The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Inauguration of the Forecourt and Rededication of the Fountain of Hope

Rideau Hall, Monday, June 19, 2017


I acknowledge that we are gathering today on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.

For a century-and-a-half, Rideau Hall has been the home and workplace of Canada’s governors general. History happens here. Rideau Hall is a place where national events, cultures and traditions intersect. It’s a symbol of Canada, and today we inaugurate this new forecourt and rededicate its centrepiece, the Fountain of Hope.

It’s interesting to note the role that fountains have played in marking the evolution of modern Canada.

For example, in 1967, our centennial year, a fountain was built on Parliament Hill to celebrate Confederation and remind us of our duty to work toward a more peaceful world.

Then, on July 1, 1980, a young Terry Fox brought his Marathon of Hope to Rideau Hall and inspired a nation with his courage. To mark the moment and to serve as a beacon of hope, a fountain was built here two years later.

Today, as we mark a new watershed moment for our country, we rededicate this Fountain of Hope and inaugurate this renewed forecourt as an innovative ceremonial space. 

Let us take this opportunity to reflect on the past 150 years of Canada, on our successes and our failures, while looking to the future with hope and determination to build a smarter, more caring nation for all citizens.

And let us remember Terry Fox’s example of what one person can achieve when armed with determination, inspiration and a great deal of hope.

Today, we begin the writing of a new chapter in the history of our country, and Sharon and I are grateful to all who contributed to the realization of this important project.

A number of our partners are here today.

One is a Canadian whose pride in her adopted country led her to help make this project a reality. Please join me in thanking Dr. Helen Vari, as well as her late husband, the Honourable George Vari, for their generous support. Through their foundation, they have made important contributions to Canada since their arrival as immigrants from Hungary following the 1956 revolution.

Thank you also to the National Capital Commission for its continuing and attentive stewardship of this very special place. Your commitment to preserving and enhancing Canada’s cultural heritage is unwavering. Thank you for your leadership on this project.

At the beginning of my mandate I asked Canadians what gift they would give Canada to mark its sesquicentennial. This new forecourt and fountain are a wonderful gift to our country. They allow us to expand our outdoor ceremonial and cultural spaces—and to make them more accessible—as we see today.

I hope all Canadians come and see this impressive and meaningful space for themselves. It is a legacy for generations to come.