Home Town or Home Community:

Rhein Wroxton

Our Story:

THE STORY of Theodore and Annie (Romaniuk) FEDORUK & daughter THE HON. SYLVIA OLGA FEDORUK, O.C.,S.O.M.,D.St.J.,B.A.,M.A.,D.Sc.,LL.D.,D.HUM.L.,F.C.C.P.M.

THEODORE (TED) FEDORUK (1898-1977) was born in the village of Hawrylowtsi, Bukovina, Austria and was the son of Alexander and Martha (nee Boychuk) Fedoruk. He came to Canada in 1899 where his parents homesteaded in the Rhein ,Sask. district. He received his education from the Yorkton Collegiate, and later the Saskatoon Normal School. He began teaching in 1919 and continued his career teaching in schools in rural areas near Yorkton until 1942 when he was employed in industry in Windsor, Ontario. He returned to Saskatchewan in 1946 and resumed his teaching in rural schools of our province. He taught at the following rural schools: Federhill, West Skalat, Krasney, Bridok, Lysenko, Chaucer, Scotland, Kitsman, Ebenezer, Fonehill, Okno, Phoenix, and Rivington.

ANNIE (ANN) FEDORUK (1907-1968) was born on the family farm in the Hamton district, north east of Yorkton and was the eldest daughter of John D. and Nastasia (nee Ternowetski) Romaniuk. She attended Mennofeldt, a rural school near the family farm until she was old enough to be taken out of school to help her mother with the chores on the family farm.

TED AND ANN were married on June 22nd, 1924 in Donwell, Sask. and their only child, SYLVIA OLGA was born in Canora, Sask. on May 5, 1927.


SYLVIA received her public school education at Chaucer and Scotland schools located near the town of Wroxton, east of Yorkton. Her father was her teacher for all of her public school years and she completed her grade nine by correspondence (instead of studying French she elected to take typing as one of her subjects). Exciting times for Sylvia and her fellow students during the public school years were the annual Christmas concerts, the annual softball competitions with the neighbouring schools, and the yearly sports day when all students paraded through the town carrying their school banners. For the concerts, Ted was concert master (he played the violin) and directed the program while Ann designed the costumes and was the choreographer. For the softball competitions, Ted and Ann loaded the children into the family car and drove to neighbouring schools where Ted would share umpire duties and Ann would be the scorekeeper and coach.

The most exciting event for the family occurred in May 1939 when the entire school traveled by truck to see King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on their brief stop in Melville, Sask. during their tour of Canada. During the ride back home that night most of the children fell asleep and little did Sylvia realize in her happy dream that she would someday represent their daughter as Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan.

Salaries for teachers in Saskatchewan were very low during the 1930’s and Ted seized an opportunity to work as a welder in a factory in during the war. In 1942, the family moved to Windsor, Ontario where both father and mother worked in factories and Sylvia attended Walkerville Collegiate.

It was the influence of her parents, her high school English teacher, Ms.Ruth McLaren, and a first year University professor, Dr. Harold E. Johns, that has guided Sylvia along the academic path she has traveled.

Her mother felt cheated that she had been taken out of school when she was in grade seven. Now with a good family income for the two working parents, she decided that Sylvia should one day attend University. When Sylvia came home from the Collegiate on registration day and announced that she was put into the commercial class (10F) her mother was very upset. The next morning, instead of going to work she marched off to the school with Sylvia in tow to see the Principal. When the smoke had cleared that morning, Sylvia was enrolled in Grade nine and Grade ten French and was now on stream to garner a senior matriculation which would allow her entrance to a University education. In grade eleven, Miss McLaren told her she was never going to be an author or a poet and she should consider a career in science. Sylvia ended up being the top female graduate of Walkerville in 1946 receiving a Dominion of Canada entrance scholarship of $400 and being presented the Ernest J. Creed Memorial medal as the most outstanding female student .

During the four years at Walkerville, Sylvia participated in intercollegiate basketball, volleyball, track and field, school politics (was Vice Chair of Student Council), and sang in the school choir. She also played softball for several city teams and in the summer of 1946, she played first base for the Windsor Esquires in the Michigan-Ontario softball league.


