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Presents for a prince: Books, blanket, mukluks, moccasins among Canadian gifts

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It may be a while before Prince George pays a visit to Canada, but the country's future king already has plenty of symbolic homegrown mementoes.

On their official website, Prince William and his wife Kate expressed gratefulness for the gifts they've already received for their newborn son but suggest well-wishers instead support those in need, such as a local children's charity.

Canada appears to be heeding the call. Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a donation by the government of $100,000 to a Canadian child-focused charity to be named at a later date.

The young prince could soon be swathed in a Canadian handcrafted blanket, an additional gift Harper said is "reflective of our country's rich and diverse culture."

Fashioned from cream-coloured qiviut (muskox wool) with a white border, the Canadian coat of arms and Prince George's birthdate will be embroidered on the blanket, which is in the process of being made.

"These gifts symbolize our warm ties to our Royal Family, honouring our close and enduring relationship," Harper said in a statement Thursday.

Harper and his wife, Laureen, and Gov. Gen. David Johnston and his wife, Sharon, are also offering a personal present to the infant heir to the throne: a selection of Canadian children's books in both official languages.

Classics like "Le chandail de hockey" ("The Hockey Sweater") by Roch Carrier and "Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch are among the homegrown titles being sent to the Prince of Cambridge.

The newborn will also receive a number of books that won the Governor General's Literary Award. Titles include "Alphabeasts" by Wallace Edwards, "Amos's Sweater" by Janet Lunn and Kim LaFave, "Cats' Night Out" by Caroline Stutson and Jon Klassen and "A Child's Treasury of Nursery Rhymes" by Kady MacDonald Denton.

Also on the list are: "Le gros monstre qui aimait trop lire" by Lili Chartrand and Roger Girard, "Imagine a Day" by Sarah. L. Thompson and Rob Gonsalves, "Lili et les poilus" by Caroline Merola, "The Party" by Barbara Reid and "Virginia Wolf" by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault.

The Monarchist League of Canada is also opting to take the charitable route. Rather than sending an actual gift, branches and members are being encouraged to raise money and collect gifts for local charities in Canada, said chair Robert Finch.

"Ultimately, the royal couple will be bombarded with presents, so this is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the birth by helping others less fortunate," Finch said in an email to The Canadian Press.

Whether it's to celebrate a birth, wedding or the occasion of a royal tour to Canada, selecting an official gift that remains in Canada as a legacy to the Royal Family is a tradition dating back decades, said Kevin MacLeod, the Canadian secretary to the Queen.

MacLeod has been organizing royal tours and other royal events in Canada since 1987. During William and Kate's tour of Canada shortly after their 2011 wedding, the official gift for the couple was the creation of a youth ambassadors program with Parks Canada, he noted.

The mayor of Prince George, B.C., Shari Green, said a gift basket is being prepared for the prince who shares a name with the Canadian city.

The basket will include a baby shirt with a logo of Mr P.G., the city mascot, which symbolizes the importance of the forest industry within Prince George, located in central B.C.

Green said the city will also proclaim July 22 of each year Prince George of Cambridge Day to commemorate the birthday of the future king.

Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo and his wife, Nancy, opted to make a symbolic addition to the young prince's wardrobe with footwear from aboriginal-owned Canadian company, Manitobah Mukluks.

The couple sent a pair of Infant Scout moccasins to the son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as Edna Nabess mukluks from Manitobah Mukluks' Storyboot Project. The initiative seeks to help revive the traditional arts by forging business-building partnerships with elders and artisans who fashion mukluks and moccasins the traditional way.

"This gift symbolizes the historic ties between the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada and the Crown, and will serve as a continued token of friendship," Atleo said in a statement.

Prince George was born on Monday in a London hospital, and is third in line to the throne behind Prince Charles and Prince William.

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