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Why Canada is so special to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

The Sussexes will be marking a milestone for the Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025.

Harry and Meghan at Invictus Games Toronto 2017
Danielle Stacey
Danielle StaceyOnline Royal CorrespondentLondon
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be travelling to Canada this week to mark the One Year to Go milestone for the Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025.

Canada holds very special memories for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

It's where the Sussexes made their public debut and where they lived temporarily before moving to Montecito after stepping back from royal duties.

Ahead of their trip, HELLO! is taking a look back at why Harry and Meghan share such a close affinity with Canada.

Where Harry and Meghan's romance blossomed

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during an official photocall to announce their engagement at Kensington Palace in 2017© Getty
Harry and Meghan announced their engagement in November 2017

After being set up on a blind date by a friend in London, the couple's relationship was long-distance at first, with Harry travelling to Canada to stay at his girlfriend's Toronto home.

Back in December 2016, Harry reportedly made a 1,700-mile (2,736km) detour to see Meghan following an official visit to the Caribbean.

In their engagement interview, the bride-to-be said: "We never went longer than two weeks without seeing each other, even though we were obviously doing a long-distance relationship. So it's... we made it work."

Last night out before their romance was confirmed

Princess Eugenie and Meghan Markle take a selfie on Halloween 2016© Netflix
Harry and Meghan enjoyed a fun night out with Eugenie and Jack

Toronto was where Harry and Meghan enjoyed their last night out incognito before their relationship was revealed to the world.

Harry also shared some insight in his memoir, Spare, released in January 2023.

He wrote: "We invited Euge and Jack to join us for Halloween. And Meg's best friend Markus. Toronto’s Soho House was having a big party and the theme was 'Apocalypse.' Dress accordingly. I mumbled to Meg that I’d not had great luck with themed fancy-dress parties, but I'd give it another go.

"For help with my costume, I'd turned to a friend, the actor Tom Hardy, before I left home. I'd phoned him to ask if I could borrow his costume from Mad Max.

"'The whole thing? Yes, please, mate!' The whole kit. He'd given it all to me before I left Britain, and now I tried it on in Meg's little bathroom. When I came out, she roared with laughter."

First public appearance

Harry and Meghan at Invictus Games Toronto 2017© Getty
Harry and Meghan made their public debut at the Invictus Games Toronto

Harry and Meghan made their first public appearance together at the Invictus Games in Toronto in September 2017, holding hands as they arrived to watch wheelchair tennis. Two months later, the couple announced their engagement.

Meghan's Toronto home

The former actress spent time living and working in Toronto for seven years while filming US legal drama Suits and often shared glimpses into her home life on her now-deleted Instagram account. 

Meghan reportedly lived in a two-storey three-bedroom townhouse, which she shared with her two rescue dogs, Guy and Bogart.

The Sussexes' extended break and Archie's first Christmas

Harry and Archie wearing beanie hats in Canada© Instagram / @SussexRoyal
Harry and Meghan loved their time in Canada with Archie

Harry and Meghan took a six-week break from royal duties during the festive period, spending their first Thanksgiving and Christmas with their then eight-month-old son Archie in Canada.

The Sussexes stayed in British Columbia and were spotted hiking on Vancouver Island, surprising a pair of fellow hikers as Harry and Meghan offered to take their picture.

And during an engagement at Canada House in 2020, the Duchess told diplomats: "My goodness it was just such an incredible time we were able to have there and with our son too. And just to be able to take in the warmth that we experienced from the people also just walk around and just see the beauty of Canada. To see Archie go 'ahh' when you walk by and just see how stunning it is, so it meant a lot to us."

Harry and Meghan also shared footage from their time in Canada in their Netflix docuseries, including Archie's first experience of snow.

WATCH: Meghan Markle cheers as she pulls baby Archie on a sleigh

Harry's first royal tour

Diana with Princes William and Harry on a boat near Niagara Falls© Getty
Diana with William and Harry in Canada

Harry visited Canada with Prince Charles, Princess Diana and Prince William in October 1991, on one of his first royal tours. Diana took her young sons out on a boat so they could visit Niagara Falls with the trio donning matching blue jackets.

LISTEN: Why the King was ‘enormously touched’ by Prince Harry’s trip to the UK

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