The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Canada Day Celebration

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Ottawa, Friday, July 1, 2011


Allow me to wish a very happy Canada Day to everyone here, as well as to all those across the country who are celebrating in their own unique ways.

My wife, Sharon, and I are so proud to be here with you today and are honoured to be in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  

It was a little over two months ago that we were in London for the Royal Wedding, a marvellous day filled with joy and celebration. So what better occasion than Canada Day for us to return the favour by hosting these young royals on their first official visit overseas?

As they travel the country, I know that Canadians everywhere will be watching with interest and greeting them with the warmth for which we are known.

And I must say that I am impressed, not only with Your Royal Highnesses’ ability to connect with people of all ages, but also with your dedication to maintaining the strong ties that Canada has with the Crown.

You have a singular responsibility before you, both at home and across the Commonwealth. But we have no doubt that you will handle your future roles admirably and with vitality.

You are the future connection to our evolving constitutional monarchy, which is a part of who we are as Canadians.

And today is a day to celebrate who we are. It is a day to look back at all that we have accomplished and to look forward to what will be.

There is so much to be proud of when we think of Canada, and so much to be thankful for as well. We sometimes take for granted the basic freedoms we enjoy in a democratic society, but we must never lose sight of our responsibilities in an increasingly globalized world or of our duty to uphold the ideals we hold dear.

Today, let us consider what Canada has given to us and show appreciation for those who built and sacrificed for this country so that we may enjoy its many blessings.

And let us also look to Canada’s future.

In 2017, our country will mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation. I want all of you to look at your neighbourhoods, your communities and this country, and ask yourselves what you want Canada to look like.

On this Canada Day, I would like to invite you to share in my own vision for Canada.

I dream of a Canada where families and children are supported and given the chance to thrive; where learning and innovation are strengthened to provide for a prosperous tomorrow; where volunteerism and philanthropy are encouraged as part of our daily routine.

And during my travels, I have seen Canadians building this smart and caring nation.

I am so thankful to live in this country, to have raised a family here, to see my children achieve success and my grandchildren grow up here. And I am proud to serve as governor general and commander-in-chief of Canada, to meet with so many Canadians, to visit with soldiers and their families, to discover our Aboriginal communities, to honour deserving individuals, to fulfill constitutional responsibilities and to serve this blessed country.

In the presence of Their Royal Highnesses, the Prime Minister, ministers and Canadians, I want to challenge all of us not only to envision the nation we desire as we approach our 150th anniversary, but also to map out how we can get there. How will we create a smarter, more caring Canada?

After all, Canadians have always imagined what can be and have worked hard to achieve it. We dream of new possibilities and set out to realize them.

Happy birthday, Canada!