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Canada Day and Visit to Newfoundland and Labrador

June 29, 2016 

Governor General to Participate in Military Commemorations and Canada Day Celebrations in Ottawa and St. John’s Newfoundland 

OTTAWA—Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston will take part in military commemorations and Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa and in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, on July 1 and 2, 2016

“This year’s Canada Day is not only a day of celebration, but also one of remembrance. At the Battle of the Somme, 24 000 Canadian soldiers lost their lives in the name of freedom. On July 1, I encourage all Canadians to pause in their celebrations and reflect on how this tragedy and such incredible sacrifices have shaped our nation,” said the Governor General. 

 Below is Their Excellencies’ detailed itinerary. Timings are indicated in Eastern Daylight Time for Ottawa and Newfoundland Daylight Time for St. John’s. 

Ottawa, Ontario
Friday, July 1

9:45 a.m.
Remembrance Ceremony for 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme at Beaumont-Hamel
Their Excellencies will participate in a ceremony of remembrance at the Canadian War Museum to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme at Beaumont-Hamel. During the event, His Excellency will inspect a guard of honour and deliver brief remarks. Then, joined by Mrs. Johnston, he will lay a wreath to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives during this significant battle of the First World War. 

The First World War’s Battle of the Somme began in northern France on July 1, 1916, when waves of Allied soldiers began climbing out of their trenches to advance through a hail of enemy fire toward the German lines. It would be a tragic beginning to a costly battle where more than 57 000 Commonwealth soldiers would become casualties on the opening day of the fighting alone. The brave members of the Newfoundland Regiment who went into action near Beaumont-Hamel were hit especially hard, with only 68 of the more than 800 men who had taken part being able to answer the roll call the next morning. For more information, visit
Canadian War Museum, LeBreton Gallery, 1 Vimy Place, Ottawa
Veterans Affairs Canada, Media Relations, 613-992-7468

12 p.m.
Canada Day Noon Show
Their Excellencies will make their way to Parliament Hill to celebrate Canada’s 149th birthday with thousands of Canadians and visitors. Upon their arrival, the Governor General will receive full military honours. At approximately 1:10 p.m., he will address Canadians on the importance of commemorating and celebrating our country’s past, present and future achievements.
Parliament Hill, Ottawa

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
Friday, July 1

6:30 p.m.
Dinner with Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal
Their Excellencies will attend a dinner hosted by Their Honours Frank Fagan, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Mrs. Patricia Fagan, to mark the end of Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal’s visit to Canada.

7:45 p.m.
Planting the Last Flowers at the Forget-Me-Not Memorial Garden, Garden of Tears
Their Excellencies will plant the last two flowers of the Garden of Tears, a major artistic installation created by Newfoundland and Labrador artist Jim Maunder, on the lawn of the Art and Culture Centre, in St. John’s. 

The Forget-Me-Not Memorial Garden, Garden of Tears was created on June 1, 2016, to commemorate the more than 1 500 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who lost their lives during the First World War. Every day, from June 1 to July 1, forget-me-nots—a symbol of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment—will be planted at sunset, one for each military casualty. For more information, please visit
Arts and Culture Centre, 95 Allandale Road, St. John’s
MEDIA CONTACT: Donovan Taplin, 709-697-4945, 

8:05 p.m.
Performance of Ours, Presented by Opera on the Avalon
Their Excellencies will attend a performance of Ours, a new Canadian opera commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme at Beaumont-Hamel. The two-act opera follows the true story of members of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment during the First World War. Written by Canadian composer John Estacio, with libretto by Canadian writer Robert Chafe, Ours is the first full-length grand opera ever to be set in Atlantic Canada. For more information, visit
Arts and Culture Centre, 95 Allandale Road, St. John’s

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
Saturday, July 2

9 a.m.
Meeting with the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
Their Excellencies will meet with the Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Mrs. Sharon Ball.
Confederation Building, 100 Prince Philip Drive, St. John’s
PHOTO OP—At the beginning of the meeting
MEDIA CONTACT: Nancy O’Connor, Senior Communications Advisory, Office of the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, 709-725-7070, 

10:30 a.m.
Book Signing with Their Excellencies
Their Excellencies will take part in a book signing for their recently published books: The Idea of Canada: Letters to a Nation, written by His Excellency andpublished by Signal/McClelland & Stewart; and Matrons and Madams, written by Her Excellency and published by Dundurn Press. The event will be open to the public. 

About the The Idea of Canada: Letters to a Nation
In letters to characters and individuals living and dead, eminent and unknown, The Idea of Canada: Letters to a Nation touches on a wide range of topics: learning, law and justice, kindness and courage, innovation, Aboriginal education, bilingualism, mental health, hockey and more. Presented in three parts—“What Shapes Me”, “What Consumes Me” and “What Inspires Me”—these letters are about Canada and are written to Clara Hughes, Chris Hadfield, the Aga Khan, former governors general, Canadian teachers, an Inuit boy His Excellency met in Repulse Bay, and many others. He hopes that the book will inspire readers of all ages to think about Canada, what they want for their country and how to shape its future as a smart and caring nation.

About Matrons and Madams
Clara Durling, a British widow of the First World War, arrives in Canada as the new superintendent of the Lethbridge Hospital just as wounded soldiers stream home. Lily Parsons is a young, widowed schoolteacher from Nova Scotia who ends up in the same city, managing a brothel called The Last Post. Set against the backdrop of love, union organizers, amorous bachelors, gamblers, drinkers and prostitutes, the lives of these two women unexpectedly intertwine when Clara, in the heat of local politics and responding to the highest incidence of venereal disease in the province, establishes the first venereal disease clinic in the province, with Lily’s help. In this sprawling saga, Lily and Clara must confront the city’s conservative thinkers to bring help and compassion to wounded veterans.
Chapters St. John’s, 70 Kenmount Road
MEDIA CONTACTS: Kate Gregory, Public Relations Manager, Indigo, 416-528-8932 (cell), kgregory@indigo.caShona Cook, Publicity Manager (Idea of Canada), Penguin Random House Canada, 416-433-9699,; and Jaclyn Hodsdon, Publicist (Matrons and Madams), Dundurn Press, 416-214-5544, ext. 234,   


Media information:

Marie-Ève Létourneau                                    
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-302-0912 (cell)

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