Over the past decade we have noticed a rampant increase in the number of people who are wearing their orders, decorations and medals incorrectly. The cadre of people who flagrantly violate the official rules on how you are supposed to wear your medals ranges from the average veteran right up to current and former Governors General. Indeed, there is much evidence to suggest that the higher the rank of the individual the more likely they are to just wear whatever they want, however they want. We like to think of this as “Instant Dictator Syndrome” or self-aggrandizement at its most obvious.

Why do people wear their medals incorrectly? Often it is because they simply do not know any better. If you are one of these people you should consult WEARING ORDERS, DECORATIONS AND MEDALS which is available from the Chancellery of Honours at Rideau Hall. This guide will help you figure out how you are supposed to wear your officially granted orders, decorations and medals.

When it comes to wearing your medals incorrectly the worst offenders tend to be former Governors General, Lieutenant Governors and retired Generals. When these people – all in authority and all surrounded by staff who know better – wear their medals wrong they are obviously suffering from the dreaded Instant Dictator Syndrome. The attitude accompanied with this most severe condition is “the more medals I wear the more important I will look.”

This simple blog is aimed at revealing the myriad of fellow Canadians who cannot seem to wear their medals correctly.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


There is nothing wrong in this photo, all is as it should be!
Here is a wonderful picture of Major General The Honourable George R. Pearkes, taken while he was still Lieutenant Governor of BC. Despite being a Companion of the Order of Canada, Companion of the Order of the Bath, Knight of Grace of the Order of St. John and Commander of the Legion of Merit (US) -- thats a total of four neck orders he held -- Pearkes always followed the rules and only wore what was appropriate. In this case it was one neck order and his medal bar. Here is an example that others could well emulate. Notice that Pearkes had just been awarded the CD in this photo.


  1. Hi there,

    While you wrote that Pearkes was an excellent example, his portrait portrayed him wearing two neck medals with his Lt. Gov. uniform. Was that correct?

    1. When wearing the Vice-Regal Uniform the Lieutenant Governor can wearing two neck badges. Most Lieutenant Governors have stopped wearing this form of dress and more often wear civilian clothing instead.

  2. Actually people wearing the Lieutenant Governor's Vice-Regal Uniform can wear up to three neck insignia -- like the RCN high collared tunic and the RCMP red serge it is permissible to wear three; one at the neck and one out of the 2nd and 3rd button holes.