Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre at Sydney Harbour in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is one of the 20th century's most distinctive buildings. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the building was formally opened on 20 October 1973 after a gestation beginning with Utzon's 1957 selection as winner of an international design competition; the Government of New South Wales, led by the premier, Joseph Cahill, authorised work to begin in 1958 with Utzon directing construction. The government's decision to build Utzon's design is overshadowed by circumstances that followed, including cost and scheduling overruns as well as the architect's ultimate resignation; the building and its surrounds occupy the whole of Bennelong Point on Sydney Harbour, between Sydney Cove and Farm Cove, adjacent to the Sydney central business district and the Royal Botanic Gardens, close by the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Though its name suggests a single venue, the building comprises multiple performance venues which together host well over 1,500 performances annually, attended by more than 1.2 million people.
Performances are presented by numerous performing artists, including three resident companies: Opera Australia, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. As one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia, the site is visited by more than eight million people annually, 350,000 visitors take a guided tour of the building each year; the building is managed by the Sydney Opera House Trust, an agency of the New South Wales State Government. On 28 June 2007, the Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, having been listed on the Register of the National Estate since 1980, the National Trust of Australia register since 1983, the City of Sydney Heritage Inventory since 2000, the New South Wales State Heritage Register since 2003, the Australian National Heritage List since 2005; the facility features a modern expressionist design, with a series of large precast concrete "shells", each composed of sections of a sphere of 75.2 metres radius, forming the roofs of the structure, set on a monumental podium.
The building is 183 m long and 120 m wide at its widest point. It is supported on 588 concrete piers sunk as much as 25 m below sea level. Although the roof structures are referred to as "shells", they are precast concrete panels supported by precast concrete ribs, not shells in a structural sense. Though the shells appear uniformly white from a distance, they feature a subtle chevron pattern composed of 1,056,006 tiles in two colours: glossy white and matte cream; the tiles were manufactured by the Swedish company Höganäs AB which produced stoneware tiles for the paper-mill industry. Apart from the tile of the shells and the glass curtain walls of the foyer spaces, the building's exterior is clad with aggregate panels composed of pink granite quarried at Tarana. Significant interior surface treatments include off-form concrete, Australian white birch plywood supplied from Wauchope in northern New South Wales, brush box glulam. Of the two larger spaces, the Concert Hall is in the western group of shells, the Joan Sutherland Theatre in the eastern group.
The scale of the shells was chosen to reflect the internal height requirements, with low entrance spaces, rising over the seating areas up to the high stage towers. The smaller venues are beneath the Concert Hall. A smaller group of shells set to the western side of the Monumental Steps houses the Bennelong Restaurant; the podium is surrounded by substantial open public spaces, the large stone-paved forecourt area with the adjacent monumental steps is used as a performance space. The Sydney Opera House includes a number of performance venues: Concert Hall: With 2,679 seats, the home of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and used by a large number of other concert presenters, it contains the Sydney Opera House Grand Organ, the largest mechanical tracker action organ in the world, with over 10,000 pipes. Joan Sutherland Theatre: A proscenium theatre with 1,507 seats, the Sydney home of Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet; until 17 October 2012 it was known as the Opera Theatre. Drama Theatre: A proscenium theatre with 544 seats, used by the Sydney Theatre Company and other dance and theatrical presenters.
Playhouse: A non-proscenium end-stage theatre with 398 seats. Studio: A flexible space with 280 permanent seats and a maximum capacity of 400, depending on configuration. Utzon Room: A small multi-purpose venue for parties, corporate functions and small productions. Recording Studio Outdoor Forecourt: A flexible open-air venue with a wide range of configuration options, including the possibility of utilising the Monumental Steps as audience seating, used for a range of community events and major outdoor performances. Other areas are used for performances on an occasional basis. Venues are used for conferences and social functions; the building houses a recording studio, restaurants and retail outlets. Guided tours are available, including a frequent tour of the front-of-house spaces, a daily backstage tour that takes visitors backstage to see areas reserved for performers and crew members. Planning began in the late 1940s, when Eugene Goossens, the Director of the NSW State Conservatorium of Music, lobbied for a suitable venue for large theatrical productions.