The war was over and Sylvia moved back to Saskatchewan with her parents with tears in her eyes. She had hoped to study at the University of Toronto but instead enrolled in Type C Arts and Science at the University of Saskatchewan in 1946 (69 men and herself in the first year calculus class). Her first year physics teacher was Harold Johns (every demonstration in class was going to be some kind of an adventure – some things would go right – mostly things would go wrong). By Christmas, Professor Johns invited Sylvia to his house for lunch where he and Mrs. Johns talked about the whole new exciting field of medical physics and how great it would be for a woman to be involved. Sylvia’s whole career path was decided her first winter at university and she credits the influence of Dr. Johns, her mentor, for her opportunities.

Sylvia received her B.A. with Great Distinction in 1949, her B.A.with High Honors in Physics in 1950, and her M.A. in 1951. In 1949, she awarded the Governor General’s Gold Medal as the University’s most outstanding graduate; the Copeland Scholarship as the most outstanding Graduate in the College of Arts and Science; the Physics Bursary; and the Spirit of Youth trophy as the most outstanding female graduate.

During her undergraduate and graduate years at the University of Saskatchewan, she received six other scholarships including first and second year Arts and Science and the Alpha Omega scholarship. Her extra-curricular activities included serving on the Women’s Athletic Board (one year as President), the Student’s Representative Council, and was on the staff of the student newspaper the Sheaf (coed sports editor).

She was also very active in student athletics which included:

Member of 12 intervarsity championship teams-University of Saskatchewan

Huskiette basketball- 5 times winners Cecil Race Trophy 46-47;47-48; 48-49 (Co-Captain); 49-50 (Co-Captain); 50-51 (Co-Captain)

Huskiette Track and Field- 2 times winners Rutherford Trophy 1946 (individual high scorer) and 1947 (tied with Pat Lawson for individual high scorer)

Huskiette Volleyball- 3 times winners of the Landa Trophy 1948-49; 1949-50; 1950-51

Huskiette Golf- Birks Trophy 1949-50; 1950-51(Individual Low Score)

Goalie of Huskiette Hockey Team which played in a League consisting of Regina, Moose Jaw, Birch Hills, and Saskatoon 1947-48

Winner of Four Medals at the Dominion Track and Field Championships 1947: Javelin (gold); Softball Throw (gold); Shot Put (silver); and Discus (bronze) and Winner of the T. Eaton Trophy for Senior Women (Individual High Point Total)

Member of four provincial ladies basketball championship teams and three provincial softball championship teams.

Winner of Minor and Major Athletic Awards, University of Saskatchewan

Winner of Minor, Major and Honor Athletic Awards, WASA College of Arts and Science, University of Saskatchewan

Member of Gradettes Basketball Team-Finalists Western Canada Playdowns 1952

Winner of the Spirit of Youth Trophy, University of Saskatchewan 1949

President of W.A.B. 1949, member of PKD Council, Students’ Representative Council, Sheaf Editorial Staff.

Coach of Huskiette Volleyball Team (2 years) and Huskiette Curling Team (2 years)


By the time Sylvia was ready to enter graduate school, the Cobalt 60-unit was being developed in Saskatoon under Harold Johns and his graduate students Lloyd Bates, Doug Cormack, Ed Epp and Sylvia. Their paper entitled “1000 Curie Co60 units for radiation therapy” was published in Nature, 168, 1035, 1951. This first scientific paper on cobalt teletherapy was also co-authored by three former University of Saskatchewan graduates, Adair Morrison, Bill Dixon, and Cy Garrett of the National Research of Canada who were reporting on their measurements on a cobalt unit being developed for the Eldorado Mining and Smelting Corporation. Sylvia’s part was to the dosimetry and depth dose measurements. She remembers the time when she and Ed Epp spent almost an entire summer performing depth dose measurements for an x-ray therapy unit. The students were very proud of their results and presented them to Harold Johns for review. Next morning, the students were astounded to find their results from their summer’s work in the trash can. Johns exclaimed “it just doesn’t make sense- I can’t understand why all this data is so inconsistent”. This led to the development of the electronics and a redesigned measurement probe which was used to produce the correct depth dose data for cobalt-60 radiotherapy units. Commercial equipment was so bad at the time that things often had to be built in-house.

