The Governor General's Awards are a collection of awards presented by the Governor General of Canada, marking distinction in a number of academic, artistic and social fields. The first was conceived in 1937 by the Lord Tweedsmuir, a prolific author of fiction and non-fiction who created the Governor General's Literary Award. Successive governors general have followed suit, establishing an award for whichever endeavour they personally found important. Only Adrienne Clarkson created two Governor General Awards—the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts and the Governor General's Medal in Architecture (though this was effectively a continuation of the Massey Medal, first established in 1950).
Governor General's Literary Awards 
For lists of winners in each category of the Governor General's Literary Awards, click "show" above
Since their creation in 1937, the Governor General's Literary Awards have become one of Canada's most prestigious prizes, awarded in both French and English in seven categories: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, children's literature (one each for text and illustration), and translation. The awards were created by John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, himself the author of The Thirty-Nine Steps. The awards first honoured only two authors each year, and only those who wrote in English. Then, in 1957 the awards were put under the administration of the Canada Council for the Arts and a cash prize began to be awarded to the winner. By 1980, the council began to announce the finalists for the awards a month before they were presented in order to attract more media attention, and in 2007 the cash prize was increased to $25,000.
During her tenure from 1999 to 2005, Adrienne Clarkson made an effort to obtain copies of every Governor General's Literary Awards winning book from fairs and second hand shops for the governor general's study. As of 2005, the library at Rideau Hall had amassed a complete collection of the winning books to date.
Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case 
The Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case have been presented since their creation by Edward Schreyer in 1979, and honour the promotion of equality for girls and women in Canada. Five awards are given annually to candidates chosen from across the country, in addition to one award to a Canadian youth. The awards are administered by Status of Women Canada, and may be presented to persons of either gender; Ben Barry became the first man to win the award when he was presented it in 2008.
Governor General's Performing Arts Awards 
The Governor General's Performing Arts Awards are the foremost honours presented for excellence in the performing arts, in the categories of dance, classical music, popular music, film, and broadcasting. They were initiated in 1992 by then Governor General Ray Hnatyshyn and the first recipient was Gweneth Lloyd, co-founder of Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Initially, the award came with a $15,000 bursary - today's winners receive $25,000 and a medal struck by the Royal Canadian Mint. In addition, two complementary awards are given: The Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts, recognizing the voluntary services to the performing arts by an individual or group, and the National Arts Centre Award, which recognizes an individual artist's or company's work during the past performance year. There is also a mentorship program that connects award recipients with artists in their early to mid-career. Since 2008, the National Film Board of Canada has produced short films about each of the laureates, which are screened at the awards ceremony and streamed online.
Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts 
The Governor General's Awards in Visual Arts and Media Arts were first presented in 2000. The Canada Council for the Arts funds and administers the awards.
Six prizes are awarded annually to visual and media artists for distinguished career achievement in fine arts (painting, drawing, photography, print-making and sculpture, including installation and other three-dimensional work), applied arts (architecture and fine crafts), independent film and video, or audio and new media. One prize is awarded annually for outstanding contributions to the visual or media arts in a volunteer or professional capacity. The value of each award is $15,000. An independent peer jury of senior visual and media arts professionals selects the winners.
Governor General's Medals in Architecture 
The Governor General's Medals in Architecture have been presented since 2002, continuing the tradition of the Massey Medals, begun in 1950. Up to twelve medals are awarded every two years, with no distinction among the medals awarded. The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada administers the competition.
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