The normal venue for such productions, the Sydney Town Hall, was not considered
SkyTrain is the rapid transit system of the Metro Vancouver Regional District, serving Vancouver, British Columbia and surrounding municipalities. SkyTrain has 79.6 km of track and uses automated trains on grade-separated tracks running on underground and elevated guideways, allowing SkyTrain to hold high on-time reliability. The name SkyTrain was coined for the system during Expo 86 because the first line principally runs on elevated guideway outside of Downtown Vancouver, providing panoramic views of the metropolitan area. SkyTrain uses the world's longest cable-supported transit-only bridge, known as SkyBridge, to cross the Fraser River. With the opening of the Evergreen Extension on December 2, 2016, SkyTrain became the longest rapid transit system in Canada and the longest automated driverless system in the world; the total lengths of the Singapore MRT's automated lines have since surpassed those of SkyTrain. SkyTrain has 53 stations serving three lines: Expo and Canada Line; the Expo Line and Millennium Line are operated by British Columbia Rapid Transit Company under contract from TransLink, a regional government transportation agency.
The Canada Line is operated on the same principles by the private concessionaire ProTrans BC under contract to TransLink, is an integrated part of the regional transport system. SkyTrain uses a fare system shared with other local transit services, is policed by the Metro Vancouver Transit Police. SkyTrain Attendants provide first aid and customer service, inspect fares, monitor train faults, operate the trains manually if necessary; the Expo Line connects Waterfront station in Vancouver to King George station in Surrey, principally along a route established by the Westminster and Vancouver Tramway Company as an interurban line in 1890. The Expo Line was built in 1985 in time for Expo 86, it now has 24 stations. The Expo Line ran only as far as New Westminster station initially. In 1989, it was extended to Columbia station and in 1990, once the Skybridge was finished, it continued across the Fraser River to Scott Road station in Surrey. In 1994, the terminus of the Expo Line became King George station in central Surrey.
It was built on a budget of $854 million. Effective October 22, 2016, Expo Line trains began operating on a new branch to Production Way–University, taking over the previous Millennium Line service between Waterfront and Production Way–University. During peak periods, every third Expo Line train provides service to Production Way–University. Prior to October 22, 2016, the Millennium Line shared tracks with the Expo Line from Waterfront station to Columbia station in New Westminster continued along its own elevated route through North Burnaby and East Vancouver, ending at VCC–Clark station, near Vancouver Community College's Broadway campus, it was built on a $1.2-billion budget and the final extension from Commercial Drive station to VCC–Clark station was opened on January 6, 2006. From October 22, 2016 to December 1, 2016, the Millennium Line operated from VCC–Clark to Lougheed Town Centre station; as of December 2, 2016, the Millennium Line operates between VCC–Clark station in Vancouver and Lafarge Lake–Douglas station in Coquitlam.
The Millennium Line has 17 stations, three of which are transfer stations with the Expo Line and two which connect with the West Coast Express commuter train. The original Millennium Line's stations were designed by British Columbia's top architects and are different from those on the Expo Line. In 2004, Busby and Associates Architects, designers of the Brentwood Town Centre station in Burnaby, were honoured for their work with a Governor General's Medal in Architecture. Construction on the Millennium Line's Evergreen Extension, from Lougheed Town Centre in Burnaby to Lafarge Lake–Douglas in Coquitlam, was completed in 2016 and it was opened for revenue service on December 2, 2016; this extension adds 6 new stations to the Millennium Line. The Canada Line begins at the Waterfront station hub continues south through Vancouver into the City of Richmond and Sea Island. From Bridgeport station, the Canada Line splits into two branches, one heading west to the YVR–Airport station at Vancouver International Airport and the other continuing south to the Richmond–Brighouse station in Richmond's city centre.
