Northern Canada: Order of Yukon medal unveiled

The Commissioner of Yukon Angélique Bernard shows off the Order of Yukon medal. (Dave Croft/CBC)
The Order of Yukon medal was unveiled by the Commissioner of Yukon Angélique Bernard in Whitehorse Wednesday.

Established last year, it is the territory’s highest honour, said Bernard, with Yukon being the last territory or province to create one.

She said it will recognize people who make outstanding contributions to the development of the territory.

“We have so many wonderful volunteers in the community that don’t necessarily do it to get the recognition,” said Bernard.

“But the Order of Yukon will be the vessel to officially and publicly thank them for the work that they have done in building this territory.”

Commissioner first to receive medal

Bernard as commissioner gets the medal automatically. That will happen sometime in the fall, she said.

Then Bernard will present the first medals to members of the public at the annual Commissioner’s Levee on Jan. 1, 2020.

The commissioner also unveiled her own coat of arms.

It features two bears representing her surname derived from a Germanic word for strong bear and a parchment from her profession as a translator.

The coat of arms also has a raven, a crow and a wolf — all things that would be expected in Yukon — but there’s also a soccer ball.

Bernard says it represents her children.

Exhibit opens in Commissioner’s office

A new exhibit also opened in the upper floor of the Commissioner’s office.

It features furniture and mementos from the office of former commissioner Jim Smith.

Smith was commissioner from 1966 to 1976 when commissioners still had significant powers as Ottawa’s representatives in Yukon.

Marilyn Smith surrounded by furniture and memorabilia from her father Jim Smith’s office, including a portrait of him by famed Yukon painter Ted Harrison. (Dave Croft/CBC)

Smith played a big part in the creation of Kluane National Park and Reserve and the designation of the Chilkoot Trail as a national historic site, according to a Yukon government news release. He died in 2017.

Smith’s daughter, Marilyn Smith, loaned the items for the exhibit.

“I can just feel my dad’s presence in here, it’s exactly as he had it set up, his desk and that chairs, comfortable chairs for visitors,” she said.

“So many of the things that he has here, that are on the walls, are some of the memorabilia that was given to him over the years and different expressions of thanks, and symbols of different things that had happened during his career.”

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Nunavut educator Edna Agnes Ekhivalak Elias among appointments to Order of Canada, CBC News

Sweden: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg nominated for Nobel Peace Prize, Radio Sweden

United States: American science foundation awards $500,000 to food security research in Indigenous communities, Eye on the Arctic

Dave Croft, CBC News

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