The 53rd Toonik Tyme, the capital’s spring celebration, will receive the royal treatment this year when Governor General Julie Payette participates in the official opening ceremonies the evening of April 12 at the curling rink.
“The Governor General will celebrate spring and Inuit culture and tradition by taking part in the opening ceremonies of the Toonik Tyme Festival. On this occasion, she will be inducted as an honorary Toonik and will deliver brief remarks,” according to a news release.
Payette’s one and a half day itinerary is packed from the moment of her arrival at 10:30 a.m. Thursday morning, when Nunavut Commissioner Nellie Kusugak and Premier Paul Quassa will welcome her, to Friday afternoon.
Also as a welcome, a quarter guard of Junior Canadian Rangers and a quarter guard of Royal Canadian Air Cadets and RCMP officers will give Payette, who is also Canada’s Commander in Chief, military honours at the Royal Canadian Legion Cadet Hall.
“Throughout the two-day visit, Her Excellency will have the opportunity to meet with territorial and local officials, including the Commissioner and the Premier of Nunavut, as well as the Mayor of Iqaluit,” states the release.
“The Governor General will also address high school students, meet with researchers and take part in discussions with different stakeholders to learn about the reality of life in Canada’s North and how collaboration helps to create innovative initiatives for the well-being of Nunavummiut.”
Payette will meet individually with Kusugak, Quassa, Nunavut Tunngavik president Aluki Kotierk, and Mayor Madeleine Redfern, who will give the Governor General a tour of the city.
Meanwhile, the City of Iqaluit has declared April 13 a civic holiday.
“Each year residents and visitors of Iqaluit are invited to participate in the Toonik Tyme Festival, which is an annual event that helps to promote and embrace Inuit traditions, as well as celebrate the return of spring,” stated Mayor Madeleine Redfern.
“To encourage all citizens to partake in events, as well as volunteer at the festival, in 2012 the City of Iqaluit designated the first day of Toonik Tyme as our civic holiday. By coming together as community, we can make Iqaluit a great place to live, work and play for all our residents.”