Gold Medal

The Gold Medal of the Society was first bestowed in 1972 to honour the International Geographical Union (IGU) for choosing Canada as the venue of its 22nd International Congress, and to recognize the achievements of the IGU President.

That award clearly illustrates the purpose for which the Gold Medal was created: to provide an opportunity for the Society to recognize:

  • a particular achievement by one or more individuals in the general field of geography; or
  • a significant national or international event.

In the case of the second, the Medal is awarded to an appropriate individual or group of individuals representative of the occasion. Normally, the special achievements or events for which the medal is awarded are well known. No regular interval (annual, biannual, etc.) is established for the awarding of the Gold Medal. It is presented whenever the Society’s Board of Governors decides its bestowal is appropriate to recognize a particular achievement or event.

The time, place and program of the ceremony to present the Gold Medal is decided by the Board of Governors after careful consideration of the circumstances surrounding the event or achievement for which the Medal is being awarded.

See past award winners.

Looking to nominate someone?

How to nominate

Please look outside your organization, as well as within, when considering who might be an outstanding nominee. In considering suitable nominees, you are encouraged to be inclusive, in respect to gender and the diversity of Canadians. You may submit one or more nominations for the medal using the form at the bottom of this page.

Nominations are accepted annually until March 14. 

The Committee will retain nominations under consideration for a period of three years.

2019 Gold Medal recipients: Richard Boudreault, Adrienne Clarkson and Dr. Jane Goodall

Richard Boudreault

Richard Boudreault is an internationally recognized leader in Arctic science and research. Since 2015, Mr. Boudreault has served as Chair of the Board of Polar Knowledge Canada, the agency responsible for the Canadian High Arctic Research Station. He has demonstrated an irrefutable commitment to improving northern research, to integrating traditional knowledge of Indigenous communities in current and future polar research, exploration and science streams, and to reaching a higher level of efficiency by building capacity, enhancing collaboration and fostering national cohesion.

Mr. Boudreault, a Fellow of the Society, served for many years on the Canadian Space Agency Board where he was instrumental in securing the RADARSAT satellite constellation, a primary tool for Arctic cryospheric, environmental baselining and polar research. His many contributions to research in the field of environment, clean energy and clean technologies in the North are further evidence of his commitment and achievement.

The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson

Adrienne Clarkson, journalist, author, honorary chief, and co-founder of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, has played an inestimable role in fashioning an understanding of Canadian identity.

As Governor General and Honorary Patron of the Society, Ms. Clarkson was a tireless advocate for the Society’s mission and values, and was herself an explorer of the first order. As she journeyed extensively across the Canadian landscapes — human, cultural and physical — she evinced a particular affinity for the North, drawing public attention to our highest latitudes.

Ms. Clarkson displays a profound understanding of the geographic concept of place, the genesis of our sense of identity, community and belonging.

Jane Goodall, DBE

Dr. Jane Goodall, anthropologist, primatologist, author, educator and environmentalist, is known internationally for her ground-breaking research with wild chimpanzees in Africa and for her indefatigable advocacy on behalf of the environment. Eloquent, passionate and hopeful, Dr. Goodall leads through example as she raises awareness and understanding of the need for environmental conservation and sustainability. 

Through the Jane Goodall Institute, with its programs such as Roots and Shoots, she encourages individuals to recognize and exercise their personal agency to effect positive change in the world.

Researcher, writer and role model, Dr. Goodall has already amassed an impressive legacy of environmental stewardship that is global in its impact and influence. The Gold Medal recognizes Dr. Goodall for her transformative role in raising environmental awareness and activism in Canada and throughout the world.

Gold Medal Nomination

Only nominations submitted by the nomination deadline (January 15, 2021) will be considered for the 2021 Massey Medal. Nominations submitted after the deadline will be considered in the following year. Submissions must be filled out in their entirety and cannot be accessed again.

NOTE: This form does not have an automatic save function. Please ensure that you save your work elsewhere to ensure it is not lost in completing this process.

Nominator Name*
Is the Nominator an RCGS Fellow?*

Brief description of nominator including relationship to nominee

Nominee Name*

Description of the Particular Achievement or Event

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Please upload a two-page (maximum) nomination letter that: • specifically describes the accomplishment or event in relation to the award criteria This letter is very important in the assessment of the nomination • justifies why the individual or group is worthy of the Gold Medal

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Please upload an abridged version of the nominee's curriculum vitae and a report of the accomplishment or event may be appropriate. A strictly enforced total maximum of ten (10) pages is available for both the CV and list of publications. These should be saved as a single attachment

Drop files here or

Up to four additional one-page letters of support for particular aspects of the nominee's achievements may be uploaded.

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