The Governor General's Awards are awards presented by the Governor General of Canada, marking distinction in academic, artistic and social fields. The first was conceived in 1937 by Lord Tweedsmuir, who created the Governor General's Literary Award. Successive governors general have established awards for endeavours they personally found important. Adrienne Clarkson created 2 awards: in Visual and Media Arts, and in Architecture.

Governor General's Literary AwardsEdit

Since their creation in 1937, the Governor General's Literary Awards have become one of Canada's most prestigious prizes, awarded in both French and English in 7 categories: fiction, non-fiction, poetry , drama, children's literature (1 each for text and illustration), and translation. The awards were created by John Buchan, Lord Tweedsmuir, himself the author of The Thirty-Nine Steps. The awards first honored only 2 authors each year, and only those who wrote in English. Then, in 1957 the awards were put under the administration of the Canada Council for the Arts and a cash prize began to be awarded to the winner. By 1980, the council began to announce the finalists for the awards a month before they were presented in order to attract more media attention, and in 2007 the cash prize was increased to $25,000.

During her tenure from 1999 to 2005, Adrienne Clarkson made an effort to obtain for the governor general's study copies of every Governor General's Literary Awards winning book from fairs and second hand shops. As of 2004 there remained only 2 titles unrepresented.

Awards in Commemoration of the Persons CaseEdit

The Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case have been presented since their creation by Edward Schreyer in 1979,[1] and honor the promotion of equality for girls and women in Canada. 5 awards are given annually to candidates chosen from across the country, in addition to one award to a Canadian youth.[2] The awards are administered by Status of Women Canada, and may be presented to persons of either gender; in 2008, Ben Barry became the first man to win the award.[1]

Performing Arts Awards for Lifetime AchievementEdit

The Governor General's Performing Arts Awards for Lifetime Artistic Achievement are the foremost honours presented for excellence in the performing arts, in the categories of dance, classical music, popular music, film, and radio and television broadcasting. They were initiated in 1992 by then Governor General Ray Hnatyshyn. Winners receive $25,000 and a medal struck by the Royal Canadian Mint.[3] In addition, 2 complementary awards are given: the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts, recognising the voluntary services to the performing arts by an individual or group, and the National Arts Centre Award, which recognises an individual artist's or company's work during the past performance year. There is also a mentorship programme that connects award recipients with artists in their early to middle career.[3]

Awards in Visual and Media ArtsEdit

The Governor General's Awards in Visual Arts and Media Arts were first presented in 2000. The Canada Council for the Arts funds and administers the awards.

Six prizes are awarded annually to visual and media artists for distinguished career achievement in fine arts (painting, drawing, photography, print-making and sculpture, including installation and other three-dimensional work), applied arts (architecture and fine crafts), independent film and video, or audio and new media. One prize is awarded annually for outstanding contributions to the visual or media arts in a volunteer or professional capacity. The value of each award is $15,000. An independent peer jury of senior visual and media arts professionals selects the winners.

Governor General's Medals in ArchitectureEdit

The Governor General's Medals in Architecture have been presented since 2002, continuing the tradition of the Massey Medals, begun in 1950. Up to 12 medals are awarded every 2 years, with no distinction among the medals awarded. The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada administers the competition.


  • Governor General's Academic Medal
  • Governor General's Award for Safety in the Workplace
  • Governor General's Caring Canadian Award
  • Governor General's Award in Celebration of the Nation's Table[4]
  • Governor General's Conservation Award
  • Governor General's Fencing Award
  • Governor General's Flight For Freedom Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literacy
  • Governor General's International Award for Canadian Studies
  • Governor General's Northern Medal

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Status of Women Canada (31 December 2008). "The Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case > Past Recipients". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 23 April 2009. 
  2. Status of Women Canada (31 December 2008). "The Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case > Introductory Note". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 23 April 2009. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "The Awards". Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation. Retrieved 23 April 2009. 
  4. Office of the Governor General of Canada (23 June 2010). "Award in Celebration of the Nation's Table". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 

External linksEdit

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. (view article). (view authors).
This page uses content from Wikinfo . The original article was at Wikinfo:Governor General's Awards.
The list of authors can be seen in the (view authors). page history. The text of this Wikinfo article is available under the GNU Free Documentation License and the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.