Toronto Star

Governor General lands in Germany for state visit

- MIKE BLANCHFIEL­D

Gov. Gen. Mary May Simon arrived Sunday in Berlin to begin her first internatio­nal visit on behalf of Canada in the German capital.

May Simon’s four-day state visit will include a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel, and she will represent Canada at the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair.

“Canada and Germany have long been allies and friends. A state visit highlights our shared values and strong ties, and also helps support Canadian industries that have been hard hit during this pandemic,” Rideau Hall said Sunday.

In Berlin, May Simon is to visit the Humboldt Forum, which houses numerous Canadian artifacts, including two Indigenous totem poles from the West Coast.

In Frankfurt, she will attend the book fair, which is featuring Canada as the guest of honour this year. May Simon is travelling with an entourage that includes Canada’s new parliament­ary poet laureate, writer Louise Bernice Halfe, who is also known by the Cree name Sky Dancer, writer Kim Thúy, Lisa Koperqualu­k, the vice-president of internatio­nal affairs for Inuit Circumpola­r Council Canada, and May Simon’s husband, former journalist Whit Fraser.

May Simon will also take part in a virtual event with Canadian writer Margaret Atwood.

The Governor General will also attend a roundtable discussion about Arctic exploratio­n, which will be held at the Frankfurt Archaeolog­ical Museum.

The internatio­nal visit comes a week after May Simon’s first formal public appearance in Ottawa, which was at a homeless shelter.

May Simon and Fraser spent an hour at the Ottawa Mission, meeting staff and volunteers and handing out hot meals.

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