Rouyn-Noranda, Tuesday, September 18, 2012
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My wife, Sharon, and I are delighted to join you here today.
Our visit to the region of Abitibi-Témiscamingue has already been so wonderful. And we are so pleased to be here in Rouyn-Noranda.
To see the beauty of this community, to see the majesty of such sites as Osisko Lake in the middle of such a resource-rich city is simply breathtaking.
Even more impressive is that Rouyn-Noranda has been dedicated to a healthy community for decades. You understand that a successful city relies on more than just economic success, that it must also consider the long-term health and well-being of the environment and its citizens.
The idea of a ville en santé is a testament to the forward-thinking people of Rouyn-Noranda. You should be proud of what you have accomplished here; we can all learn from your actions.
Of course, you long ago discovered the best way to build a healthy city. You know that working together, collaborating with each other, is essential to building a smart and caring community.
There is such diversity here, but also unity and respect.
It is the sense of community that brings us together today, and it is the reason for the continuing vitality of Rouyn-Noranda. Our visit has already brought us into contact with some wonderful people who are doing great things for this city and this region.
And, as governor general, I am honoured to recognize some of these people here today, who have given of themselves for the betterment of the community.
The recipients of the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award whom we honour today are all volunteers and givers.
As governor general, I have made volunteerism and philanthropy one of the pillars of my mandate. And so it is always a pleasure to visit a community such as this one, and to recognize those who have given their time and talent to help others in need.
In so many ways, Sharon and I see similarities between this region and Northern Ontario, where we grew up. We had the chance at the end of August to visit our hometown of Sault St. Marie to help celebrate the 100th anniversary since its incorporation. As in Sault St. Marie, here in Rouyn-Noranda we see how people from all walks of life are working together in this community.
This city is contributing to the well-being of this province and this country. You are a healthy city, a vital city, a smart and caring city.
Here I see not just the definition of community, but the strength of this nation.
I have seen some of what Rouyn-Noranda has to offer our country, but I know that there is still much more that you do each and every day. I have no doubt that you will continue to build on your success as a strong community.