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Pierre Grandmaison

Pierre Grandmaison. Organist, teacher, composer, b Montreal 27 Jul 1949; B MUS (Montreal) 1970. Pierre Grandmaison has been the regular organist at the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal since 1973. Also an accomplished composer, Grandmaison received the Chevalier de l'Ordre des arts et lettres de France in 1985.


Bobby Curtola

Robert Allen Curtola, CM, singer, songwriter (born 17 April 1943 in Port Arthur, ON; died 4 June 2016 in EdmontonAB). Bobby Curtola emerged as a teen idol and dominated the Canadian pop chart in the 1960s. His string of hit singles, including “Fortune Teller” (1962), dominated the Canadian singles chart from 1960 to 1967 and sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. Curtola was one of the first Canadians to receive a multi-million-dollar contract to perform in Las Vegas. He also helped raise millions of dollars for charities as a host of various telethons. He was a Member of the Order of Canada, the RPM Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. He was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2019.


Gustavo Uriel da Roza

Gustavo Uriel da Roza II, OC, architect (born 24 February 1933 in Hong Kong; died 24 April 2022 in Surrey, BC). Da Roza completed his architectural training in Hong Kong and moved to Winnipeg, MB in 1960. (See also Architecture.) He taught at the University of Manitoba and became well-recognized for his architectural work, including the design of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Da Roza was of Chinese and Portuguese descent and was active among Winnipeg’s Portuguese community (see Portuguese Canadians).


Michel Côté

Michel Côté, OC, actor, writer, comedian (born 25 June 1950 in Alma, QC; died 29 May 2023). One of Quebec’s best and most beloved actors, Michel Côté was perhaps best known for co-creating the acclaimed play Broue with Marc Messier and Marcel Gauthier. It ran from 1979 to 2007 and holds the Guinness World Record as the world’s longest-running stage play featuring the original cast. Côté was also known for such popular films as Cruising Bar (1989), C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005), De père en flic (2009) and Omertà (2012), and such TV series as Bye Bye (1979–2018), Du Tac au Tac (1976–82), La Petite Vie (1993–99) and the original Omertà series. He received the Prix Jutra-Hommage for lifetime achievement in 2013 and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2022.


Kenojuak Ashevak

Kenojuak Ashevak, C.C., O.N., artist (born 3 October 1927 in Ikerrasak camp, South Baffin Island, NWT; died 8 January 2013, Cape Dorset, NU). A Companion of the Order of Canada and winner of the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Ashevak is perhaps the best-known Inuit artist because of her famous print The Enchanted Owl (1960), which was featured on a Canada Post stamp. She was also the first woman to become involved with the newly established printmaking shop at Cape Dorset.


Maud Lewis

Maud Kathleen Lewis (née Dowley), artist (born 7 March 1901 or 1903 in Yarmouth, NS; died 30 July 1970 in Digby, NS). Maud Lewis was a Canadian painter and folk artist. Her artistic talents were largely hidden throughout much of her life — a result of poverty, shyness and social anxiety brought on by suffering from severe birth defects. Often referred to as Canada’s Grandma Moses, Lewis came to national prominence in the mid-1960s, just a few years before her death. Her work, which has been sold at auctions and been featured on postage stamps, has become widely popular. The small house where she lived and worked is on permanent display at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.


Paying Tribute to Painter Maud Lewis

This article was originally published in Maclean's magazine on 14 April 1997.

Maud Lewis lived a life that few would envy. Born in rural Nova Scotia in 1903, Lewis suffered from a series of birth defects that left her fingers painfully deformed, her shoulders hunched and her chin pressed into her chest. She spent most of her adult life as a virtual recluse in a cramped one-room house that had no running water or electricity. For more than three decades, the diminutive Lewis eked out a living rendering colorful oil paintings on the most primitive of surfaces — including particleboard, cardboard and wallpaper — which she sold for a few dollars each. Her miserly husband, Everett, often squirrelled away her slim profits, hiding the cash under the floorboards or in jars buried in the garden. At the age of 67, Lewis — who had suffered lung damage due to constant exposure to paint fumes and wood smoke — contracted pneumonia and died in hospital. She was buried in a child's coffin and laid to rest in a pauper's grave.


Dan Levy

Daniel Joseph Levy, actor, writer, producer, director, TV host (born 9 August 1983 in Toronto, ON). Dan Levy is best known for his role as David Rose on the CBC sitcom Schitt’s Creek, a series he created and co-starred in with his father, comedy icon Eugene Levy. Schitt’s Creek is one of the most acclaimed Canadian TV series of all time. It was named Best Comedy Series at the Canadian Screen Awards in 2016, 2019, 2020, and 2021. It also became the first comedy series ever to win all seven of the top awards at the Primetime Emmy Awards; Levy won four — the most by a single person in one year. He has also been honoured for promoting acceptance of the LGBTQ2S+ community.


