Gala – A Place to Stand

Gala – A Place to Stand

The Lieutenant Governor hosted A Place to Stand: A Celebration of 150 Years of Ontario and Canada at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. This gala concert was an opportunity for Ontarians to mark the sesquicentennial of Confederation while also honouring the newest members of the Order of Ontario and all who have joined this society of merit since its first investiture 30 years ago.

View a photo gallery of this event on Flickr

A tribute to Canada in words, images, and song, A Place to Stand was compiled by historian Hugh Brewster and narrated by him and actress Cynthia Dale with music directed by Noel Edison.

The event brought together the artistic talent of many great Canadians, including:

  • Composer Barbara Croall of Odawa First Nation with Highlands Opera Studio
  • Astronaut and performer Chris Hadfield with Dave Hadfield
  • Singer Jackie Richardson
  • Operatic tenor Richard Margison
  • Singer Murray McLauchlan
  • Vocalist Margo Timmins
  • Female delusionist extraordinaire, Miss Conception
  • Elora Singers
  • Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
  • Canadian Children’s Opera Company


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Premier, Mr. Chief Justice, distinguished guests, dear friends, mes chers amis:

Good evening! Bonsoir! Bozhoo! Je suis ravie d’etre ici avec vous ce soir.

I am so pleased that you have joined us for this evening of storytelling. Through spoken word and music we will reflect on the journey that led to this 150th anniversary of Confederation. 

C’est un moment si important dans l’histoire canadienne et aussi dans la vie de l’Ontario.

Ontario was there at the beginning, so this is a celebration of who we have become as a province within Canada. As well, Ontarians have engaged in countless conversations about who we want to be in the future – how we can contribute to this country and to humanity at large.

We are of course mindful that we are on a journey of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples who have stewarded these lands for millennia. Tonight let us acknowledge this city as a sacred gathering place for the many Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island.

I pay tribute to the ancient and enduring history of First Nations and Métis People in Ontario. Permettez-moi de rendre hommage particulièrement aux Mississaugas de New Credit.

Thank you to my friend Chief Stacey Laforme and and also to Natan Obed, National Inuit Leader and President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami for graciously joining with us this evening.

In determining our course for the next 150 years, the visions and voices of those of you in the audience and those watching online will be crucial.

As I travel this province and discover the pride you have in your communities, I have been greatly inspired. You are resilient. You solve problems creatively. You work collaboratively to care for our shared environment and for each other.

Earlier this evening, I had the extraordinary privilege of investing 26 distinguished Ontarians as Members of the Order of Ontario.

They have joined a society of merit, founded 30 years ago. The members have not only dared to dream of a better province, but have made sustained efforts to make it so, all without any expectation of recognition or reward.

Collectively they illustrate what it means to be an Ontarian. To all members of the Order of Ontario present this evening: Please stand to be recognized and to receive our warmest congratulations and admiration. Félicitations!

For 30 years, the success of the Order of Ontario has relied upon the generosity of members of the public is submitting nominations. I hope you will consider nominating someone who has made a difference in your community.

And our story would not be complete without remarking on our stable form of governance. On the eve of the tour of Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, our thoughts are also of the devotion and duty of Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Sa vie de service est un exemple pour tous.

And now, we are about to see the remarkable efforts of Hugh Brewster, our writer, and producer who is also narrating with Cynthia Dale, aided by Music Director Noel Edison, Stage Manager Victoria Ollers, and the team at Roy Thomson Hall. I am grateful for their work in marshalling such a talented and diverse range of performers.

I thank all of these performers for giving so generously of their time and talent. Thank you also to the many people who have allowed this event to be open to the public.

I know that you will enjoy tonight’s celebration of our beloved Ontario and Canada. Surely there could be no better Place to Stand. This is home.

Thank you. Merci. Miigwetch.