Honouring Ontarians

As the Crown’s representative, the Lieutenant Governor recognizes Ontarians through the honours system. Honours and awards strengthen the fabric of Ontario’s communities and shape the aspirations of Ontarians, and are a way to formally and publicly acknowledge the excellence, achievements, and contributions of role models from all walks of life.

During presentation ceremonies throughout the year, the Lieutenant Governor takes great pride recognizing people who have made a difference to their communities.

National honours

The Lieutenant Governor may present national honours, including the Order of Canada, bravery decorations, the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, and commemorative medals, on behalf of the Governor General.

Visit the Governor General’s website to learn more about the Canadian honours system or to nominate someone for a national honour.

Ontario honours and awards

The Government of Ontario has established several official honours and awards, which are conferred by the Lieutenant Governor on the Government’s formal advice. In all cases, members of the public submit nominations to an honours advisory council, which provides the Government with recommendations.

Learn more about honours and awards in Ontario, including how to nominate someone.

Order of Ontario

Order of Ontario insignia
Insignia of a Member of the Order of Ontario

The Order of Ontario is the province’s highest official honour. It recognizes any current or former long-time resident of Ontario who has demonstrated a high level of individual excellence and achievement in any field benefitting the people of the province or elsewhere. The Lieutenant Governor becomes a Member of the Order of Ontario upon taking office and serves as the order’s Chancellor while in office, presiding at the order’s annual investiture.

Ontario medals

The Lieutenant Governor presides at the annual presentation ceremonies of the following Ontario medals:

Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship
Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship
Ontario Medal for Police Bravery insignia
Ontario Medal for Police Bravery
Ontario Medal for Firefighter Bravery insignia
Ontario Medal for Firefighter Bravery
Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers insignia
Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers

Ontario awards

The Lieutenant Governor presides at the annual presentation ceremonies of the following awards:

Lieutenant Governor’s Awards

A number of independent organizations have created awards in partnership with successive Lieutenant Governors to recognize achievements in specific fields of endeavour.

Lieutenant Governor’s Awards that are currently presented include:

Lieutenant Governor’s Community Volunteer Award for Students

Established in 2000 by the Hon. Hilary M. Weston to encourage youth volunteerism, the Lieutenant Governor’s Community Volunteer Award for Students pays tribute to students who not only complete the required number of volunteer hours to graduate, but who go above and beyond. Each year, an award is given to one graduating student at each of Ontario’s secondary schools. Each student receives a personalized certificate and an award pin. This award is administered by the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.

Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Design Excellence in Architecture

Since 2015, the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Design Excellence in Architecture is presented annually to recognize completed projects constructed in Ontario within the preceding five years. The winner is selected from among the finalists of the Ontario Association of Architects Design Excellence Awards, and is considered by an expert jury to have shown excellence in creativity, context, sustainability, good business, and legacy. The award is administered by the Ontario Association of Architects.

Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines

Aimed at promoting Ontario viticulture and winemaking, the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines was established in 2011. This awards program recognizes VQA Ontario wines (made from 100% Ontario-grown and processed grapes).

Since 2016, the Lieutenant Governor’s Award is part of the annual Ontario Wine Awards as a “top-tier” award, with the highest-scoring wines in each year’s varietal categories competing against each other. Between eight to 12 wines are selected for their overall excellence.

The awards are administered by the Ontario Wine Awards with the support of the Grape Growers of Ontario, the Winery and Grower Alliance of Ontario, and the Wine Marketing Association of Ontario. Drawing upon its expertise, the Ontario Wine Awards selects the judging panel, which includes student judges from Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College.

Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Awards

In partnership with the Ontario Heritage Trust, the Hon. James Bartleman established these awards in 2007 to recognize outstanding volunteer contributions to the preservation of Ontario’s heritage. The Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement, awarded through a special category in the Trust’s Heritage Community Recognition Program, recognizes individuals who have made sustained volunteer contributions to preserving, protecting, and promoting community heritage over a period of 25 years or more. The Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Youth Achievement, awarded through the Trust’s annual Young Heritage Leaders program, recognizes the most exceptional youth group in each of the built, cultural and natural heritage nomination categories, and the most outstanding individual nominee across all categories.

Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Marketing Excellence in Ontario

The Economic Developers Council of Ontario recognizes achievements in municipal economic development marketing by presenting awards in the categories of business development, tourism, and product development. In 2006, the annual Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Marketing Excellence in Ontario was introduced to honour the single most outstanding achievement made by an award recipient in these categories.

