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    Canada Creates a Polar Medal

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    Polar Medal

    Governor General's Northern Medal

    The Polar Medal will celebrate Canada’s Northern heritage and recognize persons who render extraordinary services in the polar regions and Canada's North.

    As an official honour created by the Crown, the Polar Medal will be part of the Canadian Honours System. The program will incorporate and replace the Governor General’s Northern Medal, created in 2005 by then-Governor General the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson.

    The Chancellery of Honours, part of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, will administer the Polar Medal program.

    The call for nominations will start fall 2015.

    Eligibility criteria and nomination process

    The Polar Medal will recognize those who have contributed to or endeavoured to promote a greater understanding of Canada’s Northern communities and its people.

    It will also honour those individuals who have withstood the rigours of the polar climate to make significant contributions to polar exploration and knowledge, scientific research, and the securement of Canada’s Northern sovereignty.

    Any person or group will be able to submit a nomination of a person who is eligible to be awarded the Polar Medal. Submissions will be accepted throughout the year. Nominations will be received by the Chancellery of Honours and reviewed by an advisory committee, which will make recommendations to the governor general.

    Description of the medal

    The Polar Medal consists of a silver octagonal medal that is 36 mm in diameter with a suspension bar adorned with a representation of the North Star, with limbs evoking strong winds, water currents and the aurora borealis.

    The obverse depicts a contemporary effigy of the Sovereign, circumscribed with the inscription in capital letters of the Canadian Royal Title and the word “CANADA”, separated by two maple leaves. The edge of the obverse is decorated with small denticles. The reverse bears a representation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police schooner St. Roch depicted in the Arctic near a tall iceberg and two crew members standing on the ice. The medal is suspended from a watered white ribbon that is 32 mm in width. Each subsequent award of the Medal to the same person will be indicated by a bar, which will be in silver with raised edges and bear a centred silver maple leaf.

    Major Carl Gauthier, of the Directorate of Honours and Recognition section of the Department of National Defence, designed the medal and the Canadian Heraldic Authority completed the final artwork. The medal will be manufactured by the Royal Canadian Mint at their Ottawa facility.

    Full details can be found here: http://www.gg.ca/document.aspx?id=16120&lan=eng


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    Worked in the High Arctic Islands (Rea Point, Resolute Bay, Eureka, Pond Inlet) as an Inuit trainer for 3 1/2 years in the 1970's I wonder if I would be entitled to the Polar Medal?????

    Maybe I can get one of my old students to nominate me, still correspond with a few......



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    I received an answer from DH&R at NDHQ from none other than the award designer!

    Although military personnel can earn it, the Polar medal is essentially a civilian decoration that will in no way replace the ALERT or RANGER clasps to the SSM.

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    At the risk of bringing politics into this august forum, the current government  of Canada - which refers to itself publcily as 'the Harper government' is very eager to advance Canada's claims to Arctic sovreignty.  In fact, a frined on mine has been working on television ads known as 'Heritage Minutes', which encapsulate, allegedly, key moments in Canadian history.  One being filmed in May this year - just AFTER all our snow melted - focused on Franklin and other prominent 'Canadians' who explored or lived in the Arctic.

     The first draft of the script opened with Franklin sitting in his cabin aboard HMS Erebus poring over charts with severakl interested Inuit.  My fried, hired to vet the history, wrote on the script 'If he's done this he would not have died!' and  sent it back.  That scene did not appear in subsequent versions of the script.  [face palm] 

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