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Visit to Western Canada

May 30, 2017 
Updated June 8, 2017

Governor General to Visit Western Canada 

OTTAWA—Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston will attend official events in the cities of Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby, Whistler, Edmonton and Calgary as part of their visit to Western Canada, from June 1 to 7, 2017

Their visit will focus on innovation, social innovation, leadership, mental health, education and volunteerism. Their Excellencies will meet with Canadians who are making a difference in their communities, innovating in the worlds of science, technology and health care, and seeking the education and leadership they need to become the great leaders of tomorrow.

Below is Their Excellencies’ detailed itinerary in local time: British Columbia—Pacific Standard Time and Alberta—Mountain Daylight Time. 

Vancouver, British Columbia
Thursday, June 1

12 p.m.
Innovation and BC Global 100 Luncheon
The Governor General will meet with key business and public sector leaders to discuss the history and future of innovation in Canada, as well as the concept of a “Global 100” group in British Columbia.  His Excellency will deliver remarks on this occasion.

12 p.m.
Visit of the Yo Bro Yo Girl Youth Program by Her Excellency Sharon Johnston
Mrs. Johnston will visit Spectrum School to learn more about the Yo Bro Yo Girl Youth Initiativeand to hear from youth beneficiaries about the positive impact the program is having on their lives.

Inspired by the real-life experiences of former Hells Angels member Joe Calendino, the Yo Bro Yo Girl Youth Initiative started in 2009 as an outreach program for youth at risk of involvement in drugs, violence and gangs. This initiative has developed a range of impactful, life-changing programs delivered in the classroom, out of school and during school breaks. The programs reach elementary- and secondary-level boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18 years. For more information, visit
Spectrum School, 2530 East 43rd Avenue
OPEN TO MEDIA – Visit of the Yo Bro Yo Girl Youth Program
PHOTO OP – At the beginning of the discussion only
MEDIA CONTACT: Joe Calendino, Executive Director, Yo Bro Yo Girl, 778-828-2799, 

1:30 p.m.
Round-table Discussion on Canada’s Culture of Innovation and Visit to Simon Fraser Innovates VentureLabs

His Excellency will attend a round-table discussion on Canada’s Culture of Innovation hosted by the Rideau Hall Foundation and Simon Fraser University (SFU) and will take place at SFU’s technology business accelerator program, VentureLabs. The discussion, moderated by Andrew Petter, SFU President and Vice-Chancellor, will gather early-stage and experienced entrepreneurs and social innovators in the fields of technology, health, sports and food security to exchange ideas on lessons learned and best practices to further expand innovation in Canada.

Following the discussion, at approximately 2:30 p.m., the Governor General will attend demonstrations led by innovators, from a world-leading academic in alternative energy conversion systems to an elementary school student whose ideas and courage could change the world. 

The VentureLabs® Venture Acceleration Program pairs entrepreneurs with highly experienced Executives-in-Residence (EiR) who advise on product and market validation, development or refinement of a positioning statement and customer value proposition, and validation of business models. For more information, visit
Venture Labs, 12th Floor, 555 West Hastings
PHOTO OP – At the beginning of the discussion
OPEN TO MEDIA – Demonstrations by innovators
MEDIA CONTACT – Gabrielle Armstrong, Director of University Communications, Simon Fraser University, 604-374-8952,


Surrey, British Columbia
Thursday, June 1

1:45 p.m.
Visit to the Municipality of Surrey by Her Excellency Sharon Johnston
Mrs. Johnston will visit marginalized and at-risk populations in the Municipality of Surrey. 

At 2 p.m., she will visit the Centre for Child Development, which helps children with special needs reach their full potential. Within the same facility, she will also visit Sophie’s Place, which was created to help young victims of physical, mental, emotional or sexual abuse. 

At 3 p.m., Her Excellency will meet with the Surrey Outreach Team, which is taking an integrated approach to addressing public safety, health and quality of life issues in and around 135A Street. The team is comprised of 12 Surrey RCMP officers who work in the area 24/7, as well as 4 bylaw officers who are dedicated to the area 10 hours a day. Fraser Health, Emergency Health Services and the Lookout Aid Society also provide the team with additional support and services.

