After spending the first evening in the presence of actors and being totally star struck with their intelligence, energy and enthusiasm for their craft - despite the desperate scene of being a performer in Canada - I decided to "get over myself" regarding what to wear, to just relax, step back and enjoy.
This celebration of our Canadian arts and culture makes one realize how important "arts" are to our very existence. Whether it be dance, theatre, music of all genres, film or broadcasting, we are never made more aware of our own unique cultural treasures than at this celebration in the nation's capital.
This year's recipients were: Bryan Adams, Françoise Faucher, Walter Homburger, Édouard Lock, Robin Phillips, and Buffy Sainte-Marie for excellence in the performing arts. In addition, Mohammed and Yulanda Faris received the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin received the National Arts Centre Award.
The evening started by having dinner amongst true Canadian artistic greatness. Of course fiddleheads were served.
On our way to our spectacular seats, I had the remarkable opportunity to speak from my heart to the Governor General. I just wanted to tell her that I love her, and what she has done for my country, and that she must not leave. She despite all official protocol, beamed and took me in her arms. She later addressed the crowd most passionately about artists' power of hope and their ability to touch hearts.
At intermission, I honestly had the full attention of Michael Ignatieff, to whom I voiced my concern and not so humbly counseled to become more of a presence in the media.
To top it all off, most uncharacteristically, one of this year's recipients at this Gala evening actually performed for us. Well, Bryan Adams was really singing to me alone, "Straight from the Heart".
It was an evening of total magic. My wish came true this morning. On the front page of the Toronto Star, "Michael Ignatieff endorses an extended term for Michaëlle Jean".
Photographs by: Ashley Fraser, The Ottawa Citizen