Symons Medal

Four former premiers honoured with the prestigious award

Confederation Centre of the Arts (CCOA) will award four former premiers with the prestigious Symons Medal this October to mark the 20th anniversary of the annual medal presentation and lecture.

The Symons Medal recognizes individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to Canadian life. Held annually, the medal presentation and its associated lecture offer a national platform for eminent Canadians to discuss the nation’s current state and prospects using themes related to their professional pursuits.

This year, the Symons Medal will be awarded to four former premiers; Christy Clark, 35th premier of British Columbia; Dr. Philippe Couillard, 31st premier of Quebec; Joseph Handley, 10th premier of the Northwest Territories; and Frank McKenna, 27th premier of New Brunswick and 20th Canadian Ambassador to the United States of America.

“Confederation Centre of the Arts is thrilled to present this award to four honourees from four distinct regions of Canada,” says Centre CEO Steve Bellamy. “Their time as premiers covers four decades of Canadian politics, from the 1980s through the 2010s, and their wealth of experiences from different sides of the political spectrum will make this a riveting event.”

The Symons Medal Lecture is typically delivered by one person, but this year’s event will feature a new format. Each medallist will give a short lecture and then join a panel discussion. 

The Symons Medal is named after the late Professor Thomas H.B. Symons, the founding president of Trent University and a long-time board member and supporter of Confederation Centre of the Arts. Symons was widely recognized for his work in the field of Canadian Studies, particularly in the areas of public policy, heritage, and education. 

Since 2004, the Centre has honoured 23 distinguished individuals with the Symons Medal, including environmental activist Dr. David Suzuki, broadcast journalist Shelagh Rogers, former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed, diplomat Bob Rae, and Governor General Mary Simon.

The 2024 Symons Medal Presentation and Lecture will take place at CCOA on October 15. Tickets will become available at a later date.