John N. Smith, Officer of the Order of Canada

(actualisé le ) by John N. Smith

John was awarded Canada’s highest civilian award for distinguished achievement, the Order of Canada (Officer) , in an impressive and very select award ceremony in Rideau Hall in Ottawa on May 15, 2009.

The ceremony, which took place before an invited audience, was presided by the Governor-General of Canada, Michelle Jean, and was followed by a formal and quite magnificent banquet-dinner for the awardees.

Here is John’s account of the big day:

Cynthia and I were put up at the Chateau Laurier, then in the morning we were bussed to Rideau Hall, for a ceremony in the ballroom presided b y a very beautiful Governor-General, an audience made up of four guests of each recipient. Each one in turn went before Her Excellency, had their citation read, had the medal put on round the neck by Michelle Jean, then posed for a shot with the Governor-General (standing at the side were half a dozen camera people snapping and filming away), then walked over to the side and signed the book. There were about 30 Members who went first, then about 15 Officers (that’s me), then three Companions, those being the three ranks of the Order.

The ceremony was followed by a reception, where I met up with Bruce and Morgan and Christine and Cynthia. I had been cloistered away with my fellow recipients from the time we arrived. I was wearing a new suit, a colorful tie picked out by Cynthia, new shows, a good haircut, and I smiled, as we were instructed to do. During the ceremony I noticed that one of the photographers was a woman I know, she worked for me, so after the ceremony and before the reception I told the GG staff I had to go see one of the press corps. We had a fun reunion, then I dragged her to the reception, to the consternation of the GG staff, but I hadn’t seen her in ages, she has also worked for Cynthia and wanted to see her.

At 5:30 PM, dressed in a rented tuxedo, as per instruction, and with the medeal hung around my neck, just under the bowtie, as per instructions, we boarded the bus, just Cynthia and I, went off to a formal dinner in the transformed ballroom. Seated at my table was Jean Daniel Lafond, a filmaker originally from France who is the hubby and Consort of the Governor-General. A lovely time was had, including a gathering in the lounge after the dinner, at a piano where various recipients played and sang. The GG herself sang a lovely song, then we were back on the bus. The following morning was spent with Morgan and familky, then we drove back to Montreal.

John Newton Smith, Officer of the Order of Canada