On August 26, 2017, more than 1 500 guests, including over 750 Order of Canada members, gathered at Rideau Hall. Marking the 50th anniversary of the Order, this was the first time since the creation of Canada’s highest honour that such a gathering had been held.
Given the record amount of rain Ottawa had seen this summer, it was fortunate that the weather was nothing but perfect for this outdoor event. The good weather only added to the day’s delightful program that included inspirational remarks, musical performances and cultural elements.
One of the remarkable aspects of the Order is that it is merit-based and predicated upon demonstrated desire for a better country. Let us renew our efforts and work together as a community in these times of challenge and change. There are countless possibilities.
Governors general past, present and future were in attendance, as were several Order of Canada members who shared their talents and insights onstage, including: George Elliott Clarke, Édith Cloutier, Marc Kielburger, Huguette Labelle, Dany Laferrière, the Honourable Chantal Petitclerc and Janet Rossant. Guests were also treated to music by Gregory Charles and the Order of Canada Soloists with special guest Suzie LeBlanc.
This event provided members with the chance to network and to deepen their sense of community within the Order. More importantly, it offered them a venue to talk about the challenges and opportunities facing our country, as well as new ways to improve Canada as we embark on the next 50 years of nation-building.
We hope that in regions across the country, members of the Order of Canada will be inspired by this gathering to come together and continue the dialogue that can build stronger communities.