Prime Minister Stephen Harper joined Governor General David Johnston on a bright and sunny Monday morning, Feb. 6, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne by awarding 60 Canadians with the new Diamond Jubilee Medal.
“On Feb. 6, 1952, Canada, as a member of the Commonwealth, was proud to proclaim then Princess Elizabeth as ‘Queen of Canada and head of the Commonwealth,’” Johnston told the sizable crowd gathered at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. “Today, we once again reaffirm our bond with the Crown, which helps to define our country and what it means to be Canadian.”
At the ceremony, the Jubilee Medal was being awarded to Canadians who made significant contributions to their community, or who brought credit to Canada. Among the recipients was The Royal Canadian Legion’s Dominion President Pat Varga, who received the medal “for the ongoing support and services she provides to our veterans.”
Johnston said, “Six decades ago, a young Queen began her reign, one focused on service to others. Her Majesty has experienced and seen many hardships, but also many joys. Through it all, she has remained dedicated to serving the Crown and the people of the Commonwealth.
“All of you here—who have been nominated by your peers and colleagues—have made Canada better. Individually, you have improved the well-being of many in your communities, and together, you have helped to create a smarter, more caring nation.”
Joining Varga in receiving a medal were a wide range of notable Canadians, including Darrell Fox, the younger brother of Canadian icon Terry Fox; Leslie Natynczyk, wife of Chief of Defence Staff Walter Natynczyk, for her dedication to and support of military families; and a wide range of Canadian Forces members including Captain Simon J. Mailloux, for his leadership within the Canadian Forces and for his efforts to help soldiers injured during the war in Afghanistan; Master Warrant Officer Jean-Claude Parent, for his contributions to the Canadian Red Cross and the Military Family Resource Centre of his community and Corporal Ryan Doherty, for his continued leadership within and dedication to the Canadian Forces, and for his outstanding technical knowledge.
“You exemplify the values that build our country, the principles that guide it, and the hope that draws it forward,” Harper told the recipients. “When I consider Canada’s future, the spirit of service reflected in those here today and the thousands of other Canadians who will be awarded the Diamond Jubilee Medal over the course of the year, it gives me great hope for our country. As your prime minister, on behalf of your fellow Canadians, I thank you and I congratulate you.”
The medal which was created by the Canadian Heraldic Authority bears an image of Queen Elizabeth II and proclaims in Latin Vivat Regina (Long Live the Queen). The ribbon uses a new arrangement of blue, red and white found in the ribbons for the 1953 Coronation Medal, the 1977 Silver Jubilee medal and the 2002 Golden Jubilee Medal.
In total, there will be 60,000 Canadians receiving the jubilee medal this year. And, the applications process is still open. To find out how to nominate someone you know, visit www.gg.ca/diamondjubilee.