Their Excellencies to Visit Vancouver

OTTAWA, Sept. 16, 2015 /CNW/ - Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston will visit Vancouver on September 18 and 19, 2015.

On both days, His Excellency will attend the Canadian Ditchley Foundation and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada Conference to facilitate open dialogue on Asia's economic and political global impact. During this time, Her Excellency will visit various organizations that help marginalized people such as homeless youth, recovering addicts or persons living with mental illness. Her Excellency will also attend a performance at the Green Thumb Theatre which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Timings indicated are in local time zone (Pacific Daylight Time – UTC/GMT -8 hours). 

Friday, September 18

3:15 p.m.
Visit to Covenant House Vancouver
Her Excellency will meet with youth aged 16 to 24 who are living, or who are at risk of living, on Vancouver's streets, and will hear about how Covenant House helps many homeless youth rebuild their lives.

Every day, in 21 cities across Canada, the U.S., and Latin America, Covenant House outreach workers canvass the most dangerous neighborhoods in search of homeless kids. Armed with calling cards, sandwiches, drinks, and cold-weather necessities, the outreach teams make contact with as many homeless youth as possible. Last year, Covenant House Vancouver served 1 363 youth. For more information, visit

4:30 p.m.
Canadian Ditchley Foundation and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (AFP Canada) Conference
His Excellency will attend and facilitate two plenary sessions on Asia's economic, political, trade, investment and international challenges.

The Ditchley Foundation's purpose is to further the education and understanding of Britons and North Americans. Its conferences aim at improving policy approaches and problem-solving on complex issues of international concern. The Foundation facilitates more precise policy-making, a greater understanding of global issues, and more effective operational diplomacy.

APF Canada is a not-for-profit organization focused on Canada's relations with Asia. Its mission is to be Canada's catalyst for engagement with Asia and Asia's bridge to Canada. It does this by partnering with both the private and public sectors.

Saturday, September 19

8:30 a.m.
Canadian Ditchley Foundation and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada Conference
His Excellency will facilitate another plenary session and will meet with various working groups to discuss the conference's general terms of reference, among other topics.

8:45 a.m.
Visit to East Van Roasters Coffee Shop and Bakery
Her Excellency will visit the East Van Roasters coffee shop, a social enterprise program that provides women living in the Downtown Eastside with the opportunity to engage in meaningful employment while simultaneously building a stronger community. Mrs. Johnston will meet with employees and participate in cracking and winnowing cocoa beans. Following the visit at the coffee shop, she will launch the new East Van Roasters Bakery Program, which will open to the public this fall.

East Van Roasters is the newest social enterprise to come out of the PHS Community Services Society. Designed to provide training and employment to women residing the Rainier Hotel, East Van Roasters creates organic 'bean-to-bar' chocolate as well as coffee that is roasted and prepared on-site. For information, visit
319 Carrall Street (in the Rainier Hotel), Vancouver
MEDIA CONTACT: Shelley Bolton, 604-779-0452,

10:45 a.m.
Visit to Green Thumb Theatre
Her Excellency will meet with Patrick McDonald, Artistic Director of Green Thumb Theatre, to learn about its plays and its impact on schools. Following the presentation, she will attend a performance and meet with students and educators from a number of local schools that have benefited from the theatre's work with young people.

Founded in 1975, Green Thumb Theatre develops original Canadian plays for young audiences, and is one of Canada's leading theatre companies for young people. They produce plays that explore social issues relevant to the lives of children, youth and young adults including bullying, substance abuse, self-esteem, mental health, AIDS awareness and illiteracy. For information, visit 5522 McKinnon Street, Vancouver
MEDIA CONTACT: Michele Frazer, 604-254-4055,  

2 p.m.
Visit to the Bloom Group
Her Excellency will receive an overview of the organization and hear from some of the residents and tenants, including youth enrolled in the BladeRunners program.

The Bloom Group provides 84 shelter beds to women and children, and 294 housing units to residents on fixed or low incomes who are at risk of homelessness. Its integrated services include supportive housing for people with addictions or chronic mental or physical health conditions, or who require hospice care. Affordable housing is also available to Downtown Eastside residents who live independently and do not require the same support services.

3:30 p.m.
Stand Up for Mental Health (SMH) Comedy Class
Her Excellency will attend a comedy class that teaches participants with mental illnesses how to work as a team to create a successful stand-up comedy act.

7 p.m.
SMH Comedy Show
Her Excellency will attend a stand-up comedy show. Following the show, she will meet with the comedians and the founder of SMH.

The SMH Comedy Society is a non-profit organization that runs SMH programs in the Vancouver area, in which people with mental health issues are taught stand-up comedy as a form of therapy. They then perform their acts for the community as a way of addressing the stigma, discrimination and prejudice surrounding mental illness. SMH was founded by award-winning stand-up comic, counselor, author and speaker David Granirer, who also lives with depression. The society does approximately 20 shows a year in the Vancouver area for a variety of different organizations. For information, visit
Gallery Gachet 88 East Cordova Street
MEDIA CONTACT: David Granirer, Founder, Stand Up For Mental Health, 604-205-9242, 

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SOURCE Governor General

For further information: Dominique Collin, Rideau Hall Press Office, 613-993-2569,

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