On September 1, 1951 Sylvia began employment with the Saskatchewan Cancer Commission as Assistant Physicist to Dr. Johns who, on a part time basis, provided physics services to the Saskatoon Cancer Clinic and the Alan Blair Memorial Cancer Clinic in Regina. She was the first full-time physicist in the cancer program and remained with the Commission (later became the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency) until her retirement in October 1986. In 1956, Dr. Johns left Saskatchewan to head a newly formed physics department at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto and Sylvia was named Physicist and eventually became Director of Physics Services for the two Cancer Clinics in 1975. In addition to her Commission appointments, Sylvia was a member of the Department of Therapeutic Radiology in the College of Medicine holding academic rankings which rose from that of Lecturer to Professor of Radiation Oncology. Upon her retirement in 1986, she was honored by the University by being named Professor Emeritus.

In 1952, Sylvia received a $1000.00 travelling fellowship from the Saskatchewan Division of the Canadian Cancer Society to visit several cancer clinics and research centers in the United States. During November and December of 1962, she visited centers in Chicago, Detroit, Boston, New York, Washington DC, Oak Ridge, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and San Francisco. It was a most exciting and informative tour because of the warm welcome that she received at each of these centers. The Saskatchewan cancer program was well known to the physicians and physicists at these centers and they were most anxious to learn about the radiation therapy involving the betatron and the cobalt unit being carried out in Saskatoon.

During this trip, the stop in Cincinnati provided Sylvia with an opportunity to attend her first International scientific meeting-the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. The meeting opened her eyes to the use of radioactive compounds in the diagnosis of disease. (The medical specialty of Nuclear Medicine was in its infancy.)

Sylvia was very careful with her expenditures during the tour. She traveled by rail, and by staying in a number of YWCA hostels and not splurging on food, the total cost for the two month tour in 1952 was $1007.05 (rail 403.80, hotel 238.25 and meals 365.00).

In the early 1950’s nuclear medicine was in its infancy, radioactive iodine and gold were starting to be used in therapy, and clinical scanning techniques were being developed. The physics group in Saskatoon managed to acquire a Reed-Curtis scintillation scanner from a Chicago company which they were quick to modify into a more sensitive photo-scanning device able to produce radiographic images of radioactivity in the thyroid and liver. Following the arrival of a young graduate student from Great Britain, Trevor Cradduck, the group designed and built a whole body scanning device. The unit looked just like the early Co-60 therapy unit because the scanner head was fabricated at Acme Machine and Electric of Saskatoon, the same company that built the Cobalt unit in 1951. The scanner head housed a massive 5 inch diameter by 4 inch thick scintillation crystal and could perform a whole body scan using a slit collimator or could scan a smaller area using a multi-focus collimator.

After the whole body scanner was put into routine use in the Nuclear Medicine department of the Saskatoon Cancer Clinic, Sylvia and Trevor applied for National Cancer Institute funding to design and build a scintillation camera – Canada’s first gamma camera. They, together with Dr. W. B.Reid and Dr. Rudy Hummel of Nuclear Enterprises Ltd. of Winnipeg, constructed a working camera that was located in a room in the basement of Wing F of the University Hospital. Measurements were made on the resolution and sensitivity of scintillation cameras and a comparison of the clinical value of the camera as compared to that of a conventional scanner was underway when disaster struck. One winter evening when it was about -30 degrees Centigrade, someone left the window open for the whole night and by morning the 20 inch diameter sodium iodide crystal had shattered, thanks to the cold air blanketing our province.

The sensitivity and resolution studies carried out by Sylvia and her graduate student earned her an invitation to become a member of a Task Force of the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements. Her work on this Task Force as well as earlier publications on the value of photo-scanning of the liver led to her nomination and subsequent election to the Board of Trustees of the Society of Nuclear Medicine, the first Canadian to be a member of the Board of Trustees.


