Presentation of the Governor General’s Medals in Architecture and the Governor General's Medal in Landscape Architecture
Rideau Hall, Tuesday, September 20, 2016
What a pleasure to welcome all of you to Rideau Hall today for this celebration of the best in Canadian architecture.
And, for the first time, to present the Medal in Landscape Architecture!
To mark the occasion and to make you all feel at home, we decided to undertake a major renovation of the forecourt in front of the façade of the main residence!
Please excuse our appearance!
Of course, I’m only joking.
In fact, the renovation is part of a legacy project to mark Canada’s 150th birthday, which we’ll be celebrating next year.
The new forecourt will include a renewed Fountain of Hope, and it will extend our ceremonial and cultural spaces outdoors for generations to come.
This project and the 178-year history of this building remind me of the importance of physical spaces in our lives.
I often refer to Rideau Hall as the home of the people of Canada.
It’s a place where history happens,
where we recognize excellence,
and where we celebrate important moments and milestones.
More than 285 000 people visited the grounds and residence last year!
In significant measure, we owe that success to the talented architects and landscape architects who have worked here over the years.
They have helped to make this such a special place.
The best architects understand how built environments can bring us together and raise our spirits while respecting our natural surroundings.
And they know how poor design can diminish us and ruin a landscape.
Today, we celebrate architecture that elevates our communities and this country. Through the innovative use of design, materials and landscapes, the recipients of these medals have contributed to the richness and diversity of Canada.
As governor general, I have had the privilege of visiting communities across Canada and abroad that are home to outstanding examples of contemporary Canadian architecture.
And to these we can add your accomplishments.
A hospital, an amphitheatre, a library, a temple, a skywalk!—they’re too numerous to list in detail, but each is a very special gift to its community.
They’re gifts designed with people in mind.
And speaking of gifts: Ms. Cornelia Hahn Oberlander has given us decades’ worth.
She’s the recipient of the Medal in Landscape Architecture, which I’m privileged to present for the first time today.
This presentation of these medals is cause for celebration.
To each recipient, thank you for helping us build a better country— quite literally!
And congratulations on this well-deserved honour.