The Canadian government announced the creation of a new medal on Tuesday to honour people who’ve made a difference in Canada’s North.
Called the Polar Medal, the award will also recognize contributions to Arctic science and exploration.
“The creation of the Polar Medal emphasizes the importance that our country places on strengthening our understanding of and connection to the North,” said Canada’s Governor General, David Johnston in a news release.
“Recognizing the outstanding contributions made by those working and living there, which is not without challenges and risks, will make our Canadian Honours System more comprehensive and better able to celebrate the full breadth of Canadian achievement.”
The medal was designed by Major Carl Gauthier, of the Directorate of Honours and Recognition section of the Department of National Defence.
Queen Elizabeth II is depicted on one side. On the other side, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police schooner St. Roch, a boat that patrolled Canada’s Arctic in the early 20th century, is pictured in the North next to an iceberg.
The final artwork on the medal was done by the Canadian Heraldic Authority.
“I am delighted that we as a country, through the Canadian Honours System, will now publicly recognize outstanding contributions to the North, a vital part not only of our geography but of our collective identity and pride as Canadians,” said Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a statement after the design was released.
Nominations for the medal’s first recipients will take place this fall.
The first Polar Medals are expected to be awarded by the end of the year.
Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Canadian web documentary highlights Arctic science, Eye on the Arctic
Finland: Northern lights could be visible from southern Finland this weekend, Yle News
Norway: Norway’s polar satellite centre, Deutsche Welle’s Iceblogger
Sweden: Shrimp blast into space from Arctic Sweden, Radio Sweden
United States: Auroral research rocket blasts into space from Alaska range, Alaska Dispatch News