As mentioned earlier, Sylvia was a very active athlete during her school years and she continued her athletic activities during her professional career. In addition to occasional fishing trips to northern Saskatchewan and golf, she played softball with two teams that won the Western Canadian softball championships – the 1954 Regina Govins and the 1955 Saskatoon Hub City Ramblers. In 1956 she took up the sport of curling and played third for a team skipped by Joyce McKee. Together with second Donna Belding and lead Muriel Coben, the rink from the Hub City Curling Club won the Western Canadian Ladies Curling Championship played in Victoria in 1960 and then defeated the Ruth Smith rink from Quebec, the Eastern Canadian Champions. This was the first and only East-West championship ever played before formation of the Canadian Ladies Curling Association. In 1961, the first ten province play-down was held in Ottawa and Saskatchewan was represented by a rink consisting of skip Joyce McKee, third Sylvia Fedoruk, second Barbara MacNevin, and lead Rosa McFee. The team won the competition with nine wins and no losses to become the first winners of the Diamond D trophy. Following their victory, they were guests of four proud Saskatchewan members of parliament where their victory was acknowledged in the House of Commons. In addition, the teams competing in the spiel were received at Rideau Hall by Governor General George Vanier and Mrs. Vanier. There is a wonderful photograph included in this history that shows Sylvia, in bulky curling attire complete with grubby curling gloves, attempting to curtsey as she was being received by Mrs. Vanier. In 1962, the same team represented Saskatchewan in the next Canadian play-down in Regina and ended up with an 8-1 record. Their only loss was to British Columbia’s team skipped by Mrs. Ina Hansen who went through the week of curling without a loss.

Meeting Governor-General and Mrs. Vanier Year: 1961 Sylvia being received at Rideau Hall by Governor-General and Mrs Vanier (during the 1961 Canadian Curling Championship). Directly behind Sylvia are Barbara MacNevin and Rose McFee- team mates.

Meeting Governor-General and Mrs. Vanier
Year: 1961
Sylvia being received at Rideau Hall by Governor-General and Mrs Vanier (during the 1961 Canadian Curling Championship). Directly behind Sylvia are Barbara MacNevin and Rose McFee- team mates.

Following the sad loss in Regina, Sylvia’s attention turned to the administrative side of curling. She was chosen a delegate from Saskatchewan to attend several annual meetings of the Canadian Ladies Curling Association and she eventually became President of the Association for 1971-1972. As President, she was part of a group of 20 ladies who participated in a curling tour of Scotland in November in 1971 and was responsible for the staging of a very successful Canadian championship held in Saskatoon in Feb. 1972. Sylvia was honored for her contributions to the sport of curling by being inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame, March 1986.


During her professional career as a Medical Radiation Physicist, Sylvia was a member of the following scientific organisations: the Canadian Association of Physicists, the Canadian Association of Radiologists, the Society of Nuclear Medicine, the Hospital Physicists Association, the Health Physics Society, and the Canadian Radiation Protection Association. In addition, committee involvement included: President and Secretary of the Medical and Biological Physics Division of the Canadian Association of Physicists; Councilor, Society of Nuclear Medicine (Prairie Chapter); Consultant in Nuclear Medicine to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna; Member, National Research Council Associate Committee on Biophysics; Member of the Executive Committee and the Board of the Advisory Committee on the Clinical Uses of Radioactive Isotopes to the Minister of National Health and Welfare, Ottawa; Member of the Committee on Radiation Protection and Education, Society of Nuclear Medicine; Executive Council, Canadian Association of Radiologists; Member, Saskatchewan Science Council; Advisory Committee on Accelerators, Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada; Member of the Board, Canadian College of Physicists in Medicine; Member of the Canadian National Committee, International Union of Applied Biophysics; Radiation Safety Officer, Royal University Hospital; Councillor, Biophysical Society of Canada; Committee on Radiation Health and Safety, Province of Saskatchewan; Vice-Chairman, National Forum on Post-Secondary Education 1987.