Opened on August 17, 2009, the Canada Line added 19.2 km to the SkyTrain network. Waterfront station is the only station; the Canada Line cost $1.9 billion, financed by the Governments of Canada and British Columbia, TransLink, InTransitBC. The Canada Line's trains, built by Rotem, are automated, but are of a different design from the Expo and Millennium lines' Bombardier-built fleet, they use conventional electric motors rather than linear induction motor technology. Canada Line tracks do not interconnect with the rest of the SkyTrain network, there is a separate fleet maintenance depot. SkyTrain provides high-frequency service, with trains arriving every 2–7 minutes at all stations during peak hours. Trains operate between 4:48 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. on weekdays, with reduced hours on weekends on the Expo and Millennium lines. SkyTrain has longer hours of service during special e
The Electra Building is a major structure in Vancouver, British Columbia. The structure was built by John Laing & Sons in 1957 as the new headquarters for the BC Electric Company, under its president Dal Grauer. A few days after Grauer's death in 1961, it became part of a new provincial crown corporation named BC Hydro; the 21 story, 89 m, building was designed by Charles Edward "Ned" Pratt. At the time it was claimed to be the tallest building in the Commonwealth, although this was not true. After BC Hydro moved to new offices in Vancouver and Burnaby in the late 1990s, the building was sold, in 1998, was renovated and converted into residential condo space, although BC Hydro continues to operate the Dal Grauer Substation, whose space is integral with Electra. While BC Electric's offices were in the building ten large air horns on top of the structure played the first four notes of O Canada at noon every day; the horns have since been moved to the Pan Pacific Vancouver roof. They are managed by Canada Place.
List of tallest buildings in Vancouver Ritchie, Berry. The Good Builder: The John Laing Story. James & James. Emporis facts about the Electra building City of Vancouver Press Release concerning Chemical Spill Article on the Electra spill in The Province, September 21, 2010
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city in western Canada, located in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia. As the most populous city in the province, the 2016 census recorded 631,486 people in the city, up from 603,502 in 2011; the Greater Vancouver area had a population of 2,463,431 in 2016, making it the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada. Vancouver has the highest population density in Canada with over 5,400 people per square kilometre, which makes it the fifth-most densely populated city with over 250,000 residents in North America behind New York City, San Francisco, Mexico City according to the 2011 census. Vancouver is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada according to that census. 30% of the city's inhabitants are of Chinese heritage. Vancouver is classed as a Beta global city. Vancouver is named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life, the Economist Intelligence Unit acknowledged it as the first city ranked among the top-ten of the world's most well-living cities for five consecutive years.
Vancouver has hosted many international conferences and events, including the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, UN Habitat I, Expo 86, the World Police and Fire Games in 1989 and 2009. In 2014, following thirty years in California, the TED conference made Vancouver its indefinite home. Several matches of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup were played in Vancouver, including the final at BC Place; the original settlement, named Gastown, grew up on clearcuts on the west edge of the Hastings Mill logging sawmill's property, where a makeshift tavern had been set up on a plank between two stumps and the proprietor, Gassy Jack, persuaded the curious millworkers to build him a tavern, on July 1, 1867. From that first enterprise, other stores and some hotels appeared along the waterfront to the west. Gastown became formally laid out as a registered townsite dubbed Granville, B. I.. As part of the land and political deal whereby the area of the townsite was made the railhead of the Canadian Pacific Railway, it was renamed "Vancouver" and incorporated shortly thereafter as a city, in 1886.
By 1887, the Canadian Pacific transcontinental railway was extended westward to the city to take advantage of its large natural seaport to the Pacific Ocean, which soon became a vital link in a trade route between the Orient / East Asia, Eastern Canada, Europe. As of 2014, Port Metro Vancouver is the third-largest port by tonnage in the Americas, 27th in the world, the busiest and largest in Canada, the most diversified port in North America. While forestry remains its largest industry, Vancouver is well known as an urban centre surrounded by nature, making tourism its second-largest industry. Major film production studios in Vancouver and nearby Burnaby have turned Greater Vancouver and nearby areas into one of the largest film production centres in North America, earning it the nickname "Hollywood North"; the city takes its name from George Vancouver, who explored the inner harbour of Burrard Inlet in 1792 and gave various places British names. The family name "Vancouver" itself originates from the Dutch "Van Coevorden", denoting somebody from the city of Coevorden, Netherlands.
The explorer's ancestors came to England "from Coevorden", the origin of the name that became "Vancouver". Archaeological records indicate that Aboriginal people were living in the "Vancouver" area from 8,000 to 10,000 years ago; the city is located in the traditional and presently unceded territories of the Squamish and Tseil-Waututh peoples of the Coast Salish group. They had villages in various parts of present-day Vancouver, such as Stanley Park, False Creek, Point Grey and near the mouth of the Fraser River. Europeans became acquainted with the area of the future Vancouver when José María Narváez of Spain explored the coast of present-day Point Grey and parts of Burrard Inlet in 1791—although one author contends that Francis Drake may have visited the area in 1579; the explorer and North West Company trader Simon Fraser and his crew became the first-known Europeans to set foot on the site of the present-day city. In 1808, they travelled from the east down the Fraser River as far as Point Grey.
