2008 Symons Medallists:
The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada
Ian E. Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada
The sixth annual Symons Lecture on the State of Canadian Confederation took place at the Confederation Centre of the Arts on October 21, 2008. The 2008 Symons Medal was presented to The Right Honourable Beverly McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada and to Ian E. Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada.
Chief Justice McLachlin was born in Pincher Creek, Alberta, and attended the University of Alberta at Edmonton. She articled in Edmonton and practiced law in Edmonton, Fort St. John and Vancouver from 1968 to 1971. She taught at the Faculty of Law of the University of British Columbia from 1975 to 1981. In 1981 Chief Justice McLachlin was appointed to the County Court of Vancouver and elevated to the Supreme Court of British Columbia later that year and to the Court of Appeal of British Columbia in 1986. In 1988 she became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, where she served until her appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1989. On January 7, 2000, she became Chief Justice of Canada. Chief Justice McLachlin has authored numerous publications.
Ian Wilson served as National Archivist of Canada, 1999 to 2004, and then as head of the newly amalgamated Library and Archives Canada. He retired in 2009 and received the unusual honour of being named Librarian and Archivist of Canada Emeritus.
Wilson began his career as an archivist at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. His MA thesis was an analytical study of Canadian cultural policy as exemplified through the history of the national archives of Canada. He has served as University Archivist of Queen’s University (1970-76), Provincial Archivist of Saskatchewan (1976-86) and Provincial Archivist of Ontario (1986-99), with responsibility for the Ontario public library system for four years. In 1999 he was appointed as the 7th National Archivist of Canada. With the then National Librarian, Roch Carrier, he planned and led the amalgamation of the two institutions as Library and Archives Canada.
Wilson’s career spans many areas, including archival and information management, university teaching and government service. He has worked diligently to make archives accessible and interesting to a wide range of audiences. While helping to safeguard the integrity of archival records and library services, he has encouraged public involvement and outreach. He has published extensively on history, archives, heritage, and information management and has lectured nationally and internationally.