Home Confederation Centre of the Arts Announces 2020 Symons Medallist

Confederation Centre of the Arts Announces 2020 Symons Medallist

-Bob Rae to receive the 20th Symons Medal for exceptional contribution to Canadian life-

Confederation Centre of the Arts announced today that the 2020 Symons Medal will be awarded to Mr. Bob Rae, P.C., C.C., O.Ont, Q.C. on Friday, October 30 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

The Symons Medal—one of Canada’s most prestigious honours—recognizes an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to Canadian life. Held each fall, the medal ceremony and its associated lecture offer a national platform for an eminent Canadian to discuss the nation’s current state, shared histories, and future prospects using themes related to their professional pursuits.

The award is presented at Confederation Centre of the Arts—Canada’s living monument to Canadian Confederation—in honour of the meetings of the Fathers of Confederation, who first gathered at Province House National Historic Site in the fall of 1864.

“On behalf of Professor Thomas H.B. Symons, for whom this lecture is named, and Confederation Centre CEO Steve Bellamy, we are elated to announce Mr. Bob Rae as the 2020 Recipient of the Symons Medal,” says Chair of the Fathers of Confederation Buildings Trust, Robert Sear.

“Mr. Rae is the 20th Medallist in this series, following a formidable line of recipients such as the Right Honourable Senator Murray Sinclair, the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, and Professor Margaret MacMillan. We look forward to welcoming Mr. Rae to Charlottetown to share his unique perspective on the evolving State of Canada and its nationhood.”

In July 2020, Bob Rae was appointed Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Prior to this appointment, he served as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Humanitarian and Refugee Issues. He was also Senior Counsel at Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP, a law firm that focuses on indigenous issues, and taught at the University of Toronto as a Professor of Public Policy in the Munk School, the Faculty of Law and Victoria College.

Elected 11 times to the House of Commons and the Legislature of Ontario, Mr. Rae served as Ontario’s 21st Premier as well as Interim Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. He is the author of five books and three government reports, most recently on the Rohingya Refugee crisis, where he has served as Special Envoy for the Government of Canada.

Mr. Rae is a Companion of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Ontario, a Privy Councillor, and a Queen’s Counsel.  He is a Senior Fellow of Massey College and of the Forum of Federations, an international NGO, which he co-founded in 1998. He received a Lifetime Parliamentary Achievement Award in 2018 and has received many other honours in Canada and internationally. He lives in Toronto with wife Arlene Perly Rae; they have three children and five grandchildren.

The 2020 Ceremony will take place in the Homburg Theatre at Confederation Centre and will also be live-streamed. In the event of any continued limitations around public gatherings this fall, the Centre will announce updates regarding the expanded use of the live-stream.

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, #Symons2020.

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. Read more here.

Symons Medallists: Since 2004, the Centre has honoured 19 distinguished Symons Medallists:

  • 2019 Senator Murray Sinclair, Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • 2018 Dr. Margaret MacMillan, historian
  • 2017 The Right Honourable 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