In all, Sylvia was author and /or co-author of 34 scientific papers published in peer review scientific journals and had three invited papers published in conference proceedings. She made invited presentations at the following conferences: 9th International Congress of Radiology, Munich 1959; 11th International Congress of Radiology, Rome 1965; 12th International Congress of Radiology, Tokyo 1969; International Congress of Medical Physics, Harrogate 1965; International Atomic Energy Agency Panel on Medical Radioisotope Scanning Vienna 1959; International Atomic Energy Agency Panel on Dosimetry Requirements of Radiotherapy Centres, Caracas 1968 (In absentia).

It was a very sad time in her life when Sylvia had to cancel her flight to Caracas in April 1968 when her mother was suddenly stricken with cancer. Ann was found to have an inoperable cancer of the ovary and passed away in November of that year.

Theordore, Ann, and Sylvia Fedoruk. Year: 1968 July 1968 shortly after Ann had completed her first session of chemotherapy at the Cancer Centre.

Theordore, Ann, and Sylvia Fedoruk.
Year: 1968
July 1968 shortly after Ann had completed her first session of chemotherapy at the Cancer Centre.

Her second major loss was the death of her father Ted in July 1977 who had an inoperable cancer of the stomach and passed away quite suddenly following a short illness.

In 1971 Sylvia was appointed member of the Science Council of Canada for a three year term and in 1973 she was appointed member of the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada and served as member until 1989. It was a very interesting time to be a member of the Board during the licensing of the nuclear power stations at Bruce, Pickering, Point Lepreau and Darlington, and the licensing review of the uranium mines. She well remembers the time when members of the Board went underground to tour two uranium mines at Elliott Lake, Ontario. Although mine regulations called for no smoking below ground, there were cigarette butts throughout the stopes. This was at the time when there was great concern about the relationship of radon gas (which is emitted during the radioactive decay of uranium by-products) and lung cancer. Following the tours, a meeting was held with union representatives from the United Steel Workers of America – the sixteen reps who gathered for the meeting were complaining about a miner colleague who had just been diagnosed with lung cancer which, beyond any doubt to them was due to the radon gas in the mines. “What are you going to do about it Board members?”, they asked as they sat around the table in a blue haze, enjoying a good smoke.

She remembers another time as Board member when they flew to Cluff Lake, Sask. Amok had just removed 20 feet of over-burden to expose a very rich body of uranium ore. She was down in the pit and was very excited with the very high readings being recorded by the radiation detector. However she was standing too close to a pump that was extracting water that was seeping into the pit that her fortrel pant leg completely shriveled up (from the heat of the pump manifold, not from the radiation).


1986 was an important year in Sylvia’s life. That year she was honored by being made an Officer in the Order of Canada and named a member of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. On Oct. 1, she retired from active employment with the Cancer Commission/Agency after 35 years of continuous service. As well, she resigned from her teaching appointment with the University of Saskatchewan and her appointment as a member of the Department of Radiation Oncology, University Hospital.

It was also in 1986 that Sylvia was elected Chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan. Several U of S alumni, including her former Huskiette basketball team mates Pat Lawson and Peggy McKercher, asked her to throw her hat into the ring as the first woman to run for Chancellor. She was reluctant at first knowing that there were three strong male candidates anxious to attain the University’s top post. However, her nominators persisted and she agreed to run for the office, after all nothing ventured-nothing gained. To her surprise, it was a landslide victory for the female candidate; she won and took office on July 1. She served three years as Chancellor.

First convocation as Chancellor Year: 1986 Chancellor Fedoruk presiding at her first convocation on Oct 25, 1986 and showing the graduates the beanie that she was obliged to wear during her first week at the U of S in 1946.

First convocation as Chancellor
Year: 1986
Chancellor Fedoruk presiding at her first convocation on Oct 25, 1986 and showing the graduates the beanie that she was obliged to wear during her first week at the U of S in 1946.

The Cancer Agency retained her services on a part-time basis for eighteen months following her retirement not as a physicist but as a liaison between the working groups at the Saskatoon Cancer Clinic and the architect/contractor during the construction of the new Saskatoon Cancer Centre. It was a most interesting time for her when lab coats, skirts and panty hose were replaced by hard hat, jeans, and construction boots. It brought back memories of a summer back in Windsor in 1946 when she had employment as welder in a factory building “Bren gun” carriers.