Lieutenant Governor’s Cup

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair introduced this Cup in 1953 with the approval of then Lieutenant Governor the Hon. Louis Orville Breithaupt. The Lieutenant Governor’s Cup is presented annually to a three-year-old Canadian-bred horse capable of becoming a “sport horse”, that is, a horse excelling in the hunter, jumper, dressage, or eventing disciplines. This competition showcases Canadian sport horse breeding, a field in which Canada has since emerged as a major player.

Vice-Regal Commendation

Approved by The Queen as part of the national honours system in 1999, the Vice-Regal Commendation is presented by the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governors for long-term or outstanding service to the office of The Queen’s representative.

The recipients have either served on staff (paid or volunteer) during an incumbent’s mandate in a commendable fashion, or the recipient has performed one or more outstanding acts as a member of the incumbent’s staff (paid or volunteer) that has benefited the office of The Queen’s representative or territorial commissioner.

Viceregal patronage

The Lieutenant Governor plays a key role in supporting outstanding contributions to civil society. To this end, the Lieutenant Governor from time to time grants viceregal patronage to organizations and initiatives, lending them vital support and recognition.

Ms. Dowdeswell has granted her patronage to the following organizations:

  • Aga Khan Museum
  • Air Cadet League of Canada (Ontario Provincial Committee)
  • Army Cadet League of Canada (Ontario)
  • Artscape Foundation
  • Canadian Centre for Ethics and Corporate Policy
  • Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons
  • Children’s International Learning Centre
  • CNIB (Ontario-Nunavut)
  • Commissionaires Great Lakes
  • Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall
  • DAREarts
  • The Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards (Ontario)
  • Friends of HMCS Haida
  • Haven Toronto (formerly The Good Neighbours’ Club)
  • Health Arts Society of Ontario
  • IISD Experimental Lakes Area
  • IODE (Ontario)
  • Last Post Fund (Ontario)
  • Learning for a Sustainable Future
  • Let’s Talk Science
  • The Lifesaving Society
  • Magna Carta Canada
  • Monarchist League of Canada
  • Mon Sheong Foundation
  • Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations
  • Ontario Historical Society
  • Ontario Society of Artists
  • Pathways to Education Canada
  • Provincial Council of Women of Ontario
  • Quarter Century Club
  • Royal Canadian Humane Association
  • Royal Canadian Institute for the Advancement of Science
  • Royal Canadian Legion (Ontario Command)
  • Royal Canadian Military Institute
  • Royal Canadian Sea Cadets/ Navy League Cadets
  • Royal Commonwealth Society
  • Royal Niagara Military Institute
  • Royal Ontario Museum
  • Schizophrenia Society of Ontario
  • Scouts Canada
  • Textile Museum of Canada
  • Toronto Children’s Chorus
  • Travellers’ Aid Society
  • Variety Village
  • Warriors’ Day Parade Council
  • Waterlution: A Water Learning Experience
  • Women’s Musical Club of Toronto

Ms. Dowdeswell has granted her patronage to the following special initiatives:

  • Wounded Warriors Canada Highway of Heroes Bike Ride (August 2016)
  • Greatness: The Great Lakes Project (launched in October 2016, ongoing)
  • The Toronto School: Then, Now, Next (October 2016)
  • Pollution Probe Gala (November 2016)
  • 104th Grey Cup Festival (November 2016)
  • UNCEDED: Voices of the Land, an initiative of the Douglas Cardinal Foundation for Indigenous Waldorf Education (May–November 2018)
  • Canadian Business Frontiers (November 2018)
  • Ontario Science Centre 50th anniversary celebrations (2019)

How to apply for patronage

The principles against which applications for viceregal patronage will be assessed include the following:

  • Non-discrimination
  • Political neutrality
  • No active controversy
  • Valid corporate existence
  • Demonstrated record of activity
  • Financial stability and responsibility
  • Connection with Ontario
  • Alignment with the Lieute​​​nant Governor’s role, responsibilities, and areas of focus

Grants of patronage are at the discretion of the Lieutenant Governor and expire at the end of each Lieutenant Governor’s mandate, and organizations and initiatives must re-apply upon the appointment of a successor. Patronage does not guarantee the Lieutenant Governor’s participation in events being held by host organizations or initiatives.

Patronage request form