Sunday, 12 April 2015

G does the GG Awards

Gloria Hickey and Gilles Latour in the greenhouse at Rideau Hall.

On April the 8th I had the good fortune to attend my first Governor General Awards ceremony.  I say first because I would love to do it again.  I had been invited because earlier on in the calendar I had been a juror for the Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in Craft.  This is the second time I have been a juror for that award.  Anyhow, Paul McClure the art jeweler was the worthy recipient of the award this year.  I am particularly pleased that he got it because, God willing, he has many creative years ahead of him.  I want fine craft to have a future and I think Paul will help make that happen.

When I first got the invitation to attend the GGs I was skeptical. "Is this going to be some stuffy, boring ceremony?" I asked myself.  It didn't come with a plane ticket or a budget, so if I wanted to make this happen it was going to come out of my pocket.  Luckily, a kind friend extended me hospitality and shelter so I decided to pay for the plane ticket.

His Excellency The Right Honourable David Johnston Governor General of Canada turned out to be a very warm man with an expansive personality.  I enjoyed speaking with him and he seemed genuinely interested to speak with everyone.  I was expecting some kind of formal greeting line where you are presented as in a wedding where everyone lines up to extend best wishes to the bride and groom.  That didn't happen.  There was very a surprising lack of formality to the whole event.  It was reserved for the actual presentation of the GG Awards and its recipients. 

Speaking of the awards ceremony, the recipients were confined to about 250 words for their acceptance speeches.  So that meant it moved at a pretty smart clip.  Within no time, we were chowing down a spectacular assortment of dishes and schoomzing with friends and industry colleagues.

I had fun chatting with film makers, painters, poets, potters and a spy or two.  Well, I mean guys who work for CSIS.

Paul at the bench - as in jeweller's.
Don't you think he does quizzical cat well?

It was also a blast chatting with the many men in uniform.  Red military uniforms with tall bear skin hats.  When I was dropped off at the door I took a minute to breathe some fresh air before the ceremony and talk with the door guards.  A quarter had been dropped by someone in the "driveway".  They were joking who would get to pick it up.  "Are you allowed to take tips?" I teased them.  Women's phone numbers it turns out were their favourite form of tipping.

The most memorable part of the evening for me was touring through the official residence and checking out the art collection.  It spanned decades and every imaginable medium.  I am happy to report that Canada's fine craft could be found in every room.  I was also very fond of the green house and the adjacent rooms off the pink and white ballroom that were filled with living plants.

The only part of the evening that I did not welcome was going home.  Oh well, time to pack away the diamonds and rubies (my own) for another year.
I told you there was a pink and white ballroom.
It reminded me of being back in England at Strawberry Fields.


  1. Hi Gloria. I got a special invite a number of years ago and had a very similar experience. When Adrienne Clarkson was there. The residence was completely open for us to walk around in and the art was great to see. The ceremony was also a minimal affair but the dinner was great as was the sharing that went on in that room that evening.

    1. I think of all of all the GGs we've had Adrienne was the most committed to the arts. I was thrilled when she picked two pieces out of the Michael Massie show that I curated for loan to Rideau Hall.

  2. Thank you for this post.
    Lovely to see you in your diamonds, rubies and green silk.

  3. That’s fabulous post! I am really impressed with these details. I attended a fun party at the local event halls for rent and it was so stylish. Everyone was looking classy. It was a Hollywood themed party and that’s the reason I too had worn a custom outfit from a designer. Overall, this bash turned out to be so enjoyable.