OTTAWA, March 30, 2022
The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) is honoured to announce that Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, has accepted to become Patron of the Society. In so doing, Her Excellency maintains a tradition of vice regal patronage that extends back to 1929 with the Society’s founding Patron The Rt. Hon. Viscount Willingdon.
In 1998, the RCGS presented Simon with its Gold Medal, and conferred an Honorary Fellowship upon her to recognize her accomplishments as an Inuit leader and as a Canadian diplomat. By extending her Patronage, Her Excellency has in turn honoured the Society.
“Mary Simon’s historic appointment as Governor General will bring unique knowledge and guidance to Canada, and her Patronage of RCGS will do the same for the Society,” said John Geiger, CEO of RCGS. “This is a great moment. At the dawn of the United Nations Decade of Indigenous Languages, we are blessed to have Her Excellency, together with RCGS Honorary President Chief Perry Bellegarde, to guide us as we venture ever deeper into our journey of truth seeking and reconciliation.”
“I am pleased to welcome Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon as Patron of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society,” said Chief Perry Bellegarde. “Reconciliation can mean transforming longstanding institutions in Canada. That means having First Nations, Inuit and Metis people in leadership roles where we can engage Canadians in our traditional worldviews. Her Excellency brings such knowledge of lands and the Inuit language, which the Royal Canadian Geographical Society welcomes wholeheartedly.”
Gavin Fitch, Chair of the Board of the RCGS, spoke of the organization’s excitement over the granting of Patronage: “Mary Simon is a great Canadian; she is someone who has demonstrated a lifetime of service to the country. We are deeply honoured and grateful for this news.”