At 3:10 p.m., Mrs. Johnston will meet with staff from the Lookout Aid Society Health Centre, which provides 24-hour care for vulnerable people 365 days a year, by assisting with housing and health issues. Her Excellency will do a walkabout of 135A Street. 

At 4:30 p.m.,she will visit the Guildford Shelter, a 40-bed emergency shelter that has a commercial kitchen, dining room, separate areas for men and women, and six rooms designed specifically for couples.

OPEN TO MEDIA – Child for Centre Development, Sophie’s Place and Guildford Shelter
OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHERS ONLY – Surrey Outreach Team and Lookout Aid Society Health Centre
MEDIA CONTACT: Oliver Lum, Communications Manager, City of Surrey,
604-591-4519, 604-375-4584 (cell),


Vancouver, British Columbia
Thursday, June 1

6:30 p.m.
Ingenious On-Stage Conversation at the Vancouver Public Library
During an on-stage conversation, the Governor General and Tom Jenkins, Chair and former CEO of OpenText and Chair of the National Research Council, will speak about their book, Ingenious, to more than 200 guests. The conversation will be followed by a question period with the audience and the evening will conclude with a book-signing. 

Published simultaneously in English and French by Signal/McClelland & Stewart (a division of Penguin Random House Canada) and Les Éditions La Presse, Ingenious is a book about hundreds of Canadian innovations that have made the world a smarter, smaller, kinder, safer, healthier, wealthier and happier place. The co-authors have worked hard to make sure this collection illustrates the range and depth of innovations that Canadians have given to the world. Ingenious categorizes these innovations by the impact they have made on our society, from the light bulb, the propeller, the electric radio and the zipper, to the life jacket, the basketball, peanut butter and Superman.
Alice Mackay Room, Vancouver Public Library, 350 West Georgia Street
MEDIA CONTACTS: Stephen Barrington, Manager Marketing and Communications, Vancouver Public Library, 604-331-3895, 604-612-4059 (cell),
Patricia Kells, Signa/McClelland & Stewart, 604-538-6536, 

Vancouver, British Columbia
Friday, June 2

7:30 a.m.
Visit to the Reconciliation Pole
The Governor General will visit the Reconciliation Pole that was recently erected at the University of British Columbia. This 17-metre-tall totem pole represents the victims and survivors of Canada’s residential school system. The pole was carved by Haida master carver and hereditary Chief James Hart, also known as 7idansuu. The pole, carved into an 800-year-old cedar tree, has special figures representing different aspects of the residential school experience.
University of British Columbia Campus

8 a.m.
Ingenious On-Stage Conversation at the University of British Columbia
The Governor General and Mr. Jenkins will present Ingenious to university staff, students, faculty and partners as part of an on-stage conversation, which will be followed by a question period with the audience. The event will be live at
Jack Poole Hall, Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre, University of British Columbia, 6163 University Boulevard
MEDIA CONTACT: Leslie Dickson, Associate Director, Public Affairs, University of British Columbia, 604-822-1266, 604-828-0787 (cell), 

10:30 a.m.
Visit to HOpe Centre by Her Excellency Sharon Johnston

Joined by Dr. Jordan Cohen, Psychiatric Clinical Lead for Youth and Child Mental Health, Mrs. Johnston will visit the Kelty Resource Centre, the Carlile Youth Concurrent Disorders Centre and the Inpatient Unit.  

The HOpe Centre is a 150 000-square-foot, four-storey building that provides patients with seamless, integrated inpatient and outpatient psychiatric care. It also helps train future physicians in all specialties. For more information, visit


Burnaby, British Columbia
Friday, June 2

10 a.m.
Presentation of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award of Achievement
The Governor General will present The Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award to 70 young achievers from British Columbia. 

