OTTAWA -- Julie Payette has issued a decidedly informal request to Canadians in her first New Year's message as governor general -- "stay active."

Gone are the regal trappings that served as a backdrop to end-of-year messages delivered by previous governors general.

Instead, Payette chose to deliver a statement while skating on the ice rink erected beside her official residence, Rideau Hall.

In her address, the governor general speaks of the pleasure she experiences with her son, Laurier, by getting outdoors and enjoying the Canadian winter by skiing, skating or simply walking.

And she encourages Canadians to work in 2018 to make their country more open, tolerant, respectful and progressive.

Payette also offers best wishes to Canada's athletes who will be competing at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.