Wabanakwut Kinew, hip hop artist, broadcaster, university administrator, author, politician (born 31 December 1981 in Kenora, ON). An Ojibwa activist and public intellectual, Wab Kinew began his career as a musician and rapper with the hip hop group Dead Indians. He gained national attention through his radio and television journalism for the CBC, including 8th Fire, a television series on Indigenous issues. Kinew’s 2015 memoir, The Reason You Walk, was a national bestseller and finalist for the RBC Taylor Prize. Kinew was elected to the Manitoba legislature in 2016, despite controversial tweets and rap lyrics that dogged his campaign. Similarly, revelations of stayed domestic assault charges from 2003 threatened to derail his bid to become leader of the Manitoba New Democratic Party, though he was named leader in September 2017.
Mr. Dressup was one of Canada’s most beloved and longest-running children’s television series. The program starred Ernie Coombs as the jovial Mr. Dressup and ran for 29 years (1967–96) and more than 4,000 episodes. A precursor to the popular American series, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Mr. Dressup was influential in tailoring children’s programming towards developing the child’s emotional and logical intelligence. The series won three Gemini Awards and earned Coombs an appointment to the Order of Canada. A 2017 crowd-sourced online vote unofficially declared Mr. Dressup Canada’s most memorable television program.
Richard Vincent Mercer, OC, satirist, comedian, screenwriter, actor, humanitarian (born 17 Oct 1969 in St. John’s, NL). Rick Mercer has parlayed his acerbic wit and voracious interest in politics into a career as one Canada’s foremost political and social commentators. Described by Maclean's magazine as “one of Canada’s most bankable television commodities,” he has combined his “mutually parasitic” relationship with politicians, his ability to connect with ordinary Canadians and a mischievous, court jester perspective to become the satirical conscience of Canadian politics and culture. An Officer of the Order of Canada, he has also excelled as a humanitarian through his involvement with numerous charitable organizations. He has received ten honorary degrees, 18 Gemini Awards, ten Canadian Screen Awards, a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, among many other honours.
Anna Helene Paquin, actor (born 24 July 1982 in Winnipeg). Anna Paquin is best known for winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in The Piano (1993) at the age of 11, and for her Golden Globe-winning performance as Sookie Stackhouse in the long-running HBO fantasy-horror series True Blood (2008–14). Born in Canada and raised in New Zealand, she has enjoyed a global profile thanks to her role as Rogue in the X-Men movies while also earning acclaim for her work in such independent films as 25th Hour (2002), The Squid and the Whale (2005) and Margaret (2011). In 2017, she starred in the CBC drama series Bellevue (2017-) and Alias Grace (2017), and was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame.1
Edward Samuel (Ted) Rogers Jr., OC, founder and CEO of Rogers Communications, businessman, philanthropist (born 27 May 1933 in Toronto, ON; died 2 December 2008 in Toronto, ON). Rogers was a pioneer in the Canadian communications industry who established Rogers Communications. At the time of his death in 2008, Rogers was the fourth-richest Canadian, with a net worth of over $7 billion, while the company was worth $18 billion and employed roughly 29,000 people. Rogers Communications owned Canada’s largest wireless telecommunications company and cable TV company; 52 radio stations; numerous TV stations (including CityTV, OMNI, Sportsnet and The Shopping Channel); more than 70 consumer and trade magazines (including Maclean’s, Chatelaine and Flare); and the Toronto Blue Jays and Rogers Centre (formerly the SkyDome).
Ken Finkleman, screenwriter, director, actor, producer (born 1946 in Winnipeg, Manitoba). Ken Finkleman is a maverick auteur renowned for the caustic humour, bitter irony and deadpan satire embodied by his television alter ego George Findlay, a linking character he has portrayed in seven television series. The winner of six Gemini Awards and an Emmy Award, Finkleman is best known for The Newsroom, the iconoclastic comedy series he created, wrote, produced and starred in. Popular and critically acclaimed during three runs (1996–97, 2003–04, 2004–05) and a TV movie (Escape from the Newsroom, 2002) on CBC Television and PBS, the show is regarded as one of the best media satires ever produced..
Margaret Alexis Fitzsimmons Smith, actor (born 8 June 1921 in Penticton, BC; died 9 June 1993 in Los Angeles, California). Alexis Smith was a movie star during Hollywood’s golden age, sharing the screen with some of the era’s most celebrated performers, such as Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, William Holden and Cary Grant. She took a hiatus from Hollywood for a decade before winning a Tony Award in 1971 for her performance in Stephen Sondheim’s hit Broadway musical, Follies. Smith appeared in such television series as The Love Boat, Dallas and Cheers, and such films as The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944), Rhapsody in Blue (1945), the Canadian tax shelter thriller The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976), and Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence (1993).
In September 1999, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien appointed Adrienne Clarkson governor general. Her appointment marked several "firsts" in the selection of Canada's governor general: she was the first without a military or political background, and the first non-white Canadian to be appointed to the vice-regal position.
Ryan Thomas Gosling, actor, musician, producer, director (born 12 November 1980 in London, ON). Ryan Gosling started out as a child actor before giving a breakthrough performance in the Sundance-winning indie drama The Believer in 2001. Capable of playing characters that are utterly creepy yet somehow magnetic and attractive, he has amassed a gallery of intense performances that matches the early work of Robert De Niro and Gary Oldman. An A-list Hollywood star, he has proven equally adept at comedy (Lars and the Real Girl, Crazy, Stupid, Love., The Nice Guys, The Big Short) and drama ¬(The Notebook, Half Nelson, Blue Valentine, The Ides of March). He has received two Oscar nominations and won a Golden Globe in 2017 for his lead role in the award-winning musical La La Land.
Peter Mansbridge, OC, television news anchor, journalist, columnist (born 6 July 1948 in London, England). A widely respected journalist, Peter Mansbridge was the face of CBC News for nearly 30 years. As the chief correspondent and lead anchor of The National from 1988 to 2017, he won 12 Gemini Awards for broadcast excellence, including the Gordon Sinclair Award for best overall broadcast journalist in 1990 and 1998. His other honours include two Canadian Screen Awards, numerous honorary degrees and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association. He has also been inducted into the Canadian News Hall of Fame and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Dan George, OC, Tsleil-Waututh actor, poet, public speaker (born 24 July 1899 on the Burrard Indian Reserve No. 3 in BC; died 23 September 1981 in North Vancouver, BC). By his film roles and personal appearances, Dan George helped improve the popular image of Indigenous people, often represented in stereotypical ways.