By David Johnston, Governor General of Canada
(OTTAWA, ON) – The roots of Commonwealth Day are firmly planted in Canadian soil: in 1894, the Royal Colonial Society suggested ‘Empire Day’ be celebrated across the country. This national occasion was so well-received, other countries took up the banner. In 1975, it was again Canada that proposed a “simultaneously observed Commonwealth Day”—a proposal enthusiastically embraced by all Commonwealth countries.
Fifty-four member nations throughout the world now observe Commonwealth Day. The theme for 2012, Connecting Cultures, is about sharing our traditions and customs with one another. In a world where our means of communication have become lightning-fast, humanity must learn to see beyond borders and beneath the veneer of appearance to discover how much we truly have in common.
In keeping with this theme, it is fitting that 2012 also marks the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne. As the head of the Commonwealth, she has served its member nations with dignity and grace for 60 years.
It gives me great pleasure to join with all Canadians in celebrating this Commonwealth Day; I wish all of you good health, prosperity and peace.