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News

Visit to Fort McMurray

June 22, 2016
Updated - June 23, 2016

*** UPDATE ***

The Governor General and The Countess of Wessex to Visit Fort McMurray

OTTAWA— His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex will visit Fort McMurray, Alberta, on Friday, June 24, 2016

“I’m honoured to visit Fort McMurray in the presence of Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex,” said His Excellency. “Together, we are looking forward to meeting first responders, volunteers and residents who have been deeply impacted by the wildfires. They all have shown tremendous courage and resilience throughout this devastating disaster. Our visit to Fort McMurray will allow us to show our ongoing support and to recognize so many great Canadians for their outstanding work.” 

During his visit, His Excellency will present the Governor General’s Commendation for Outstanding Service to first responders and to community members and volunteers of Fort McKay,the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Fort McMurray #468 First Nation, who were involved in the emergency relief efforts during the wildfires. 

Below is His Excellency’s itinerary in Mountain Daylight Time

10:50 a.m.
Gathering with Fort McKay Community and Presentation of the Governor General’s Commendation for Outstanding Service
Upon arrival, His Excellency will meet with Chief Jim Boucher and Council of Fort McKay First Nation. Following the meeting, His Excellency willhave the opportunity to thank and recognize Fort McKay’s community members with the presentation of the Governor General’s Commendation for Outstanding Service. During the peak of the wildfires, the community welcomed about 5 000 evacuees and provided them with food and temporary shelters in their homes, community centres, schools and in their community owned camps in the territory.
Dorothy McDonald Business Centre
OPEN TO MEDIA
MEDIA CONTACT: Rose Mueller, Communications Director, Fort McKay First Nation, 780-799-6370 (cell), rmueller@fortmckay.com 

12:30 p.m.
Arrival of Her Royal Highness
His Excellency, joined by Her Worship Melissa Blake, Mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB), will welcome to Fort McMurray Her Royal Highness, who will be accompanied by the Honourable Sarah Hoffman, Deputy Premier of Alberta.
Fort McMurray International Airport
OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHERS ONLY 

12:40 p.m.
Tour of Fort McMurray
His Excellency and Her Royal Highness, joined by their hosts, will go on a tour of Fort McMurray and see the Beacon Hill neighbourhood that was ravaged by the wildfires. As they witness the scope of the damages, they will be briefed by Dale Bendfeld, Director of Municipal Law Enforcement and RCMP Support Services at RMWB; Christopher Graham, Assistant Deputy Chief of Emergency Management at RMWB; and Darby Allen, Regional Fire Chief of Fort McMurray.
MEDIA POOL ONLY 

1:10 p.m.
Gathering with Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Presentation of the Governor General’s Commendation for Outstanding Service
Following their tour of Fort McMurray, His Excellency and Her Royal Highness will meet with police officers, firefighters, volunteers and citizens who acted as first responders during the wildfires. The gathering will take place at Shell Place, which temporarily served as one of the evacuation centres during the crisis. His Excellency will take this opportunity to speak and present the Governor General’s Commendation for Outstanding Service to the Mayor of the RMWB in recognition of the entire community’s dedication, courageous efforts and tremendous spirit at a time of greatest need.
Shell Place, McDonald Island, Grand Ballroom C, 1 C.A. Knight Way, Fort McMurray
OPEN TO MEDIA 

2:35 p.m.
Gathering with Fort McMurray #468 First Nation and Presentation of the Governor General’s Commendation for Outstanding Service
His Excellency and Her Royal Highness will conclude their visit to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo with a gathering at Fort McMurray #468 First Nation, a small community of over 300 residents who came to the rescue of thousands of evacuees before its members had to flee the area themselves due to the threatening wildfires. Upon arrival, His Excellency and Her Royal Highness will be welcomed by Ron Kreutzer, Chief of Fort McMurray First Nation, and councillors. A traditional ceremony with an opening prayer, traditional dancers and remarks from the Chief will follow. His Excellency will speak and then present the Governor General’s Commendation for Outstanding Service to the Chief of Fort McMurray First Nation for the community’s outstanding courage in facing adversity and its generosity in helping victims by providing food and shelter. 
Fort McMurray #468 First Nation, Gregoire Reserve 176A
OPEN TO MEDIA

-30-

There will be a media pool for the tour with His Excellency and
Her Royal Highness to the Beacon Hill neighbourhood. For more information on the media pool and overall media access for this visit, please contact Laura Ehrkamp at
780-721-9795 or at 
laura.ehrkamp@gov.ab.ca

Media information

Marie-Ève Létourneau
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-998-0287
613-302-0912 (cell)
marie-eve.letourneau@gg.ca 

Laura Ehrkamp
Press Secretary, Office of the Deputy Premier
780-644-8665
780-721-9795 (cell)
laura.ehrkamp@gov.ab.ca

 

Follow GGDavidJohnston and RideauHall on Facebook and Twitter.

 

*** COMMENDATION CITATIONS *** 

Community of Fort McKay, Alberta 

The Governor General’s Commendation for Outstanding Service is awarded to the community of Fort McKay in recognition of the extraordinary efforts made in the face of devastating wildfires in May 2016. 

During the peak of the wildfires, the entire community welcomed thousands of evacuees and provided them with food and temporary shelters.  The community of Fort McKay demonstrated initiative and selflessness, and is to be commended for its tremendous spirit and the remarkable example it has set. 

First responders, citizens and volunteers
of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Alberta
 

The Governor General’s Commendation for Outstanding Service is awarded to first responders, citizens and volunteers of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in recognition of the extraordinary efforts made in the face of devastating wildfires in May 2016.

The first responders, citizens and volunteers of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, as well as from neighbouring communities, responded with resolve, resourcefulness and compassion during the wildfires that burned down thousands of households. They persevered throughout this critical situation and successfully evacuated the whole region. The community is to be commended for its dedication, courageous efforts, and tremendous spirit during a time of great need. 

Fort McMurray #468 First Nation, Alberta 

The Governor General’s Commendation for Outstanding Service is awarded to Fort McMurray #468 First Nation in recognition of the extraordinary efforts made in the face of devastating wildfires in May 2016. 

The community has demonstrated great generosity by selflessly helping thousands of evacuees. It also showed tremendous courage when faced with its own evacuation. Everyone, from children to elders, is to be commended for their perseverance and resilience during a time of great need. 

The Governor General’s Commendation for Outstanding Service is presented to individuals, to groups or to organizations in recognition of their commitment, their efforts or their contribution in unusual circumstances when challenging or exceptional situations occur.