Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

December 06, 2011 15:46 ET

Media Advisory: Governor General to Undertake Official Visit to the Northwest Territories

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 6, 2011) - Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston will undertake an official visit to the Northwest Territories from December 7 to 10, 2011.

"Since my installation in October 2010, Sharon and I have been committed to visiting all provinces and territories to engage with Canadians," said His Excellency. "We are pleased to complete these official visits by heading to the Northwest Territories. We have always been fascinated by the rich history and traditions, scenic landscape and beautiful aurora borealis of the Canadian North, but more so by the resilience of its people in maintaining their heritage. During our visits to Yellowknife, Fort Smith and Hay River, we will have the privilege of meeting with and recognizing extraordinary Canadians from all walks of life who are dedicated to building smart and caring communities across various regions of the Territories."

In Yellowknife, Their Excellencies will be welcomed by the Commissioner and the Premier of the Northwest Territories, and members of the Legislative Assembly. They will also have the opportunity to meet with members of the Franco-Ténoise community, with Canadian Forces personnel from Joint Task Force (North), as well as with Elders and chiefs of the Territory. While in the capital city, the Governor General will award the 2011 Massey Medal to David Livingstone. The Medal recognizes outstanding career achievement in the exploration, development or description of the geography of Canada.

Their Excellencies will then travel to the Town of Fort Smith, located in the South Slave Region. They will join community members in a round-table discussion on the impact of the Aboriginal Student Achievement Initiative, which aims to develop and implement a territorial education plan to bridge the achievement gap between Aboriginal and other students, with partners and youth benefiting from this program. In addition, His Excellency will honour three students with the Governor General's Academic Medal during a community gathering.

Their Excellencies will conclude their official visit in Hay River, where they will attend a community feast at the Hay River Reserve and meet with local ice-fishermen dedicated to preserving their traditional way of life. They will also meet with volunteers from the Hay River Ski Club and cheer on athletes competing in the biathlon team tryouts to qualify for the 2012 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse.

Wednesday, December 7

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

4:30 p.m.

Official Arrival in Yellowknife

Upon their arrival, Their Excellencies will be welcomed to the Northwest Territories by the Honourable George Tuccaro, Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, and his spouse, Mrs. Marilyn Tuccaro; the Honourable Bob McLeod, Premier of the Northwest Territories; and Brigadier-General Guy Hamel, Commander of Joint Task Force (North), and other dignitaries.

Yellowknife Airport 440 Squadron, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

PHOTO OP

5 p.m.

Meeting with the Honourable George Tuccaro, Commissioner of the Northwest Territories

Northwest Tower, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

PHOTO OP- During the signing of the registrar

Thursday, December 8

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

9 a.m.

Meeting with Members of the Fédération Franco-Ténoise and a Visit to École Allain St-Cyr

Their Excellencies will meet with members of the Fédération franco-ténoise (FFT), an organization that promotes, encourages and defends Northwest Territories French-speaking communities. Members will share with Their Excellencies some of the challenges faced by Francophone communities in the Territories, which have 11 official languages. The discussion will be followed by a visit to a classroom at École Allain St-Cyr. The school provides French education to some 130 students, from kindergarten to Grade 12, and also serves as a cultural community centre.

École Allain St-Cyr, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

PHOTO OP-At the beginning of the discussion with FFT members and at the beginning of the visit to the school classroom

10 a.m.

Visit to the Yellowknife Military Family Resource Centre

Her Excellency Sharon Johnston will meet with families who benefit from the various services offered by the Yellowknife Military Family Resource Centre (YMFRC). Her Excellency will hear first-hand about the challenges these families have encountered during their postings to the North.

The YMFRC is a volunteer-based, non-profit military community organization that serves over 100 Canadian Forces members and their families posted to Joint Task Force (North) Headquarters and its lodger units in Yellowknife.

CLOSED TO MEDIA

10 a.m.