Tom Jackson

Thomas (Tom) Jackson, CC, singer, songwriter, actor, social activist (born 27 October 1948 on the One Arrow First Nation Reserve, SK). Tom Jackson has received numerous awards throughout his musical and acting career. Additionally, he has been recognized through numerous honorary degrees.

A version of this entry originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.


Mel Hoppenheim

Mel Hoppenheim, CM, entrepreneur, philanthropist (born October 1937 in Montreal, QC; died 27 July 2022 in Montreal). Mel Hoppenheim developed Panavision Canada into the largest provider of film and television services in Canada. He also owned and operated one of the largest privately held film studios in North America. Hoppenheim was instrumental in the development of Canada’s film and television industry, and of Montreal as a major site for international productions. A noted philanthropist, he earned the nickname “Mr. Hollywood North.” He received an honorary Genie Award in 2010 and was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2015.


Alessia Cara

Alessia Caracciolo, singer, songwriter (born 11 July 1996 in Mississauga, Ontario). Alessia Cara is a pop music singer-songwriter. She has sold more than 11 million records in the United States and more than 285,000 in Canada since debuting in 2015. She is perhaps best known for her songs “Here” and “Scars to Your Beautiful.” She was named the Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the 2016 Juno Awards and the Best New Artist at the 2018 Grammy Awards. Her debut album Know-It-All (2015) won the 2017 Juno Award for Pop Album of the Year. Her album The Pains of Growing (2018) earned her 2020 Juno Awards for Album of the Year, Pop Album of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. Cara has also won a SOCAN Award, two MTV Video Music Awards and three Canadian Radio Music Awards.


Emily Murphy (Plain-Language Summary)

Emily Murphy (née Ferguson), pen name Janey Canuck, writer, journalist, magistrate, political and legal reformer (born 14 March 1868 in Cookstown, ON; died 27 October 1933 in Edmonton, AB). Emily Murphy was the first woman magistrate (justice of the peace) in the British Empire. She was also one of the Famous Five behind the Persons Case. It ruled that women were persons in the eyes of the law. Murphy was an outspoken feminist and suffragist. She is also controversial. Her views on immigration and eugenics have been seen as racist and elitist. She was named a Person of National Historic Significance in 1958. She was made an honorary senator in 2009.

This article is a plain-language summary of Emily Murphy. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry: Emily Murphy.


Jeff Barnaby

Jeff Barnaby, writer, director, editor, composer (born 2 August 1976 in Listuguj Reserve, QC; died 13 October 2022 in Montreal, QC). Jeff Barnaby was a multitalented Mi’kmaq filmmaker who worked mainly in the horror genre. His award-winning films, such as Rhymes for Young Ghouls (2013) and Blood Quantum (2019), are notable for incorporating gritty portrayals of Indigenous characters into stories with elements of science fiction, body horror and magic realism. Barnaby was a rising talent in Canadian and Indigenous cinema. He died of cancer at the age of 46.


Donald Mowat

Donald James Mowat, CM, hair and makeup artist (born 10 December 1964 in Montreal, QC). Donald Mowat is an award-winning hair and makeup artist and prosthetic designer for film and television. He has received a Primetime Emmy Award, two Gemini Awards and several trade guild awards, as well as multiple BAFTA nominations and an Oscar nomination. He is perhaps best known for his work with director Denis Villeneuve, and for being the personal makeup artist for such stars as Mark Wahlberg and Daniel Craig. Mowat has also been lauded for his work as a volunteer and mentor and is a Member of the Order of Canada.


Rick Mercer

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 as “one of Canada’s most bankable television commodities,” he has combined his ability to connect with ordinary Canadians and a mischievous, court jester perspective to become the satirical conscience of English Canadian culture. An Officer of the Order of Canada and a member of Canada’s Walk of Fame, he has also excelled as a humanitarian. He has received eleven honorary degrees, 18 Gemini Awards, 12 Canadian Screen Awards, two Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards and the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.


Elisapie Isaac

Elisapie Isaac (a.k.a. Elisapie or ᐃᓕᓴᐱ in Inuktitut syllabics), singer, musician, songwriter, documentary filmmaker, writer, director, actor, broadcaster (born 1977 in Salluit, QC). Elisapie is an Inuit singer/songwriter and actor who has been professionally active since the early 2000s. She has won numerous awards for her artistic endeavors. She sings in French, English and Inuktitut.