Sylvia has always said that her life was a series of adventures. Her most important adventure began during the summer of 1988 when a member of the Federal cabinet asked whether she would consider a possible appointment as the next Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan. She was asked to provide a resume for consideration by the Prime Minister and was told to tell no one about the phone call. “Stay close to the phone, tell no one about this call, and if you hear from the PM, you’ll know you’re the LG, but if you don’t hear from him, well tough luck” she was told. She waited for seven days and told no one except her trusted dog Charli. As the days passed with no phone call, her disappointment grew stronger and stronger but on a Friday morning in late July 1988, the phone rang and lo and behold, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was on the phone asking if she wanted to be the first female Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan. Sylvia said “yes, yes” even before he finished asking the question. She was sworn in as the seventeenth Lieutenant Governor on Sept. 7, 1988.

In the Speaker's Chair Year: 1988 Sept. 7, 1988- Sylvia is seated in the Speaker's Chair, has taken the oath of office and is receiving congratulations from Premier Grant Devine.

In the Speaker’s Chair
Year: 1988
Sept. 7, 1988- Sylvia is seated in the Speaker’s Chair, has taken the oath of office and is receiving congratulations from Premier Grant Devine.

The Lieutenant Governor Designate moved into the Royal Suite at the Hotel Saskatchewan a few days before the installation. She enjoyed rather impressive accommodation as she prepared her acceptance speech and reviewed protocol arrangements which had been made by Dr. Michael Jackson, Chief Protocol Officer of the Province. On this, one of the most important days of her life, she was picked up at the hotel by LCOL. R.V. Cade (who had been the Principal Aide de Camp to her predecessor the Hon. F. Johnson) and driven by limousine to the Legislative Building and met at the door by Premier Grant Devine. Excitement continued to build as she was escorted into the packed Legislative Chamber accompanied by Senior Officers of the Armed Forces and the RCMP. She was administered the oath of office by Chief Justice E. D. Bayda and then took her seat in the Speaker’s Chair. Good-will messages were delivered by the Hon. Ramon Hnatyshyn, Attorney General of Canada and Premier Grant Devine. The new Lieutenant Governor then left the chamber to review a 100 person Honor Guard from CFB Moose Jaw who were standing in formation outside the building. As artillery guns boomed out a 17 gun Vice-Regal salute, the Honorable Sylvia Fedoruk reviewed the Honor Guard with great enthusiasm despite heavy gusts of wind that blew her hair every which way. Following this, the Lieutenant Governor stepped into her horse-drawn landau and rode off back to the Hotel Saskatchewan. Later that evening she attended a reception and dinner given in her honor at the Centre of the Arts.

Her first official trip outside the City of Regina occurred two days later when she traveled by limo to Weyburn where the City was celebrating its 75th Anniversary. She was accompanied by her Principal Aide de Camp, Honorary Colonel F. E. (Frank) Hanton, a distinguished former air force pilot who had flown Hurricanes during the Battle of Britain . As part of the celebration, there were about a thousand school children (from Weyburn and surrounding districts) gathered at the fair grounds and the Lieutenant Governor was asked to deliver a message to the children. The message was essentially – “have dreams, set goals, then work hard to achieve your goals – after all, it has worked for me”. This same message was delivered to many thousands of Saskatchewan school children during Sylvia’s term of office which ended 5 years and 9 months later in May 1994.

Kindergarten in Air Ronge Year: 1992 Sylvia and children in kindergarten class at Air Ronge School during the 1992 northern tour.

Kindergarten in Air Ronge
Year: 1992
Sylvia and children in kindergarten class at Air Ronge School during the 1992 northern tour.

Sylvia traveled extensively throughout the province during her term of office. Whether it was by Executive Air, or charter float and land planes or by limo, she insisted that her arrival at the appointed destination was to always be on time. Only three times during the term of office did the Lieutenant Governor arrive late for a function. On one occasion the limo was held up at a railway crossing in the City of Regina. On the second occasion the delay occurred in Saskatoon because her chauffeur misread his pickup instructions. The third incident was a bit unusual because, due to a Transport Canada directive, her aircraft was instructed to land on a small air strip on the outskirts of Esterhazy rather than touchdown on a larger strip at the potash mine some ten miles away where the welcoming committee was waiting in vain.

