Visits to Alberta and British Columbia

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Visits to Alberta and British Columbia

by pmnationtalk on January 23, 2015681 Views

January 23, 2015

Governor General to Visit Alberta and British Columbia

OTTAWA—Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston will visit Alberta and British Columbia from January 27 to 29, 2015.

“Sharon and I will be conducting visits to the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia that will focus on innovation, education and mental health,” said His Excellency. “During our stay, I will have the opportunity to talk about Canada’s innovation agenda with business and community leaders during a round-table discussion at the University of Calgary. I will also deliver a keynoteaddress at the Vancouver Board of Trade on the subject of Canada’s deepening engagement with the Asia-Pacific region. Education will also be a strong component of this tour, with visits to a First Nations school, to Langara College and to Vancouver Island University.”

Her Excellency will also be participating in a number of events and activities during the visit. “To mark Bell Let’s Talk Day, and to help end the stigma around mental illness, I will have the privilege of visiting innovative, not-for-profit organizations, such as the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre and the Canadian Mental Health Association in Calgary, as well as Potluck Café and various health services centres located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside,” said
Her Excellency. “These organizations are committed to helping vulnerable children, men and women of all ages who are facing various challenges, including mental illness.”

“We must take the time to care about people who are struggling, as well as highlight the hard work being done by those who help them on a daily basis,” Her Excellency added. “I will also have the opportunity and pleasure to present the Caring Canadian Award to outstanding volunteers who are dedicated to breaking down the stigma around mental illness and to building a better and safer environment in their respective communities.”

All timings indicated are in local time zone (Mountain Standard Time – UTC/GMT -7 hours; and Pacific Standard Time – UTC/GMT -8 hours).

Tuesday, January 27
Calgary, Alberta

10:45 a.m.
Visit to Piitoayis Family School
Their Excellencies will visit the school and participate in a smudging ceremony and traditional talking circle with Grade 1 and 2 students. They will also have the opportunity to interact with staff and Elders. Their visit will conclude with an Honour Song performed by student drummers and with a closing prayer delivered by an Elder.

Piitoayis Family School is culturally based from an Aboriginal perspective and welcomes First Nations, Métis and Inuit students from Kindergarten to Grade 6. It offers language and cultural teachings such as drumming and dancing, and conducts traditional ceremonies. It strives to honour the seven teachings of the ancestors: wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility and truth, and to create a learning environment based on the balance of traditional cultural values and academic excellence. The school’s key priorities are literacy learning, and supporting the social and emotional well-being of students.
1921–9 Avenue SE, Calgary
MEDIA CONTACT: Katie L. Pearn, Communications, Calgary Board of Education, 403-817-7962; 403-620-4313 (cell); [email protected]

12:15 p.m.
Visit to the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre  by Her Excellency Sharon Johnston
Her Excellency will visit this not-for-profit organization that is committed to becoming a Centre of Excellence specializing in best practices, training, community awareness, education and research in the area of child abuse. She will be joined by Laureen MacNeil, Executive Director of Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)–Calgary Region, and Sheldon Kennedy, one of the Centre’s board members. During her tour of the facility, Her Excellency will meet with representatives from the Calgary Police, Calgary and Area Child and Family Services, Alberta Health Services, Alberta Justice Calgary Crown Prosecutors’ Office, the RCMP and Alberta Education who are working together to create a community that responds collectively to child abuse and empowers those who are impacted by child abuse to lead healthy and productive lives.

The Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre is a collaborative, innovative, one-stop centre working with founding partner organizations, corporate champions, the community and the government. It is considered Canada’s largest and most comprehensive child advocacy centre, offering investigation, treatment, prevention, education and research in one place and with one purpose: to provide hope, help and healing to children, youth and families who are impacted by child abuse. For more information, visit
400, 3820–24 Avenue NW, Calgary
MEDIA CONTACT: Alisha Samnani, Brookline Public Relations Firm,
403-538-5641 ext. 102; 403-554-9757 (cell), [email protected]

12:30 p.m.
Round-Table Discussion on Innovation
The Governor General will meet with representatives from Innovate Calgary, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, the University of Calgary, and business and community leaders to discuss how Canadian companies are finding ways to be more innovative and competitive in a global world.

