The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Presentation of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers

Rideau Hall, Wednesday, September 7, 2016


It’s wonderful to welcome all of you to Rideau Hall for this presentation of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

Or perhaps today we should call this the Canada’s Capital Region Medal for Volunteers, as all of you are members of this community that we’re so proud to call home.

We’re all neighbours here today. Isn’t that wonderful?

Some of you may have noticed the construction that’s going on out front. I ask that you please excuse our appearance—we’re creating a space for us to gather and celebrate next year, Canada’s 150th birthday!

This is in keeping with the spirit of Rideau Hall’s original builder Thomas McKay, who helped to create many important and beautiful spaces in this city.

And in fact, Mr. McKay was deeply involved in this community in a number of ways.

With the help of volunteer Scottish stonemasons, he built the first stone church at Kent and Wellington streets.

He also helped to build Ottawa’s first schoolhouse.

And he was involved in community organizations such as the St Andrew’s Society and the Bytown Emigration Society.

He cared about the people of this community and their future, and he left a legacy we can see and touch today.

Each of you shares that same passion for our community and its people.

Each of you is here at Rideau Hall today because volunteering is what you do.

You do it superbly.

And selflessly.

And tirelessly.

You do it because you know, in your hearts, that our community is a special place that calls upon each of us to pitch in and help out.

Each of you has taken up a cause and improved the lives of people around you.

You have made this a better place to live.

And your work often has a profound impact on others.

What’s the best evidence of this?

I think it lies in the fact that each of your names was put forward by someone who personally knows your work, how much you care and how much you give.

Each of you was nominated from within your community, and what could be better than that?!

This medal is more than a symbol of your generosity. It’s a symbol of how meaningful your work is to someone who has seen and been moved by all that you do.

This is a national honour, but it’s a very personal one as well.

And so I encourage you, as recipients, to think of deserving people you know, and to consider nominating them for this honour.

Together, you represent our values and the kind of country we want to live in, and that we want our kids and our grandkids to live in.

Together, you have widened the circle of caring in Canada.

Thank you for your extraordinary contributions to your communities and to our nation.

And congratulations on this well-deserved honour.