Governor General Julie Payette, accompanied by Sgt. Andrea Fischer, patrol commander, talks to quarter guard rangers as she makes her way into the main administrative building of the legislature in Whitehorse on Nov. 29. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Governor General Julie Payette visits the Yukon

She called the occasion an “enormous honour”

Julie Payette visited the Yukon for the first time as Governor General this week.

She was welcomed to Whitehorse on Nov. 29 by Commissioner of Yukon Angélique Bernard, Premier Sandy Silver and other dignitaries like Mayor Dan Curtis.

A quarter guard congregated outside the main administrative building of the legislature, where they honoured Payette. She could be seen speaking with each ranger, all of whom are either part of the Dawson City or Whitehorse patrol.

As she made her way down the line, Payette, at one point, asked for birch syrup from one ranger, who has a sugar shack, said Sgt. Andrea Fischer, patrol commander of the quarter guard.

“We’re gonna give her a bottle of the syrup that she requested,” she said.

Payette’s itinerary included a photo-op in the morning at the Taylor House, followed by a stop at the legislative assembly, where members of the public gathered, then a visit to Yukon College in the afternoon to learn about the school’s research on northern affairs.

It’s not the first time Payette has been to the Yukon. She visited when she was an astronaut.

Indeed, while posing for a selflie, an onlooker told Payette it was the closet he had come to outer space.

Speaking with reporters before she went in for a closed-door meeting with Silver, she said it is an “enormous honour” to visit the territory as Governor General.

“Today, because it’s the first visit, there’s a bit more protocol, but the next visit I hope to be out there, everywhere, where the Yukon is the Yukon, with people in the field,” she said.

“As Governor General, we represent the entire country, we crisscross the country.”

Asked what she and Silver will be speaking about, Payette said they are to discuss the opportunities and challenges the Yukon is facing, along with the premier’s priorities.

“Very impressed by the way that the governments of First Nation(s) and the government of the Yukon are working together,” she said. “We’re going to talk about that, I’m sure.”

Payette said she went for a jog on the boardwalk skirting the Yukon River before the ceremonial circuit began.

“I could see how you have, as a people, taken, really, the outdoors, the nature, which makes this place so beautiful, and acquired it, as well, in an urban area. I was fascinated.”

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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