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a global program whose goal is to challenge, encourage and recognize young people between the ages of 14 and 24. This unique program is designed to empower youth to utilize their passions to help them believe in their own potential. For more information, visit
Ismaili Centre, 4010 Canada Way
MEDIA CONTACT: Craig McCulloch, Field Officer and Alumni Relations, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, 604-318-2566,


Whistler, British Columbia
Friday, June 2

3 p.m.
Welcoming by the Mayor of the City of Whistler
Upon arrival, Their Excellencies will be welcomed by Her Worship Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, Mayor of Whistler.
Resort Municipality of Whistler, 4325 Blackcomb Way
MEDIA CONTACT: Resort Municipality of Whistler Communications, 604-967-3030,

3:10 p.m.
Presentation of Medal for Volunteers
In the presence of the Mayor and city councillors, His Excellency will present the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers to 11 exceptional volunteers from Whistler during a ceremony at the Whistler Public Library. 

The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers recognizes the remarkable volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country in a wide range of fields. As an official Canadian honour, the Medal pays tribute to the dedication and exemplary commitment of volunteers. The list of recipients and their citations, as well as a fact sheet are attached. For more information about the program or to nominate an exceptional volunteer, visit
Whistler Public Library, 4329 Main Street
MEDIA CONTACT: Resort Municipality of Whistler Communications, 604-967-3030,


Whistler, British Columbia
Friday, June 2

4:30 p.m.
Opening of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference (GGCLC)

As Honorary Chair of the GGCLC, His Excellency will officially open the conference by addressing its 250 members, who will be challenged to define their goals for the future of their country, and meet them as they take on increasing responsibility in their organizations and communities. The conference will run from June 2 to 16, 2017. His Excellency will attend the first days of the conference, from June 2 to 4. Participants will reconvene in Ottawa from June 13 to 16, where each group will report back to the Governor General and engage in a final discussion on what has been learned throughout their journey.  

The GGCLC was created in 1983, by then-Governor General Edward Schreyer, and is held every three to four years. It brings together Canada’s future leaders from business, labour, government, non-governmental organization, education and cultural sectors for a unique, two-week experience aimed at broadening their perspectives on work, leadership, their communities and their country. For more information, visit

Edmonton, Alberta
Tuesday, June 6

10:30 a.m.
Convocation Address at U School Graduation Ceremony
The Governor General will deliver the convocation address to U School students and teachers, volunteers, sponsors and supporters at the U School Graduation Ceremony. 

In the past year, approximately 700 students participated in U School, a program that caters to learners in grades 4 through 9 from schools in socially vulnerable, Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) and rural communities. Accompanied by their classroom teachers, the students attend a week-long immersion experience on campus led by a U School staff team. Their schedule is built around the teacher’s application, the Alberta curriculum and the many opportunities available at the University of Alberta. For more information, visit
Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, University of Alberta, 11455 87 Avenue North West
MEDIA CONTACT: Bev Betkowski, Communications Associate, University of Alberta, 780-492-3808,   

3 p.m.
Convocation Ceremony and Presentation of Honorary Degree at the University of Alberta
His Excellency will attend the ceremony during which he will deliver the convocation address and will be conferred a Doctor of Laws honoris causa from Mr. Douglas Stollery, Chancellor of the University of Alberta. The ceremony will be webcast live at  (English only).
Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, University of Alberta, 11455 87 Avenue North West
MEDIA CONTACT: Bev Betkowski, Communications Associate, University of Alberta, 780-492-3808, 

Calgary, Alberta
Wednesday, June 7

9:30 a.m.
Visit to the Innovation150 Power of Ideas Tour Expo
Joined by young students and teachers, His Excellency will visit the Innovation150 Power of Ideas travelling science expo, presented by the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics and Actua, on its opening day at TELUS Spark, Calgary’s science centre. 

The Power of Ideas Tour explores the ability of the human mind to question, make, and innovate. It also brings cutting-edge programming in science, technology, engineering and more to more than 60 communities across the country, with a special focus on youth and Indigenous audiences.

