Mary Simon speaks during an announcement at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., on Tuesday, July 6, 2021. Simon, an Inuk leader and former Canadian diplomat, has been named as Canada's next governor general — the first Indigenous person to serve in the role. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Pandemic pares back pomp of Mary Simon’s installation ceremony as governor general

OTTAWA — When Mary Simon walks into the Senate on Monday to be installed as the country’s next governor general, she will find the upper chamber sparsely populated.

The installation ceremonies for Simon’s predecessors have attracted hundreds of people packed tightly into the Senate, including cabinet ministers, senators, MPs, justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, dignitaries and invited guests.

For Simon, there will be 44 people in attendance to view the ceremony in-person to follow public health guidelines.

Federal officials planning the ceremony say public health rules will also require everyone to wear masks and be physically distant.

Officials are also making a rare request for Canadians to not line the streets around the building or the nearby National War Memorial where Simon will lay a wreath after officially becoming commander-in-chief.

Instead, they are encouraging people to watch the broadcast of the ceremony that will include traditional Inuit elements as Simon becomes the country’s first Indigenous governor general.