Dalvay by the Sea to host The Event

Jim Day jday@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on June 21, 2011

Staff is calling it The Event.

For a portion of one day in July, workers at Dalvay by the Sea will be hopping busy as they tend to some 2,400 guests being fed on the grounds.

Sylvie Morin, a server at the resort for the past four years, has no idea who any of the guests will be — with the exception of two notables: Prince William and Catherine.

A major part of the day-and-a-bit trip to P.E.I. as part of the recently wed couple's Royal visit to Canada will centre on activity in Dalvay on and near the grounds of the 115-year-old historical inn.

Morin, who was enthralled by the wedding watched by billions, calls a visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to her workplace a big deal.

She and her co-workers were sworn to secrecy when told of The Event. Each signed a standard non-disclosure document.

Anticipation has been building. Staff is filled with excitement. Some are even in a state of disbelief.

Morin is hoping to get a glimpse of the couple but would rather have a co-worker serve Prince William and Catherine if the opportunity arose.

"I wouldn't want to spill something on them,'' she said.

Morin says staff, like the general public, were left in the dark over specifics of the couple's visit until details were officially announced Tuesday.

William and Catherine will not be spending the night at Dalvay by the Sea.

They will challenge each other to a Dragon Boat race across Dalvay Lake. Prince William will carry out a waterbird emergency landing procedure in a Sea King helicopter on the same lake. And the Royal couple will sample Island food prepared in the inn's large kitchen by a team from the Culinary Institute of Canada.

DP Murphy Hotels and Resorts recently added Dalvay by the Sea to its list of properties. Cheryl Paynter, vice-president of hotel operations for the company, says the Royal visit will give the operation a dream shot-in-the-arm.

International media will be descending on the grounds en masse on July 4, capturing the beauty of the inn and its surroundings in images that will be viewed by many millions.

"Dalvay can be somewhat forgotten about because we're tucked away in the (national) park so this puts it right in the front and centre of the world stage,'' said Paynter.

She says the entire property is booked out to guests invited specifically for the visit to Dalvay by William and Catherine. A handful of guests who had booked for the night of July 3 before Dalvay got the nod as a focal point of the Royal visit to P.E.I., are being relocated to other hotels.

A British couple offered their wholehearted support of Dalvay as a fitting spot to be included on the Royal couple's trip to Prince Edward Island.

Heather Capper, who dropped in at the inn Tuesday for a spot of tea with her husband Tony, views Dalvay as a wonderful, scenic place.

Heather, who stayed at Dalvay by the Sea with her husband 10 years ago, adds Islanders should be proud to be hosting the Royal couple in such a beautiful province.

"And this coastline is just beautiful — one of the best on the East Coast, actually.''

Cheryl Paynter, with DP Murphy Hotels and Restorts, shows off Dalvay by the Sea, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be spending July 3.

©Guardian photo