Before the Gala: the weekend at the GGAWARDS 2016

The 2016 Gala weekend was a whirlwind as always, with a few extra twists thanks to the infamous Ottawa sinkhole. We thank our laureates and guests for their patience regarding transportation challenges and other inconveniences!

The laureates of the 2016 Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement are:

Susan Aglukark, O.C. –  Singer-songwriter and humanitarian
Marie Chouinard, O.C. – Artist, choreographer, writer and teacher
Ben Heppner, C.C. – Dramatic tenor and radio host
Robert Lantos, C.M. – Film and television producer
Suzanne Lebeau – Children’s playwright and artistic director

The recipient of the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts is John D McKellar, C.M

You can watch all of the National Film Board’s profiles of our laureates, which premiered June 11 during the Gala at the NAC.

This year’s participants in the Mentorship Program, presented by The Keg Spirit Foundation, are noted actor and director, Albert Millaire (GG Award 2006), and playwright Benjamin Pradet. We are truly looking  forward to their collaboration.

Parliament Hill Architecture. Photos: Sandy Irvin, GGPAAS/PGGAS

The celebratory weekend kicked off on Thursday, June 9th, with a day on Parliament Hill. The laureates enjoyed an intimate luncheon, hosted by Speaker of the House, the Hon. Geoff Regan. The laureates and their guests then had a “backstage” tour of Parliament, and a visit to the House of Commons for Question Period.  

Credit: HOC Broadcasting

This was followed up with a reception, again hosted by the Speaker, where laureates and elected officials could mingle.  Speeches were made by the Speaker, our GGPAAF Board Chair Doug Knight, and board members D’Arcy Levesque of Enbridge and Simon Brault of the Canada Council for the Arts. Each, in his own way, touched on the value of the performing arts to our country and culture, our pride as an Arts Nation, and our gratitude to the 2016 laureates for their contribution to Canada.

Susan Aglukark & Hon Beverley McLachlin 2016
Laureate Susan Aglukark and the Hon. Beverley McLachlin

On Friday, June 10, the recipients attended the ceremony at Rideau Hall where Deputy Governor General Beverley McLachlin presented them with their medallions, struck by the Royal Canadian Mint.
Each laureate had the opportunity to speak, and we have captured their inspiring words on film (video will soon be available in the “Award Recipients” section of our website).

The Deputy Governor General of Canada with the 2016 recipients, Mentorship Program pair and the GGPAAF Board of Directors at Rideau Hall. Credit: Sgt Ronald Duchesne, Rideau Hall

The ceremony was followed by an unforgettable meal created by Chef Louis Charest and his team. The laureates had the opportunity to mingle, enjoy the beautiful setting and even wander through the gardens. The photos below are a selection of those taken at Rideau Hall by Sgt Ronald Duchesne. More photos from Rideau Hall are available in our online photo gallery
There’s more to share about the spectacular Gala performance. Stay tuned for part two of our post-Gala blog.



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