President to visit four cities in Canada

Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga will visit Québec and Ontario on a weeklong tour of Canada, during which she also will meet with the Latvian community in Ottawa, the president’s press secretary has announced.

The president’s trip begins Sept. 20 in Québec City where she will meet with Canadian Governor General Michaëlle Jean and Québec Prime Minister Jean Charest. The president also is to be awarded Québec’s highest civilian honor.

On Sept. 21, Vīķe-Freiberga will visit Toronto, where she will speak at noon to the Empire Club of Canada in the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, 123 Queen St. W., Toronto. The title of the address will be “Multilateralism as the Response to the Contempory Challenges.” To reserve tickets, visit or telephone +1 (416) 364-2878.

In Toronto, the president also will participate in a business forum and meet with Ontario Gov. James K. Bartleman.

On Sept. 22 it’s back to the province of Québec on a visit to Montréal where the president will participate in another business forum, meet with Mayor Gérard Tremblay and attend a dinner hosted by University of Montréal Rector Luc Vinet.

In Ottawa on Sept. 24, Vīke-Freiberga is scheduled to attend a service in the Peace Latvian Ev.-Lutheran Church, 83 Main St., and at noon meet with members of the Latvian community.

The following day she is scheduled to present flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, meet with Speaker of the Senate Noël A. Kinsella and Speaker of the House of Commons Peter Milliken, and meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The president also will be presented an honorary doctorate at the University of Ottawa in a ceremony scheduled at 2:30 p.m., Tabaret Hall, Room 112, 550 Cumberland St., Ottawa. During the same ceremony, Professor Jérôme Doutriaux of the university’s School of Management will be awarded the Order of the Three Stars, Latvia’s highest civilian honor. A reception hosted by the Baltic Federation of Canada will follow the ceremony.

On the last day of her Canadian visit, Sept. 26, Vīķe-Freiberga is scheduled to attend a tree-planting ceremony at Government House in Ottawa.

Born in Latvia in 1937, Vīķe-Freiberga spent much of her adult life in Canada, arriving in the country in 1954. From 1965 to 1988, she was a professor of psychology at the University of Montréal. She returned to Latvia in 1998 to become head of the Latvian Institute, but in 1999 was elected to her first term as president.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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