The Fraser Gold Rush of 1858 brought over 25,000 men from California, to nearby New Westminster on the Fraser River, on their way to the Fraser Canyon, bypassing what would become Vancouver. Vancouver is among British Columbia's youngest cities. A sawmill established at Moodyville in 1863, began the city's long relationship with logging, it was followed by mills owned by Captain Edward Stamp on the south shore of the inlet. Stamp, who had begun logging in the Port Alberni area, first attempted to run a mill at Brockton Point, but difficult currents and reefs forced the relocation of the operation in 1867 to a point near the foot of Dunlevy Street; this mill, known as the Hastings Mill, became the nucleus. The mill's central role in the city waned after the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880s, it remained important to the local economy until it closed in the 1920s. The settlement which came to be called Gastown grew around
For other places with the same name, see Burrard. Burrard Inlet is a shallow-sided coastal fjord in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. Formed during the last Ice Age, it separates the City of Vancouver and the rest of the low-lying Burrard Peninsula from the slopes of the North Shore Mountains, home to the communities of West Vancouver and the City and District of North Vancouver. What is now known as Burrard Inlet has been home to the Indigenous peoples of the Musqueam, Sḵwxwú7mesh and Tsleil-waututh, who have resided in this territory for thousands of years. In 1791, the first European explorers in the region, Juan Carrasco and José María Narváez, sailing under orders of Francisco de Eliza, entered the western part of the inlet in their ship, the Santa Saturnina, they failed to find the Fraser River, mistaking the lowland of the river's delta as a major inlet of the sea, which they named Canal de Floridablanca. This led to one of the prime objectives of the 1792 expedition of Dionisio Alcalá Galiano, to determine the exact nature of the Canal de Floridablanca.
Galiano spent many days exploring the general area, realizing that there was a great river there and sighting Burrard Inlet itself on June 19, 1792. Just days the inlet was again named by Captain George Vancouver, after his friend and former shipmate Captain Sir Harry Burrard. In 1888, the inlet was described in The British Columbia Pilot published by the British Admiralty as follows. Burrard inlet differs from most of the great sounds of this coast in being comparatively easy of access to steam vessels of any size or class, in the convenient depth of water for anchorage which may be found in every part of it, it is divided into three distinct harbours, viz. English bay or the outer anchorage; the inlet runs directly east from the Strait of Georgia to Port Moody and is urbanized on most of its shores. About two-thirds of the way east from the inlet's mouth, a secondary, much steeper-sided, glacial fjord, Indian Arm, extends straight north from the main inlet, between Belcarra and Deep Cove in North Vancouver on into mountainous wilderness.
From Point Atkinson and Point Grey on the west to Port Moody in the east, the inlet is about 25 km long. Settlements on the shores of Burrard Inlet include Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver and Port Moody. Three bridges, the First Narrows Bridge, the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing and the CNR railway bridge at the Second Narrows, the SeaBus passenger ferry, cross the inlet. Aside from just east of the inlet's mouth, it is widest between the First and Second Narrows the busiest part of Vancouver's port. Protected from the open ocean, the calm waters of Burrard Inlet form Vancouver's primary port area, an excellent one for large ocean-going ships. While some of the shoreline is residential and commercial, much is port-industrial, including railyards, terminals for container and bulk cargo ships, grain elevators, oil refineries. Freighters waiting to load or discharge cargoes in the inlet anchor in English Bay, which lies south of the mouth of the inlet and is separated from it by Vancouver's downtown peninsula and Stanley Park.
