New Polar Medal Depicts St. Roch
On June 23, 2015, the Governor General announced the creation of the Polar Medal to celebrate Canada’s Northern heritage and give recognition to persons who render extraordinary services in the polar regions and Canada’s North. It will also honour those individuals who have withstood the rigours of the polar climate to make significant contributions to polar exploration and knowledge, scientific research, and the securement of Canada’s Northern sovereignty.
The depiction of RCMP Schooner St. Roch is of particular interest to the Canadian Nordic Society. The St. Roch started its expedition through the Northwest Passage 75 years ago under the command of Captain Henry Larsen. Henry Asbjørn Larsen was born in Norway in 1899 and immigrated to Canada in 1927. The St. Roch crossing under his command was only the second crossing of the Northwest Passage. The first had been made from east to west by Roald Amundsen, Larsen’s hero. The St. Roch expedition was the first crossing that went from west to east.
Henry Larsen’s daughter, Doreen Larsen Riedel, is a long-standing member of the Canadian Nordic Society.