OTTAWA — Mary Simon will officially become Canada’s next governor general on July 26, the federal government announced Tuesday.
Simon will make history that day by becoming the first Indigenous person to be installed in the position, a milestone that has been noted around the world since her appointment was announced last week.
The government provided no detail Tuesday on what the ceremony will involve or where it will take place.
“The installation of a new governor general is a historic moment reflecting our constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy,” the Canadian Heritage department said in a short statement posted online.
“Ms. Mary Simon’s installation ceremony as the 30th governor general of Canada will take place on July 26, 2021. Other details on the ceremony will be released soon.”
Ahead of her installation, Simon is expected to meet with the Queen.
“Due to travel restrictions related to the global pandemic, Governor General Designate Mary Simon’s first audience with the Queen will be done virtually,” Josephine Laframboise said in an email.
“The date and time will be announced in due course.”
Simon replaces former astronaut Julie Payette, who resigned from the job nearly six months ago after a report into the working environment at Rideau Hall concluded she had presided over a toxic workplace.
Payette’s installation ceremony in 2017 was a lavish affair that the Ottawa Citizen later reported blew well past its $500,000 budget.
The ceremony itself was held in the Senate, but the day included receptions for 3,000 people, a CF-18 flypast and numerous musical performances.
Canadian Heritage said Tuesday that the ongoing public health situation will be kept in mind during planning for Simon’s installation.
“The Department of Canadian Heritage will ensure that the installation ceremony strictly adheres to public health protocols, including physical distancing and sanitizing measures, as well as limiting the number of participants and guests,” the department said.
Simon, 73, was born in the Nunavik region of northern Quebec.
She’s had a long career as an advocate for Inuit rights, and also served as Canada’s ambassador for circumpolar affairs, and to Denmark.
She called her appointment an important moment in history for the relationship between Canada and First Nations, Métis and Inuit people, and pledged to devote her time in office towards being a healing force in society.
“I believe strongly that if we embrace our common humanity and shared responsibility for one another, Canada’s brightest days are yet to come,” she said last week.
“I am dedicated to doing everything in my power to build and inspire that future.”