Visit to Joint Task Force (North)

As commander-in-chief of Canada, His Excellency will visit the Joint Task Force (North) Headquarters in Yellowknife. Upon his arrival, he will be welcomed by Brigadier-General Guy Hamel, Commander of the Joint Task Force (North), who will offer an overview of the Canadian Forces' operations and administration in northern Canada, followed by a presentation of the Canadian Rangers in the North. Furthermore, His Excellency will address the members of the Canadian Forces and will award the Commander-in-Chief Commendation to four military personnel. The Governor General will conclude his visit with a lunch with the members.

Joint Task Force (North) Mess Hall, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

PHOTO OP-Upon the arrival of His Excellency

OPEN TO MEDIA- During the Governor General's speech to Canadian Forces members

CLOSED TO MEDIA- Lunch with Canadian Forces members

NOTE TO MEDIA: Media wishing to cover this event are requested to contact Jennifer Wright, Public Affairs Advisor, at jennifer.wright2@forces.gc.ca or 867-873-0700 ext. 6922.

11 a.m.

Discussion with Aboriginal Families at the Centre for Northern Families

Her Excellency Sharon Johnston will meet with women and families living at the Centre for Northern Families. Their discussion will focus on challenges facing Aboriginal women, including family violence, employment, training, housing and the availability of such services as day care for children. Her Excellency will conclude her visit with a tour of a housing unit.

The Centre for Northern Families is operated by the Yellowknife Women's Society, a charitable organization established in 1990 to support women in empowering themselves so they can develop their goals, achieve wellness, enjoy equality and be recognized for the contribution they make to the community.

CLOSED TO MEDIA

12:30 p.m.

Official Welcoming Ceremony

Their Excellencies will be greeted by the Honourable Bob McLeod, Premier of the Northwest Territories, and the Honourable Jackie Jacobson, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. The Governor General will conduct an inspection of the Cadet guard of honour. His Excellency will also attend a session of the 17th Legislative Assembly, where he will address all members. The Governor General will then attend a reception, where he will present the Massey Medal to David Livingston. Inaugurated by former governor general Vincent Massey in 1959, and administered by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the award recognizes outstanding achievement in Canadian geography.

Indoors, Legislative Building, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

OPEN TO MEDIA

3 p.m.

Official Opening of Hunters of the Alpine Ice Exhibition

In the presence of Elders, chiefs of the Tutila Dene region, researchers and high school students. Their Excellencies will open a new exhibit entitled Hunters of the Alpine Ice, based on the book Hunters of the Alpine Ice: The NWT Ice Patch Study, which draws on the expertise of archaeologists, Aboriginal Elders, biologists, geologists and educators to highlight what the North was like as far back as 5 000 years ago. The Governor General will deliver remarks on this occasion.

Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

OPEN TO MEDIA

6:30 p.m.

Annual Christmas Dinner Hosted by the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories

The Honourable George Tuccaro, Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, will host a dinner in honour of Their Excellencies' visit to the Territory. Both the Governor General and the Commissioner will deliver remarks on this occasion.

Joint Task Force (North) Mess Hall, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

OPEN TO MEDIA-Opening remarks only

Friday, December 9

Town of Fort Smith, Northwest Territories

9:30 a.m.

Round-Table Discussion on the Aboriginal Student Achievement Initiative

Their Excellencies will participate in a round-table discussion with educators, community members, Elders and students on the Aboriginal Student Achievement Initiative.

The Initiative's long-term goal is to develop and implement a territorial education plan to bridge the achievement gap between Aboriginal and non-Native students. The Aboriginal Student Achievement Working Group was established in April 2009. Partners include Aurora College, district education councils, Aboriginal organizations, the NWT Literacy Council, the NWT Teachers' Association, the Native Womens' Association, the territorial departments of justice, and health and social services.

Aurora College Thebacha Campus, Town of Fort Smith, Northwest Territories

OPEN TO MEDIA - At the beginning of the meeting

11:30 a.m.

