Royal Canadian Military Institute
Laying of the Royal Canadian Military Institute Cornerstone
Toronto, Saturday, June 9, 2012
Thank you for your warm welcome. I am pleased to be here at the start of this new chapter in the history of the Royal Canadian Military Institute.
The laying of the cornerstone for this remarkable new building is a proud moment for the community of Toronto and for Canada. It is also something of a tradition for governors general.
Two of my predecessors—Earl Grey, in 1907, followed by Prince Arthur, the Duke of Connaught, in 1912—laid cornerstones at your previous headquarters, and it is an honour to follow in their footsteps today.
Both of my predecessors believed that, as Canadians, we must understand and respect our military traditions and history.
For example, in addition to his support of this institute, Earl Grey influenced the decision to have the Plains of Abraham in the City of Québec designated a national park. And for his part, the Duke of Connaught—who was governor general at the outbreak of the First World War—strongly advocated military studies and training in Canada.
For more than a century, the Royal Canadian Military Institute has been preserving and promoting our military heritage. You also provide a friendly gathering place for members and affordable accommodation.
Yours is a truly unique role in this community and in our country, with a history and mandate of your own.
One of your most important functions is to improve public understanding of our military and political history. The museum, archive, library and art collections, as well as your publications and online resources, are important educational tools for students, scholars and the general public.
I also want to commend you on your commitment to public outreach, through your speakers program and through the conferences and events you host. I am confident this beautiful new home of yours will be a welcoming one.
As governor general, I believe that one of the surest ways to build the smarter, more caring Canada of which we dream is to strive to enhance our learning at every opportunity.
Canada has a truly remarkable history, and the evolving, complex age in which we live demands greater understanding of military matters. We must enhance our knowledge of Canada’s military—past, present and future possibilities—with an eye to building a fairer, more just and peaceful world.
It is a vastly complicated and challenging subject, and this institute is vital to our learning.
I wish you many happy, enlightening years in your new home.