Rideau Hall takes second look at hundreds of events in sweeping review

OTTAWA — Rideau Hall is conducting a sweeping review of the hundreds of events organized and hosted by the Governor General each year to determine which ones will stay, which ones will go, and which ones will be done differently.

A typical year for the Governor General involves more than 500 events, visits to dozens of communities, trips abroad, meetings on major national issues — a pace that is blistering for the Queen’s representative and their 150-strong support staff.

New governors general have reviewed those events to see what if any changes can be made. This time around, there are also many new support staff, including the top aide to Gov.-Gen. Julie Payette.

The combination of the review and the learning curve of staff has meant some delays in finalizing details for events that take place annually at Rideau Hall, including a journalism award event created by a former head of state.

The Michener Award for public service journalism was created in 1970 by then-governor general Roland Michener and has been handed out annually for more than 10 years at a gala event at Rideau Hall.

Typically, the foundation that runs the event has a planning meeting at Rideau Hall in late April, announces the nominees and award date around now, and then hands out the award in early June.

But this year a date has yet to be set because of the review. In a release announcing fellowship winners, the foundation said the award winner “will be announced during at ceremony held at a later time.”

Foundation president Alan Allnutt said Rideau Hall informed the Michener award group that the Governor General was reviewing all awards ceremonies to see if events would be done differently than in the past.

Allnutt said organizers aren’t panicking about the delay. Long-time members of the foundation recall similar delays in the past, particularly when there was a new Governor General, he said. And there have been years that the event wasn’t held at Rideau Hall at all.

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