The Commissioner of the Yukon has released the design of the Order of Yukon medal, her own personal coat of arms and a new exhibit at Taylor
Commissioner Angélique Bernard released the designs and the exhibit at a press conference held outside Taylor House on Wednesday afternoon.
The Order of Yukon will be the highest honour in the territory. It will be similar to orders awarded in other provinces and territories.
It recognizes Yukoners who demonstrated high achievement and excellence as well as contributed to the territory’s society.
This order is now part of the Canadian Order of Precedence, Orders, Decorations and Medals.
The first Order of Yukon ceremony will take place at the 2020 Commissioner’s New Year’s Levy. At that time, the first Yukoners will be chosen as members of the Order.
Bernard unveiled some concept art as well as a medallion of the Order. The band has the tri-colour of the Yukon flag. Fireweed and the Yukon Coat of
Arms are also represented.
Her personal Coat of Arms was unveiled in Ottawa in early June at the annual meeting with the Governor General, lieutenant-governors and
Bernard’s coat of arms includes a soccer ball. She asked her children about it, and that led to the ball, as it represents outdoor activities with her family.
A raven, the territory’s official bird, is incorporated into the design.
Her French, Irish and Italian background as well as her husband’s Polish and Ukrainian background are also incorporated.
The support on the coat of arms was the easiest thing for her: she chose two bears. One is a brown bear and the other a grizzly. This is because the
name Bernard means “strong bear”.
The shield represents Bernard’s work as a translator, as well as volunteer involvement in the francophone artistic communities.
Her motto is in French, which, when translated, means “open to all possibilities”.
“I like to say to people, ‘when I first came here, for four months, 24 years ago, I had no idea that I would become the commissioner,’” Bernard said.
“Anything is possible in the Yukon if you put your mind to it and do something.”
The Yukon is the last jurisdiction to get its own Order.
The new exhibit is located on the second floor of the Taylor House, which is on Main Street near Sixth Avenue.
It offers insight into the term served by previous commissioner James Smith from Oct. 15, 1966 to June 30, 1976. It shows the evolution of the role of
Bernard felt the second-floor space is a nice area, and that something should be done with it.
Smith’s daughter, Marilyn, had an idea on how to use it and honour his legacy.
Smith explained the exhibit came about when her family was looking for a place to keep her dad’s desk. He worked at that desk for 50 years, including
his time as commissioner.
When he retired, the desk was given to him as a gift. He used it for another 10 years as chair of the Northern Canada Power Commission, which was
in charge of power development in all of northern Canada.
When he retired from the commission, he took the desk, and it became a centrepiece in his home office.
“The vision I have of my father is him sitting behind the desk, and I think of all the incredible conversations that had taken place,” Smith said.
She believes the desk was in the now-demolished Federal Building, corner Main Street and Fourth Avenue, when the territorial government capital
was moved from Dawson City to Whitehorse in 1953.
“It really saw the evolution of government,” she said.
She thought it would make a great display in the Taylor House, which is visited by many people. People want to know about the building and what the
She thinks this is something all Yukoners should be proud of.