Community Reception Hosted by the Town of Fort Smith and Members of the Legislative Assembly

Her Worship Jane Hobart, Mayor of the Town of Fort Smith and Member for Thebacha, along with band chiefs and community members, will welcome Their Excellencies to their hometown. During this community reception, His Excellency will deliver a speech and award the Governor General's Academic Medal to Nicole Labine and Malcolm Gorill.

Lord Dufferin, Canada's third governor general after Confederation, created the Academic Medals in 1873 to encourage academic excellence across the nation. Over the years, they have become the most prestigious award that students in Canadian schools can receive. Today, the Governor General's Academic Medals are awarded at four distinct levels: Bronze at the secondary school level; Collegiate Bronze at the post-secondary, diploma level; Silver at the undergraduate level; and Gold at the graduate level.

P.W. Kaesar Gymnasium, Town of Fort Smith, Northwest Territories

OPEN TO MEDIA

12:30 p.m.

Meeting with Elders and Visit to the Northern Life Museum

Their Excellencies will meet with community Elders before taking a tour of the museum, which holds 10 000 artifacts representing the people and history of the North. These artifacts were mostly collected by the Oblate Fathers and Grey Nuns during their missionary work in the North.

Northern Life Museum, Town of Fort Smith Northwest Territories

OPEN TO MEDIA

Friday, December 9

Hay River, Northwest Territories

4:30 p.m.

Dogsledding

Their Excellencies will participate in a traditional Métis dogsled ride.

Beck's Kennels, Hay River, Northwest Territories

OPEN TO MEDIA

6:00 p.m.

Meeting with Community Leaders and Feast

Their Excellencies will be welcomed by Chief Roy Fabian, of the K'atl'odeeche First Nation. During their visit to the Hay River Dene Reserve, Their Excellencies will attend a community feast and experience the traditions and culture of the Dene community. The Governor General will deliver remarks on this occasion.

Chief Lamalice Centre, Hay River Dene Reserve, Northwest Territories

OPEN TO MEDIA

Saturday, December 10

Hay River, Northwest Territories

9 a.m.

Ice Fishing Demonstration

Local fishermen will introduce Their Excellencies to ice fishing, while sharing with them some of the challenges they face as they compete in the global market.

Great Slave Lake, Hay River, Northwest Territories

OPEN TO MEDIA

10:30 a.m.

Meeting with Volunteers of the Hay River Ski Club and Northwest Territories Youth Ambassadors

Their Excellencies will begin their visit to the Hay River Ski Club with a cross-country ski excursion, accompanied by local volunteers, athletes and youth ambassadors. Their Excellencies will conclude their visit to the club by taking part in a discussion with athletes and youth ambassadors.

The Youth Ambassador Program provides a guided and structured volunteer experience to Northwest Territories youth at major events. The program allows them to develop significant life and job skills and build the confidence necessary to deal with many of the complex challenges of modern society.

Hay River Ski Club, Hay River, Northwest Territories

OPEN TO MEDIA

12 p.m.

Arctic Winter Games Biathlon Tryouts

During their visit to Hay River, Their Excellencies will have the opportunity to see athletes competing in the biathlon team tryouts, all in the hopes of attending the 22nd Arctic Winter Games. This circumpolar sport competition will be held in the city of Whitehorse in March 2012.

Hay River Ski Club, Hay River, Northwest Territories

OPEN TO MEDIA

12:30 p.m.

Community Reception Hosted by the Town of Hay River

His Worship Kelly Schofield, Mayor of the Town of Hay River, along with members of the Legislative Assembly and community representatives, will offer Their Excellencies a warm welcome to their hometown.

Hay River Golf Course, Hay River, Northwest Territories

OPEN TO MEDIA

Members of the public can follow the official visit to the Northwest Territories online at www.gg.ca, where speeches, photos and the Governor General's blog entries will be posted.

This itinerary is subject to change without notice.

To obtain the latest updates, please visit www.gg.ca.

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