OTTAWA—In celebration of National Volunteer Week, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, presented the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers to 41 individuals on Tues., April 17 during a ceremony at Rideau Hall.

The Medal for Volunteers recognizes the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country in a wide range of fields. As an official Canadian honour, it also pays tribute to the dedication and exemplary commitment of volunteers.

François Marion of Marionville was one of this year’s recipients. For 10 years, Marion has served as board president of the Villa d’Accueil Sainte-Thérèse de Marionville, where he has led building enhancement projects and helped organize social events. Since 2011, he has also led a multi-community citizens’ committee that promotes the interests of residents.

The Medal for Volunteers consists of a silver circular medal that is 36 mm in diameter with a suspension ring. 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 reverse indicates the ideas of caring and generosity, represented by two interlaced hearts. The sunburst pattern of the rim symbolizes the time that volunteers are giving and their actions. The ribbon uses the viceregal colours of blue and gold. The five gold stripes evoke the fingers of a hand, present in the Caring Canadian Award emblem, while the deep red colour is associated with royalty.

The design of the medal was created by the Canadian Heraldic Authority, based on a concept by Darcy DeMarsico of the Chancellery of Honours. The medal is manufactured by the Royal Canadian Mint at its Ottawa facility.

The Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award was created in 1995 by the Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc to recognize the unsung heroes who volunteer their time, their efforts and a great deal of their lives to helping others, and who ask for nothing in return. The program was replaced by the Medal for Volunteers in 2016.