The office of the Lieutenant Governor was located in Government House and it was there that Mrs. Irene White, as Principal Secretary, headed a staff of Mrs. Pat Langston, Mrs. Marj Badham and Mrs. Karen Ell that ensured that all arrangements regarding appointments such as private meetings with the Premier, constitutional requirements in the legislature (e.g. opening new sessions of the legislature, giving royal assent, and prorogation of the house), the receiving of distinguished visitors to the province, the holding of formal ceremonies and receptions and dinners held at Government House. In addition, it was Mrs. White’s responsibility to arrange details for all functions that the Lieutenant Governor had to attend away from her office. For each of these functions, a document or “marching order” was prepared which left nothing to chance. Departure and arrival times, type of travel, place of arrival, identity of welcoming party etc. were part and parcel of the marching order. It was the duty of the Honorary Aide de Camp who was to accompany the Lieutenant Governor to touch base beforehand with the people who had invited to Lieutenant Governor to come to their function and confirm that all arrangements were in place.

Sylvia enjoyed the required protocol – the arrival at the function – being taken directly to her place or seat – the playing of the Vice Regal salute – not having to carry her speaking notes etc. Indeed there was nothing left to chance. Mind you, there were instances of plans going slightly astray such as the time when she arrived at town for a banquet and the local band which was inside the banquet room struck up a rousing rendition of the royal salute while Sylvia exiting the limo in the parking lot outside the building..

Some of the Honorary Aides de Camp who volunteered and so ably helped the Lieutenant Governor carry out her duties were Commander J. O. Burgess, Inspector L. R. Chipperfield, Inspector J. G. Cunningham, Inspector H. A. Kaeser, Inspector L. P. Laronde, Supt. W. F. MacRaee, Lt. Col. W. N. Marr, Lt. Cdr. L. M. Mushanski, and Captain Valerie Cade of Regina: Captain J. S. Dhaliwal, Cdr. T. C. D. Gordon, Deputy Chief D. M. Montague, Lt. Col K. C. Turner, Major E. J.Vincent, and Lt. Col. L. D. Wong of Saskatoon; Major P. M. Hurley of Moose Jaw; Cdr. A. M. Boxall of Nipawin; Inspector B. A. Busson and Captain M. L. Dean of North Battleford; Lt. Col. R. A. Sajtos of Prince Albert; Captain H. N. Blind of Punnichy; Captain G. E. Winkleman of Swift Current; and Captain G. Apland of Yorkton. In addition, Kel Fitzpatrick and Dale Lang of Regina and Dennis Parson and Dave Bacon of Saskatoon were part-time chauffeurs whenever the Lieutenant Governor required use of the official limousine.

Sylvia truly enjoyed being the Lieutenant Governor. It wasn’t just a job but a continuous adventure. Welcoming visitors such as the Duke and Duchess of York, presiding at award ceremonies such as the Duke of Edinburgh awards, having private conversations with Premier Grant Devine and his successor Premier Roy Romanow, anniversary celebrations such as the unveiling of the world’s largest chokecherry bush in Lancer, and participating in some rather unusual events such as the time she was involved in a dog sled race across a very muddy half-frozen stubble field outside the town of Hudson Bay. The most fun of all was in September each year when Sylvia, Mrs. White, and Captain Blind along with officials of the Department of Education spent a week visiting communities and schools in northern Saskatchewan. It was during this week that she had an opportunity to meet young and old as well as present medals and financial awards to the most outstanding students, grades seven to twelve.

On May 5, 1992, Sylvia celebrated her 65th birthday in London, England. On May 6, she had a private audience with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

Sylvia was succeeded by the Hon. Jack Wiebe in May 1994 and returned to full-time residence in Saskatoon. She continues to serve on the Board of Governors of the University of Saskatchewan, is President of the Fedoruk Family Foundation, and is currently a Patron for the WDM’s centennial project: WINNING THE PRAIRIE GAMBLE.

April 15, 2001


This story’s author requests anonymity.