OTTAWA, Nov. 17, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Birks, a leading jeweller in Canada since 1879, has signed a multi-year deal as the new Presenting Sponsor for the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Gala, which takes place annually at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. The sponsorship begins with the 25 th anniversary edition of the Gala on June 29, 2017 - during Canada's 150 th birthday year - and will continue in 2018 and 2019. "Birks is one of the most iconic brands on the Canadian landscape," said Jayne Watson, CEO of the National Arts Centre Foundation. "The NAC is thrilled to be associated with Birks and their rich and storied history. Just like the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards, Birks represents the very best in artistry and creativity." "It is with immense pride that we join the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Gala as Presenting Sponsor, to recognize the achievements of some of our country's outstanding artists," says Jean-Christophe Bédos, President & CEO, Birks Group Inc. "Birks has been helping Canadians celebrate special moments since 1879 and as such we are delighted to now take part in recognizing the contributions of our nation's top talent to the enrichment of our country, and of our lives." Created in 1992, the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards are Canada's highest honour in the performing arts. The Gala is produced annually by the National Arts Centre and features superb performances, evocative short films about the Award laureates (created by the National Film Board of Canada), and personal tributes by guest stars. The 2017 recipients of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards will be announced next March. They will be honoured at various events in Ottawa in 2017, culminating with the Gala at the National Arts Centre on Saturday, June 29. ABOUT THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S PERFORMING ARTS AWARDS The Governor General's Performing Arts Awards include the Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award which recognizes artists for their outstanding body of work and enduring contribution to the performing arts in Canada. These national awards are presented in the categories of theatre, dance, classical music, broadcasting, popular music and film. Past recipients of the Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award include Christopher Plummer, Donald Sutherland, Ginette Reno, David Cronenberg, Mavor Moore, Diane Dufresne, William Shatner, Robert Lepage, Atom Egoyan, Michel Tremblay, Karen Kain, Gordon Lightfoot, Janine Sutto, and many more. Two other honours are also given out: the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts recognizes outstanding voluntary service to the performing arts by an individual or group, while the National Arts Centre Award recognizes work of an extraordinary nature and significance in the performing arts by an individual artist and/or company in the past performance year. In addition to honouring the laureates, the Awards feature a unique Mentorship Program, designed to unite past Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award recipients and talented mid-career artists. ABOUT BIRKS Birks Group is a leading operator of luxury jewelry stores in Canada and Southeastern United States. The Company operates 26 stores under the Birks brand in most major metropolitan markets in Canada, 17 stores in Florida and Georgia under the Mayors brand, one store under the Rolex brand name and two retail locations in Calgary and Vancouver under the Brinkhaus brand. Birks was founded in 1879 and developed over the years into Canada's premier retailer and designer of fine jewelry, timepieces and gifts. Mayors was founded in 1910 and has maintained the intimacy of a family-owned boutique while becoming renowned for its fine jewelry, timepieces and service. Additional information can be found on www.birks.com.