The United States' first lady will be given a sweeping introduction to Canadian sports culture in Ottawa today as Sophie Grégoire Trudeau takes Jill Biden to the curling rink.

President Joe Biden and his wife arrived in Ottawa Thursday evening for their first official visit to Canada since the president took office two years ago.

He is expected to spend most of today close to Parliament Hill in meetings with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while their wives take to the ice at the nearby Rideau Curling Club.

The official itinerary says Jill Biden will be given an "introduction to the sport of curling" before chatting with a local youth team about wellness and mental health.

Afterward, the two women will travel to the National Gallery of Canada, where they'll take in an exhibit by Canadian women artists and have lunch before joining the president for his address to Parliament.

The pair met a few months ago at the North American Leaders Summit in Mexico, when the first lady referred to Grégoire Trudeau as a "good friend and neighbour."

"The first lady will continue to build on her friendship with Mrs. Sophie Trudeau, and participate in a spousal program that’s focused on our shared cultural connections and, of course, empowering young people," White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby at a pre-trip briefing on Wednesday.

Grégoire Trudeau also established a lasting friendship with former first lady Michelle Obama, who once referred to her as her "soulmate."

The women are expected to end the visit by joining their husbands for a gala dinner at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum.

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau to introduce FLOTUS to curling during first lady's visit. #cdnpoli

Several Canadian dignitaries are on the guest list, including Gov. Gen. Mary Simon and her husband, cabinet ministers and Indigenous leaders.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 24, 2023.

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