The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge depart Yellowknife for Slave Lake, Alta., on Wednesday, July 6, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
YELLOWKNIFE - Prince William and Kate have bid farewell to northern Canada and are on their way to visit the Alberta community of Slave Lake, which was badly damaged by fire.
About 100 people turned out to say goodbye before the plane took off from Yellowknife.
Slave Lake was not on the official royal itinerary, but the couple wanted to make the detour to show support for the many people who lost everything.
More than 400 homes and businesses were reduced to ash and debris when a wind-whipped forest fire swept through the town in May.
Will and Kate will tour devastated neighbourhoods by minibus and meet with residents, firefighters and rescue crews.
They will then depart for some private time at an undisclosed location before their next official stop in Calgary late Thursday afternoon.