Innovate Calgary is where start-ups, entrepreneurs, researchers, investors, industry and partners within the advanced technology sector take innovation and ideas to business. Its integrated approach to commercialization focuses on facilitating connections among stakeholders and offering a comprehensive range of programs and services to achieve success. For more information, visit
Alistair Ross Technology Centre, 3553–31Street NW, University of Calgary

1:45 p.m.
Her Excellency to Distribute Food Hampers with SOS Team Members
Her Excellency will meet with staff from Street Outreach and Stabilization (SOS), a CMHA–Calgary Region program, and help distribute food hampers to vulnerable residents in the community. SOS connects homeless individuals experiencing mental health concerns with the essential community services and psychiatric and medical treatment needed to help them regain control of their lives and their illness.

CMHA–Calgary Regionwas established in 1955. It facilitates access to the resources people require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, to build resilience and to support recovery. CMHA–Calgary Region provides education, advocacy and support for individuals and families living with mental health disorders, or who are affected by a loss by suicide or addiction. For more information, visit

2:45 p.m.
Visit to Family Support Program and Suicide Bereavement Group, and Presentation of the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award by Her Excellency Sharon Johnston
Her Excellency will proceed to the Kahanoff Centre—which houses the CMHA–Calgary Region head office— to meet with staff from the Family Support Program, which provides information, resources and support to families and friends of individuals with mental illness. The program is designed to reduce the impact of mental illness on parents, partners and siblings.

Her Excellency will also speak with experienced counsellors and volunteers from the Suicide Bereavement Group, which provides members with an opportunity to meet others who have experienced a similar loss, and to explore their own grief on a new level in a safe and supportive environment.

At 3:15 p.m.,Her Excellency will present the Caring Canadian Award to volunteers who have made a difference at CMHA–Calgary Region and within their community. She will deliver remarks on this occasion. The list of recipients and their citations will be published at a later date.

Created in 1995, the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award recognizes living Canadians and permanent residents who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad. Often working behind the scenes, these individuals volunteer their time and efforts to help their fellow citizens. The award also brings to light the example set by volunteers, whose compassion and engagement are a part of our Canadian character. For more information, visit
Kahanoff Centre, 1202 Volunteer Way SE, Calgary
OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHERS ONLY—Visits to Family Support Program and Suicide Bereavement Group
OPEN TO MEDIA—Presentation of the Caring Canadian Award
MEDIA CONTACT: Joy Pavelich, Communications, Canadian Mental Health Association, 403-297-1706; 403-934-1694 (cell); [email protected]

Wednesday, January 28
Vancouver, British Columbia

11 a.m.
Visit to Potluck Café Society
On the occasion of Bell Let’s Talk Day, Their Excellencies will meet with Colin Stansfield, Executive Director of Potluck Café Society. Potluck is transforming lives by offering life skills and on-the-job training to individuals facing barriers to traditional employment. In addition, it provides healthy food for people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. During their visit of the facility, Their Excellencies will also interact with students from Lord Strathcona Elementary School’s healthy recess snack program. Launched by Potluck in March 2014, this program provides wholesome snacks each school day to 50 nutritionally vulnerable children from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Potluck is a highly respected social enterprise founded in 2001. It aims to help end the cycle of poverty in the Downtown Eastside community and to address the needs of its most nutritionally vulnerable residents through solutions that promote employment and nutrition. Potluck works to create an inclusive and healthy neighborhood through a social enterprise approach. For more information, visit
30 West Hastings, Vancouver
MEDIA CONTACT: Colin Stansfield, Executive Director, Potluck Café, 778-985-5552 (cell), [email protected]

1 p.m.
Keynote Address on Innovation at Vancouver Board of Trade
The Governor General will deliver a keynote address entitled The Next Spike: Innovation as the Key to Building a Smarter, More Caring Canada.He will speak about Canada’s deepening engagement with the Asia-Pacific region, and the need for Canadian business and education leaders to adopt innovative approaches to building trust, sharing knowledge, fostering talent and celebrating excellence in order to seize opportunities coming from Asia-Pacific nations. Following his address, His Excellency will answer questions from the audience.

