Of late, the Royals have been drawing world-wide media attention. Once again, a joyful event: there is a new family member at Anmer Hall.
Making her first appearance on Saturday, May 2nd at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana weighed 8 pounds and three ounces. Heads were turning later in the day as little Prince George and parents took the wee lass home to Anmer.
Nothing can compete with “perfect” royal babies but in a modest way, the Queen’s representative for the Province of Manitoba has been turning a few heads in the course of his duties. His Honour the Honourable Philip S. Lee has been “celebrating” in an official capacity during the final weeks of his term in office.
On Manitoba Day, May 12, for instance, the LG presented five exemplary Manitobans with the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Historical Preservation and Promotion. Throngs of media were notably absent for the presentation of this much sought award, but the event raised a buzz on the heritage scene.
The LG’s heritage award, which has been honouring five recipients each year during his term, is one of three prestigious awards Lee has established since taking office in 2009. The other two gold medal events single out one recipient each year.
In 2010, Lee launched the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the Advancement of Inter-religious Understanding which honours an individual who best promotes dialogue between religious groups. In 2012 he established the Lieutenant Governor’s iCare Award to recognize a professional within the community who provides outstanding vision care.
Between the inauguration of the 2010 faith-based award and that of the 2012 vision care award, Lee agreed to establish an award which recognizes those who demonstrate life-long dedication to heritage in the province.
The concept was originally proposed by Gordon Goldsborough, Past President of the Manitoba Historical Society. The Lieutenant Governor instituted the Award for Historical Preservation and Promotion in collaboration with the Manitoba Historical Society (MHS).
A natural partner in the process of evaluating nominees, the MHS has its finger on the pulse of heritage achievement, so to speak.
Potential recipients are nominated for recognition of prolonged, meritorious service in the promotion and preservation of Manitoba’s history and heritage.
Each year, four of those awarded have been from rural Manitoba, one from Winnipeg. Between 2011 and 2015, 11 of the 25 recipients have been women.
Persons eligible for the award must model a sustained record of historical or heritage activity in Manitoba. The efforts may be in the arts, media, publications, historic sites, museums, archives, committee or community service, stewardship, public education, advocacy, and awareness.
Despite the rigor of the criteria, there is no wont of names submitted each year. The MHS received 19 nominations in 2015 which they reduced to five. The chosen Honourees of the Historical Preservation and Promotion Award at Government House on Manitoba Day were: Doreen Oliver, Selkirk; Lorna Feilberg Annell, Ste. Anne; Marc George, Brandon; Robert “Bob” Jorden, Morden; and Barry McPherson, Winnipeg.
During the ceremony, Lee told those gathered that, “History is an essential part of our civilization. It’s a kind of collective memory, but it’s something much more than memory. It’s a foundation. . . ”
The 71 year old Lee has served in the weighty position of Lieutenant Governor since August 2009. A recipient of the Order of Canada in 1999 and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, he will hand over his responsibilities to Janice Filmon on June 19. Filmon is the wife of former Manitoba Premier, Gary Filmon. She will become the 25th Lieutenant Governor since 1870 when the Honourable Sir Adam George Archibald was appointed.
Filmon is the second female to serve as Lieutenant Governor. In that regard, she will be following in the footsteps of Pearl McGonigal. McGonigal represented Her Majesty, the Queen in the Province of Manitoba from October 1981 to December 1986.
McGonigal established the LG’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration in 1986. Over the years, the award has been presented to notable Manitobans Wally Fox-Decent, 1991; Arnold Naimark, 2001; Bill Neville, 2002; and E.J.E. Szathmary in 2007.
Well liked during her five year term, McGonigal demonstrated poise and grace in her role as Lieutenant Governor. Like Philip S. Lee, she also managed to turn heads for the prestige she brought to the position. Not a perfect baby princess, but still a tough act to follow!