As The Queen’s representative in Ontario, I am most pleased to send my best wishes for a happy Canada Day.
It was New Year’s Day 2014, when what I thought would be my last message to you was printed in your local community newspaper. As fate would have it, I have had the good fortune to serve you into 2014. My tenure has been seven years – the longest term for a Lieutenant Governor since the Second World War. I must admit, it is hard to say goodbye!
I will soon return to private life. Serving as Lieutenant Governor has been an enormous privilege, but the transition is made easier knowing I am a citizen of Canada. We enjoy freedoms and a quality of life that is truly a blessing. From our First Nation peoples to our most recent newcomers, we all continue to build this country, a country that is consistently ranked as one of the world’s best places to live. It is our shared values and respect for all cultures that makes Canada unique. On this day, we not only celebrate all that we have accomplished together as a society, we celebrate the gift of one another.
A nation, however, does not come into existence without struggle and sacrifice. It has been my duty and privilege to recognize and remember those who have served our country in the military.
If you are in the Toronto area, I invite you to the Lieutenant Governor’s Suite to visit our newest art exhibit entitled Lest We Forget, a visual commemoration of the First World War by renowned contemporary artist Charles Pachter.
Accompanying the exhibit is a collection of essays by notable Canadians including Jean Chrétien, Jack Granatstein, Kim Phuc Phan Thi, and Joseph Boyden, offering their reflections on the subject “what have we learned from war.”
Serving the people of Ontario has been the most extraordinary and humbling experience of my life. I thank you so very much for welcoming Ruth Ann and me into your communities. We shall never forget your hospitality, your warmth, and your many kindnesses.
As The Queen’s representative in Ontario, I wish you and your family a very happy Canada Day.
David C. Onley