Founded in 1887, the Vancouver Board of Trade is Western Canada’s premier business association. With thousands of members, it is Vancouver’s chamber of commerce and works in the enlightened interest of its members to promote, enhance and facilitate the development of the region as a Pacific centre for trade, commerce and travel. For more information, visit
Regency A & B, Hyatt Regency Vancouver
MEDIA CONTACT: Greg Hoekstra, Communications Manager, Vancouver Board of Trade, [email protected]

4:30 p.m.
Unveiling of Langara College Armorial Bearings
The Governor General will unveil the new Langara College Coat of Arms. He will be joined by Lane Trotter, President and CEO of Langara College, and Robert Watt, Rideau Herald Emeritus. His Excellency will also deliver remarks to faculty, staff and students to mark the occasion.

The Canadian Heraldic Authority is headed by the Governor General. The Authority’s major activities include granting new armorial bearings (arms, flags and badges) and native symbols; registering recognized existing arms, flags and badges, as well as the genealogical information related to the inheritance of arms; approving military badges, flags and other insignia of the Canadian Forces; providing information on correct heraldic practices and on heraldic artists working in various media; and developing and participating in national and regional heraldic ceremonies. For more information, visit

Langara College provides university, career, and continuing studies education to more than 21 000 students annually. With more than 1 700 courses and 130 programs, Langara’s expansive academic breadth and depth allows students of all ages, backgrounds, and life stages to choose their own educational path. For more information, visit
C Building, 100 West 49 Avenue, Vancouver
MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Smith, Communications Officer, Langara College,
604-323-5176, [email protected]

Thursday, January 29
Nanaimo, British Columbia

9:45 a.m.
Visit to Harmac Mill
Their Excellencies will visit Harmac Mill, a pulp and paper mill that went bankrupt in 2008 and was subsequently repurchased the same year by its employees, with the support of three partners. Their Excellencies will tour the mill’s steam plant and power generation as well as the pulp machine room.

The Harmac Mill produces high-quality kraft pulps made from custom blends of Douglas fir, western hemlock, balsam fir, interior SPF and western red cedar. The pulp is sold in Asia, Europe and North America. With its strategic location on a deep-water port, the mill is well situated for cost-effective export of pulp and receipt of raw materials such as wood fiber. For more information, visit
1000 Wave Place, Nanaimo
MEDIA CONTACT: Levi Sampson, President of Nanaimo Forest Products Ltd., 250-722-4463; 250-816-3854 (cell), [email protected]

2:30 p.m.
Honorary Doctorate from Vancouver Island University
Their Excellencies will attend a convocation ceremony at Vancouver Island University (VIU) during which they will both be awarded honorary degrees (Doctor of Laws). The Governor General will deliver remarks on this occasion. The ceremony will be webcast live at

VIU serves Vancouver Island and coastal British Columbia with a commitment to student success, applied research and community engagement. Through its facilities in Nanaimo, the Cowichan Valley, Powell River and Parksville-Qualicum, VIU supports more than 18 000 learners, including 1 800 international students and more than 2 000 Aboriginal students, in a range of graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational and trades training programs.. For more information, visit
Port Theatre, 125 Front Street, Nanaimo
MEDIA CONTACT: Janina Stajic, Manager, Communications & Public Engagement at Vancouver Island University, 250-740-6288; 250-618-2360 (cell); [email protected]


Media information:

Marie-Ève Létourneau
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-302-0912 (cell)
[email protected]


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