Maybe you’ve heard the very minor, not-at-all surprising, totally not historic news of the week: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are stepping down as senior members of the Royal Family and moving, at least part-time, to North America.
It’s not yet clear whether the couple will be settling in Meghan’s native U.S. or in Canada, where they’ve just spent a six-week vacation. But just between us, one thing is clearer than crystal: they should definitely, totally, absolutely move to Canada.
In fact, so certain are we that this is the right move, both for the Duke and Duchess and for baby Archie, that we’ve compiled a list of the best cities for them to consider.
Just as a criminal always returns to the scene of a crime, so too should lovers circle back to where they fell in love ... eventually. And in the case of Meghan and Harry, that story begins in Toronto: the city where they fell head over heels for each other and, of course, where they made their public debut as a couple.
Not to mention all the other perks. The University of Toronto is currently ranked as one of the best schools in the country. Toronto is consistently rated one of the most multicultural cities in the world, with over 140 languages spoken and 200-something ethnic groups.
Plus, Meghan lived here for seven years while filming the legal drama “Suits,” which means she could show baby Archie where she got her start, and could even introduce him to some of her her favourite things (chilies from Terroni, dog walks at Trinity Bellwoods, etc.).
And, bonus: Jessica Mulroney, a Canadian fashion stylist who also happens to be Meghan’s best friend, lives in the city, and could baby-watch if the couple ever needed a bit of extra friendly support. Oh, and Drake.
It’s no secret that Meghan and Harry are fans of the West Coast. As a kid, the duke spent plenty of time on the slopes in Whistler, and he’s returned to British Columbia on several occasions since then. The duchess, too, has been a frequent visitor, and she filmed the movie “When Sparks Fly” in downtown Langley City back in 2014, before she was a royal.
The couple even chose to spend Christmas on the West Coast this year, and were spotted on several occasions hiking up and down Horth Hill in Victoria, where they offered to take a couple’s photo for them (then graciously said “Happy New Year” and went on their way).
Victoria would be the perfect place for baby Archie to grow into a winter sports aficionado, if not the next skiing or snowboarding champ, and the University of British Columbia — like U of T, among the best-rated universities in the nation — is just a couple of hours away.
St. John’s, N.L.
It’s a far stretch from the West Coast, but St. John’s, Canada’s easternmost city, is known for its old-world charm. It’s a much quieter town than, say, London, and the fresh, clean air isn’t something you’re likely to find in busy urban areas.
St. John’s has plenty of trails for hiking, which we know the couple enjoys, and would probably make great bonding experiences for Meghan and Harry to have with baby Archie. It’s also generally regarded to be one of the safest cities in Canada.
Plus, the province has a connection to the Royal Family! Sylvana Tomaselli, the Countess of St. Andrews and Queen Elizabeth’s first cousin (once removed), was born in Placentia in 1958.
OK, so it’s not exactly the land of palaces, well-preserved castles and centuries-old monarchies they may have grown used to by now, but London, Ont. might be the closest thing the duke and duchess are going to get to a version of their home in the other London, the one in England. All that’s missing is the accent.
Plus, you can make a case for all the things baby Archie would love there. There’s the London Regional Children’s Museum, where kids can learn about science, art, culture and history. There are plenty of parks. There’s an annual Western Fair for families, and the Boler Mountains are close by— perfect, considering Prince Harry loves winter sports.
And it’s a smaller city, so they could have a normal life (whatever that is)!
Sometimes, you just need to put your faith in the numbers. And what the numbers are saying, or at least what Reader’s Digest has found, is that Sherbrooke, Que. is the best city in Canada to raise a family.
It would be a fair choice. The region is beautiful, surrounded by mountains and rivers and lakes. It has ski hills, plenty of libraries, quiet green spaces, and an 18-week maternity leave policy that would probably be quite attractive if Meghan wasn’t literally the Duchess of Sussex and hadn’t already withdrawn from some work responsibilities.
There’s also Quebec’s oft-discussed daycare model, which, apparently, has been exemplary to many other provinces across the country. If, you know, they decide not to go the nanny route.
Not to mention baby Archie could grow up bilingual. (Is it possible to speak French with a British accent?)
Haida Gwaii, B.C.
Maybe they’re tired of the city. Maybe what they want is to raise baby Archie somewhere quiet — a secluded, remote haven away from the heavy air and loud noise of the city streets. Maybe Meghan and Harry finally want to live off the land, given their continued advocacy for the environment. In that case: Haida Gwaii.
Haida Gwaii is a little archipelago just off the northern Pacific coast, and is known as the “Canadian Galápagos” — mostly because of its endemic wildlife and the fact that it bears more biomass per square yard of any place on the planet. It’s perhaps as far off the grid that they can get, and would give baby Archie a chance to grow up without the shuttering cameras and the stress the British tabloids have thus far inspired.
Also on HuffPost: