• John Geiger and Leona Aglukkaq. (Photo courtesy John Geiger)

In recognition of her contributions to the find of the long-lost Erebus ship, Leona Aglukkaq, the Minister of the Environment and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, has received the Erebus Medal in Ottawa.

"Minister Aglukkaq, whose ministry oversees Parks Canada, was closely involved in the organization and execution of the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition. This success is in large measure due to her leadership," said John Geiger, CEO of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

"It is so fitting," Geiger added, "that the discovery of one of Sir John Franklin's lost ships after nearly 170 years was made when Canada's Minister of the Environment was Leona Aglukkaq, an Inuk from Gjoa Haven on King William Island, the nearest community to where the British Arctic Expedition of 1845-48 met its disastrous end."

The Erebus Medal is a special one‐time honour commemorating the find of one of the lost ships of the British Arctic Expedition commanded by Sir John Franklin. Other recipients at the reception included representatives from 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition partners, including Parks Canada, the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Coast Guard, Arctic Research Foundation, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, One Ocean Expeditions and Shell Canada. For the full list of recipients click here.

The Erebus Medal was designed by renowned Canadian medal designer Susan Taylor. It features a stylized HMS Erebus superimposed on a nautical compass, and on the reverse, the Compass Rose of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, with the Society name and Expedition name in both official languages, along with the inscription: “For contributions to the discovery of HMS Erebus”. Small crowns symbolize the Society’s Royal patronage, and the fact that Erebus is a Royal Navy ship. The medal is cast in bronze, a reference to the Erebus bell.