The experience includes an inspirational presentation from the Perimeter Institute as well as a Maker Mobile from Actua. The Power of Ideas Tour is travelling across Canada in 2017. For more information, visit

TELUS Spark, 220 St. George’s Drive North East
MEDIA CONTACTS: Josie Bird, Communications Manager, Innovation150, 
Erin Christensen, Marketing & Communications Specialiste, TELUS Spark, 403-992-8337,



Media information:

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


Follow GGDavidJohnston and RideauHall on Facebook and Twitter.


Gord Annand

Whistler, British Columbia 

Renowned for his generosity and great sense of humour, Gord Annand has served with the Whistler Public Library for 12 years as a trustee and as chair of its board of directors. He notably led a successful fundraising campaign to preserve and maintain the library’s capital reserve. He is also a dedicated supporter of the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation. 

Bob Brett
Whistler, British Columbia 

Forest ecologist Bob Brett is committed to learning as much as he can about the ecosystems of the Whistler valley and protecting them. In 1999, he helped establish the Whistler Naturalists Society and continues to serve on its board of directors. Through the society, he introduced the popular BioBlitz program and launched the annual Fungus Among Us Mushroom Festival.  

Dave Clark
Whistler, British Columbia 

In 2002, Dave Clark co-founded the Whistler Friends Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds for two very important causes: Crohn’s and Colitis Canada and the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Thanks to his tireless efforts, more than half a million dollars has been raised for these worthy causes. 

Jennifer Erickson
Whistler, British Columbia 

Since 2002, Jennifer Erickson has volunteered as an instructor with the Whistler Adaptive Sports Programs (WASP). She teaches skiers with disabilities on the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb, and also develops written material, videos and teaching seminars. She has additionally served four years on the WASP board of directors. 

John “Bushrat” Hetherington
Whistler, British Columbia 

Since 1988, avalanche expert John Hetherington has shared his extensive expertise and skills as a volunteer with the Whistler Search and Rescue Team. He has also been a dedicated board member of the Canadian Avalanche Association and the Whistler Museum and Archives Society. 

Tony Horn
Whistler, British Columbia 

Tony Horn volunteered for 13 years with the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association, which is dedicated to rehabilitating and maintaining hundreds of bike trails. Notably, he served as president and race director, and has organized several popular bike races and led numerous clean-up projects in the region. 

Allison Hunter
Whistler, British Columbia 

For the past 25 years, Alison Hunter has shared her love of music with the community as a volunteer with the Whistler Children’s Chorus, the Whistler Singers, and the Whistler Children’s Music Festival. She is the co-founder of the Whistler Chamber Music Society and also served as president of the Whistler Arts Council. 

Eric Martin

Whistler, British Columbia 

For 13 years, Eric Martin served as the volunteer project manager overseeing the construction of a community ice arena at Meadow Park Sports Centre. More recently, he was involved in the site selection process for the Audain Art Museum. He is a member and chair of the volunteer-run Whistler Design Panel and currently sits as president and chair of the Whistler 2020 Development Corporation, which brought the Whistler Athletes’ Village from concept to reality. 

Jennifer Patterson

Whistler, British Columbia 

A member of the Whistler Valley Quilters’ Guild since 1994, Jennifer Patterson has also volunteered her time with the local chapter of the Girl Guides of Canada for over a decade, notably as commissioner. She is also actively involved with the Scouts movement and the Whistler Skating Club. 

Jacqui Tyler
Whistler, British Columbia 

For more than three decades, Jacqui Tyler has actively volunteered with several organizations, including the Kelty Dennehy Foundation and Whistler Adaptive Sports. Notably, she has organized several annual fundraising events for the Festival of Lights and has been a dedicated supporter of the Whistler Music Festival.  

Kristina Swerhun
Whistler, British Columbia 

A founding member and long-serving volunteer with the Whistler Naturalists Society since its inception in 1999, Kristina Swerhun has played a key role in the organization’s two main events. She is also a dedicated member of the Whistler 2020 Natural Areas task force and of the Association of Whistler-Area Residents for the Environment.