On the main inlet, a few park areas remain forested as they were centuries ago, but the steep slopes of Indian Arm are so impassable that most have seen no development, despite the proximity of such a major city. Only in 2003 was a rough wilderness hiking trail around the whole of Indian Arm completed, it was the work of one man over many years. Lions Gate Bridge Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing Second Narrows Bridge SeaBus 2002 Aerial Photos of Vancouver, including several views of Burrard Inlet and its shores
Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. Elizabeth was born in London as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, she was educated at home, her father acceded to the throne on the abdication of his brother King Edward VIII in 1936, from which time she was the heir presumptive. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1947, she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, with whom she has four children: Charles, Prince of Wales; when her father died in February 1952, she became head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Ceylon. She has reigned as a constitutional monarch through major political changes, such as devolution in the United Kingdom, Canadian patriation, the decolonisation of Africa. Between 1956 and 1992, the number of her realms varied as territories gained independence and realms, including South Africa and Ceylon, became republics.
Her many historic visits and meetings include a state visit to the Republic of Ireland and visits to or from five popes. Significant events have included her coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver and Diamond Jubilees in 1977, 2002, 2012 respectively. In 2017, she became the first British monarch to reach a Sapphire Jubilee, she is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch as well as the world's longest-reigning queen regnant and female head of state, the oldest and longest-reigning current monarch and the longest-serving current head of state. Elizabeth has faced republican sentiments and press criticism of the royal family, in particular after the breakdown of her children's marriages, her annus horribilis in 1992 and the death in 1997 of her former daughter-in-law Diana, Princess of Wales. However, support for the monarchy has been and remains high, as does her personal popularity. Elizabeth was born at 02:40 on 21 April 1926, during the reign of her paternal grandfather, King George V.
Her father, the Duke of York, was the second son of the King. Her mother, the Duchess of York, was the youngest daughter of Scottish aristocrat the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, she was delivered by Caesarean section at her maternal grandfather's London house: 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair. She was baptised by the Anglican Archbishop of York, Cosmo Gordon Lang, in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace on 29 May, named Elizabeth after her mother, Alexandra after George V's mother, who had died six months earlier, Mary after her paternal grandmother. Called "Lilibet" by her close family, based on what she called herself at first, she was cherished by her grandfather George V, during his serious illness in 1929 her regular visits were credited in the popular press and by biographers with raising his spirits and aiding his recovery. Elizabeth's only sibling, Princess Margaret, was born in 1930; the two princesses were educated at home under the supervision of their mother and their governess, Marion Crawford.
Lessons concentrated on history, language and music. Crawford published a biography of Elizabeth and Margaret's childhood years entitled The Little Princesses in 1950, much to the dismay of the royal family; the book describes Elizabeth's love of horses and dogs, her orderliness, her attitude of responsibility. Others echoed such observations: Winston Churchill described Elizabeth when she was two as "a character, she has an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant." Her cousin Margaret Rhodes described her as "a jolly little girl, but fundamentally sensible and well-behaved". During her grandfather's reign, Elizabeth was third in the line of succession to the throne, behind her uncle Edward and her father. Although her birth generated public interest, she was not expected to become queen, as Edward was still young. Many people believed he would have children of his own; when her grandfather died in 1936 and her uncle succeeded as Edward VIII, she became second-in-line to the throne, after her father.
That year, Edward abdicated, after his proposed marriage to divorced socialite Wallis Simpson provoked a constitutional crisis. Elizabeth's father became king, she became heir presumptive. If her parents had had a son, she would have lost her position as first-in-line, as her brother would have been heir apparent and above her in the line of succession. Elizabeth received private tuition in constitutional history from Henry Marten, Vice-Provost of Eton College, learned French from a succession of native-speaking governesses. A Girl Guides company, the 1st Buckingham Palace Company, was formed so she could socialise with girls her own age, she was enrolled as a Sea Ranger. In 1939, Elizabeth's parents toured the United States; as in 1927, when her parents had toured Australia and New Zealand, Elizabeth remained in Britain, since her father thought her too young to undertake public tours. Elizabeth "looked tearful", they corresponded and she and her parents made the first royal transatlantic telephone call on 18 May.
