007 but had to pull out because of security concerns.

While in the province, the royals will sample local delicacies such as chocolate-covered crisps and lobster.

William, a search and rescue helicopter pilot who celebrated his 29th birthday on Tuesday, will join his Canadian counterparts for a demonstration of how to land a Sea King chopper on water.

In Quebec City, they will put on aprons and take part in a cookery workshop with students learning the hotel trade.

They will also take part in walkabouts throughout their tour, giving them a chance to get to know Canadians, the officials said. Organisers are expecting large crowds, with the tour coming so soon after the wedding.

William, second-in-line to the British throne, and Kate will arrive on a Royal Canadian Air Force plane at the start of the their trip. They will visit the country's cenotaph and tomb of the unknown warrior in the capital Ottawa.

The following day, they will celebrate Canada Day, joining hundreds of thousands of people in Ottawa dressed in the national colours of red and white.

The final leg is Calgary, where their visit will coincide with the Calgary Stampede, an annual rodeo and festival which bills itself as the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth".

The royal couple will be presented with 10 gallon cowboy hats when they arrive in the city.

After wrapping up their tour to Canada, where the British monarch is head of state, the couple will visit California for three days from July 8 to 10, where the highlight will be a black-tie celebrity reception for British filmmakers in Los Angeles.