William and Kate hail 'treasured memories' of Canada trip

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have praised Canada and its people for leaving them and their children with "happy memories" as their family tour of Canada came to an end.

William spoke about the milestone eight-day visit - their first official overseas trip as a family of four - saying they felt "very lucky" to have introduced Prince George and Princess Charlotte to the Commonwealth country which will play a big part in their lives.

George and Charlotte stole the limelight from their parents during the trip with their outdoor fun day. They played with bubbles, balloons and miniature ponies on Thursday - with the 16-month-old Princess saying her first public words "da da" and pictured walking in public.

In touching family scenes, her three-year-old elder brother was photographed playing with bubbles with proud father William.

The Duke said in a statement before their official departure from Victoria, the capital of British Columbia: "Catherine and I are incredibly grateful to the people of Canada for the warmth and hospitality they have extended to our family over the last week.

"We have loved our time in British Columbia and Yukon and will never forget the beautiful places we have seen and the many people who have been kind enough to come to welcome us in person.

"We feel very lucky to have been able to introduce George and Charlotte to Canada. This country will play a big part in the lives of our children and we have created such happy memories for our family during this visit.

"Canada is a country of optimism, generosity and unrivalled natural beauty. I hope we have helped all Canadians celebrate what makes this country great. We will see you again soon."

The couple's tour has taken them to scenically stunning parts of the Yukon and British Columbia from the beautiful archipelago of Haida Gwaii to the gold rush town of Whitehorse.

They have also learnt about how the country is dealing with pressing social issues such as assimilating Syrian refugees and supporting young mothers with addiction problems.