In September 1939, Britain entered the Second World War. Lord Hailsham suggested that the two princesses should be evacuated to Canada to avoid the frequent aerial bombing; this was rejected by Elizabeth's mother. I won't leave wit
Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia known as the Royal Yacht Britannia, is the former royal yacht of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, in service from 1954 until 1997. She was the 83rd such vessel since King Charles II acceded to the throne in 1660, is the second royal yacht to bear the name, the first being the racing cutter built for the Prince of Wales in 1893. During her 43-year career, the yacht travelled more than a million nautical miles around the globe. Now retired from royal service, Britannia is permanently berthed at Ocean Terminal, Leith in Edinburgh, Scotland, it is a popular visitor attraction with over 300,000 visits each year. HMY Britannia was built at the shipyard of John Co.. Ltd in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, she was launched by Queen Elizabeth II on 16 April 1953, commissioned on 11 January 1954. The ship was designed with three masts: a 133-foot foremast, a 139-foot mainmast, a 118-foot mizzenmast; the top aerial on the foremast and the top 20 feet of the mainmast were hinged to allow the ship to pass under bridges.
Britannia was designed to be converted into a hospital ship in time of war, although this capability was never used. In the event of nuclear war, it was intended for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh to take refuge aboard Britannia off the north-west coast of Scotland; the crew of Royal Yachtsmen were volunteers from the general service of the Royal Navy. Officers were appointed for up to two years, while the "yachtsmen" were volunteers and after 365 days' service could be admitted to "The Permanent Royal Yacht Service" as Royal Yachtsmen and served until they chose to leave the Royal Yacht Service or were dismissed for medical or disciplinary reasons; as a result, some served for 20 years or more. The ship carried a troop of Royal Marines when members of the Royal Family were on board. Britannia sailed on her maiden voyage from Portsmouth to Grand Harbour, departing on 14 April and arriving on 22 April 1954, she carried Princess Anne and Prince Charles to Malta in order for them to meet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in Tobruk at the end of the royal couple's Commonwealth Tour.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh embarked on Britannia for the first time in Tobruk on 1 May 1954. On 20 July 1959, Britannia sailed the newly opened Saint Lawrence Seaway en route to Chicago, where she docked, making the Queen the first Canadian monarch to visit the city. US President Dwight D. Eisenhower was aboard Britannia for part of this cruise. Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales, took their honeymoon cruise on Britannia in 1981; the ship evacuated over 1,000 refugees from the civil war in Aden in 1986. The vessel made a port of call in Toronto and Kingston, Ontario. HMY Britannia, when on royal duties, was escorted by a Royal Navy warship; the yacht was a regular sight at Cowes Week in early August and for the remainder of the month, was home to the Queen and her family for an annual cruise around the islands off the west coast of Scotland. During her career as Royal Yacht, Britannia conveyed the Queen, other members of the Royal Family and various dignitaries on 696 foreign visits and 272 visits in British waters.
In this time, Britannia steamed 1,087,623 nautical miles. In 1997, the Conservative government committed itself to replacing the Royal Yacht if re-elected, while the Labour Party refused to disclose its plans for the vessel. After Labour won the general election in May 1997, it announced the vessel was to be retired and no replacement would be built; the previous government had argued that the cost was justified by its role in foreign policy and promoting British interests abroad through conferences held by British Invisibles the Committee on Invisible Exports. It was estimated by the Overseas Trade Board that events held on board the yacht helped raise £3 billion for the treasury between 1991 and 1995 alone; the new government said the expenditure could not be justified given other pressures on the defence budget, from which a replacement vessel would have been funded and maintained. Proposals for the construction of a new royal yacht financed through a loan or by the Queen's own funds, have made little headway.
The Royal Yacht's last foreign mission was to convey the last governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, the Prince of Wales back from Hong Kong after its handover to the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997. Britannia was decommissioned on 11 December 1997; the Queen stoic, is reported to have shed a tear at the decommissioning ceremony, attended by most of the senior members of the Royal Family. Listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, Britannia is a visitor attraction moored in the historic Port of Leith in Edinburgh, is cared for by the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, a registered charity. There was some controversy over the siting of the ship, with some arguing that she would be better moored on the River Clyde, where she was built, than in Edinburgh, with which the yacht had few links, her positioning in Leith coincided with a redevelopment of the harbour area, the advent of Scottish devolution. Entrance to the yacht is via the Ocean Terminal development, over 300,000 people visit the Royal Yacht Britannia every year.
She is one of the UK's top evening events venues. On 18 May 2006, the Swiss-born Hollywood actress and first Bond girl, Ursula Andress, celebrated her 70th birthday on board the former royal yacht. On 29 July 2011, a drinks reception was held on board Britannia for Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter Zara Phillips and her husband Mike Tindall to celebrate their upcoming wedding. A r