Home Confederation Centre of the Arts Announces 2019 Symons Medallist

Confederation Centre of the Arts Announces 2019 Symons Medallist

Senator Murray Sinclair to receive the 19th Symons Medal for exceptional contribution to Canadian life

(Charlottetown, P.E.I.) – Confederation Centre of the Arts announced today that the 2019 Symons Medal will be awarded to Senator Murray Sinclair on Friday, November 1 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

The Symons Medal is one of Canada’s most prestigious honours and recognizes an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to Canadian life. Awarded each fall, the Symons Medal Ceremony creates a national platform for a prominent Canadian to discuss the State of Canadian Confederation in the context of their life’s work and contribution.

Senator Murray Sinclair served the justice system in Manitoba for over 25 years. He was the second Indigenous Judge to be appointed in Canada and the first Indigenous Judge in Manitoba.

He served as Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in Manitoba and as Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). As Chair of the TRC, he participated in hundreds of hearings across Canada, culminating in the issuance of the TRC’s report in 2015. He also oversaw an active multi-million dollar fundraising program to support various TRC events and activities, and to allow survivors to travel to attend TRC events.

Senator Sinclair has been invited to speak throughout Canada and internationally. He served as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Manitoba. He was very active within his profession and his community and has won numerous awards including the Meritorious Service Cross (2017), a National Aboriginal Achievement Award (1994), a Lifetime Achievement Award (2017), the Manitoba Bar Association’s Equality Award (2001) and its Distinguished Service Award (2016) and has received Honorary Doctorates from eight Canadian universities. Senator Sinclair was appointed to the Senate on April 2, 2016.

The Symons Medal award is presented at Confederation Centre of the Arts—Canada’s living memorial to Canadian Confederation—in honour of the first meetings of the Fathers of Confederation, who gathered for the Charlottetown Conference in the fall of 1864. Since 2004, the Centre has honoured 18 distinguished Symons Medallists—see the full list below in addendum.

The 2019 Symons Medal Ceremony and Lecture will take place in the Homburg Theatre and will also be livestreamed on the Centre’s YouTube channel. Tickets for this important ceremony will be available via the Box Office at a later date. Stay tuned for further event updates on social media @confedcentre and via hashtag, #Symons2019.

About the Symons Medal: The Symons Medal was designed by Dora de Pedery-Hunt, CM, OOnt (1913 – 2008). The famed Canadian sculptor was inspired by the Jean Paul Lemieux 1964 painting Charlottetown Revisited.

About the Lecture: The Symons Medal and Lecture Series is named in honour of Professor Thomas H.B. Symons, a long-time supporter of Confederation Centre and a Board Governor. Professor Symons, the founding President of Trent University, is widely recognized for his work in the field of Canadian Studies, particularly within public policy, heritage, and education. Read more here.

Previous Symons Medallists: (reverse chronological order)

  • 2018 Dr. Margaret MacMillan, historian
  • 2017 The Right Honourable Prime Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
  • 2016 Antonine Maillet, novelist and playwright
  • 2015 Paul Gross, actor, writer, director
  • 2014 Stephen Lewis, politician, human rights activist, UN Special Envoy
  • 2014 His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales
  • 2013 The Right Honourable Paul Martin
  • 2012 Dr. David Suzuki
  • 2011 Dr. Ivan Fellegi, former Chief Statistician of Canada
  • 2010 The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada
  • 2009 Mary Simon, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, national Inuit organization
  • 2008 The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada
  • 2008 Dr. Ian E. Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada
  • 2007 The Honourable John Crosbie
  • 2007 The Honourable Peter Lougheed
  • 2006 Mark Starowicz, producer and journalist
  • 2005 The Honourable Roy McMurtry, Chief Justice of Ontario
  • 2004 The Honourable Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec