The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Opening of the Winter Pavilion

Rideau Hall, Saturday, January 28, 2017


Good morning, everyone!

Lord Dufferin, Canada’s third governor general, once said that breathing the cold winter air made him feel like he could “toss about the pine trees” here at Rideau Hall!

Well, that’s one way to keep warm!

I have two other suggestions:

Go for a skate on the historic—and newly refrigerated—Rideau Hall skating rink!

And then warm up in our beautiful new Winter Pavilion! Then go for another skate on the rink!

For 150 years, winter has been celebrated as a source of delight here at Rideau Hall.

Today’s Winter Celebration continues that tradition, and we’re so pleased our refurbished pavilion and ice rink will extend the celebration for many more years to come.

The refrigerated rink will also significantly extend our skating season, perhaps even until April—we shall see! I’m sure Lord Dufferin would be very pleased!

No doubt Lord Stanley and Lady Minto would as well. She was passionate about figure skating, and I’m so pleased that many members of the Minto Skating Club are here today!

Winter is a very special season, and this is a very special year for Canada.

When people think of Canada, they think of winter, so this year’s celebration is extra special.

With the help of our many partners, we have all kinds of activities planned, from Swedish bandy to Danish fairy tales to traditions from Nunavut.

We even have a snowball challenge!

Thank you also to our many partners from the embassies and other organizations. This event wouldn’t be possible without your help.

As we prepare to officially open this stunning building, I would like to thank and congratulate our colleagues at the National Capital Commission for their outstanding work on the restoration of the Dairy Building and its transformation into the Winter Pavilion.  The pavilion and its new exhibit that tells the story of winter at Rideau Hall will greatly enhance the experience for visitors.

Thanks to everyone who is here to celebrate the sheer joy of winter! As you can see, winter happens here, and we hope you will come back again and again to help us celebrate it.

Have a wonderful day everyone! Stay warm!