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Andrew, Sarah begin Canada visit

By MICHAEL BABAD

TORONTO -- The Duke and Duchess of York, better known as Andy and Fergie, arrived in Canada Wednesday for a 25-day visit during which they will spend part of their first wedding anniversary at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.

Thousands of cheering people gathered outside the provincial parliament as Prince Andrew and the former Sarah Ferguson began a visit that will include a wilderness canoe trip in the rugged Northwest Territories and a brief stop at an historic site with an unlikely name on a royal second honeymoon.

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Drawing onlookers from as far away as California and Indiana, they began their first visit to Canada since they were married last July 23.

On their first anniversary, they will stop at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a sandstone cliff in the prairies of southern Alberta province where buffalo were run to their deaths by Peigan Indians up to about 1850.

The couple arrived at the provincial legislature to the cheers and flag-waving of a crowd police estimated at between 5,000 and 7,000. While Prince Andrew drew cheers, most spectators had eyes for his wife, shouting 'Sarah' and 'Fergie' at the 27-year-old woman who arrived in a bright red suit and white hat with a red maple leaf tucked in above her pigtail.

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'It's the most exciting thing that's ever happened to me,' said a nervous Jennifer Tyers, 10, a fifth grader chosen to present the duchess with a bouquet of flowers.

'Fergie's more important than all the royalty,' added David Getz, 40, a factory worker from Fort Wayne, Ind., who was vacationing in Toronto. 'She's attractive, you know.'

Many people camped out hours earlier to get the best view possible as Prince Andrew, 27, inspected an honor guard and received a 21-gun salute.

The couple will tour Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta provinces and the Northwest Territories, where they will spend 10 days on a wilderness canoe trip a few days after their anniversary.

'I can see certainly that I will not be able to forget my first wedding anniversary,' Prince Andrew told the crowd after he was reminded of that event by Ontario Premier David Peterson, who, with Canadian Finance Minister Michael Wilson, welcomed the couple to Toronto.

'I am looking forward to showing Sarah as much as possible of this great country,' added the prince, who spent two terms at a college near Toronto.

Much has been made in local newspapers of the reported antics of the young royals in London. But royal watchers such as Calvin Smallbridge, a retired Toronto high school teacher who first saw the queen mother in 1939, said they expected none of that during the Canadian trip.

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