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George Godfrey

George Godfrey, boxer (born 20 March 1853 in Charlottetown, PEI; died 18 October 1901 in Revere, Massachusetts). George Godfrey was a successful Black Canadian boxer who began his career at the age of 26. He won the World Colored Heavyweight championship in 1883 and held the title for five years. Godfrey retired in 1896 after competing in over 100 fights. He was the first of many great Black Canadian boxers from the Maritimes; others included George Dixon and Sam Langford. Godfrey was inducted into the PEI Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.

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Andrée Lachapelle

Andrée Lachapelle, actor (born 13 novembre 1931 in Montreal, QC; died 21 novembre 2019 in Montreal). In a career that spanned more than 50 years, Andrée Lachapelle put her stamp on well over 200 characters in Quebec theatre, television and film. While she excelled in conventional distinguished roles, as lovers or neurotics, she also portrayed powerful professional women with depth and a broad emotional range.

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Erin Mouré

Erin Mouré (a.k.a. Erín Moure, Eirin Moure, and Elisa Sampedrín), poet, translator, essayist (born 17 April 1955 in Calgary, AB). Erin Mouré is one of Canada’s most prolific and influential experimental poets. She is also an active translator of Galician, French, Spanish, and Portuguese poetry into English. She has won two Governor General’s Literary Awards — one for poetry and one for translation — and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. She has also been shortlisted three times for the Griffin Poetry Prize.

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Susan Aglukark

Uuliniq Susan Aglukark, OC, singer, songwriter (born 27 January 1967 in Churchill, MB). Susan Aglukark is a Juno Award-winning Inuk singer and songwriter. Her blend of country, world music and easy-listening pop is distinguished by her gentle voice, upbeat melodies and inspirational lyrics sung in English and Inuktitut. Her album This Child (1995) sold more than 300,000 copies in Canada and the lead single, “O Siem,” became the first top 10 hit by an Inuk performer. She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for her “powerful songs that relate the stories of Canada’s Inuit” and for her advocacy for the communities of Canada’s North. She received a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in 2016 and the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award at the 2022 Juno Awards.

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Ronnie Hawkins

Ronald Cornett Hawkins, OC (honorary), singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, actor (born 10 January 1935 in Huntsville, Arkansas; died 29 May 2022). Legendary rockabilly bandleader Ronnie Hawkins was a pioneer of rock music in Canada and a mentor to many of the country's leading rock musicians. Also known as “Rompin' Ronnie Hawkins,” “The King of Rockabilly,” “The Hawk” and “Mr. Dynamo,” he was renowned for his high-energy performances and larger-than-life personality onstage and off. One of rock’s most colourful personalities, Hawkins is regarded by many as "the granddaddy of Canadian rock ‘n’ roll." An honorary Officer of the Order of Canada, he was inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame, Canada’s Walk of Fame, the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

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Gary Farmer

Gary Dale Farmer, actor, publisher, musician, filmmaker, broadcaster, activist (born 12 June 1953 at Ohsweken, Six Nations Reserve, ON). Versatile character actor Gary Farmer has appeared in more than 120 film and television productions. He is perhaps best known for his role as the mysterious mystic Nobody in Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man (1995). Farmer has also been active in theatre and radio and is a pioneer in the development of Indigenous peoples’ media. He has received two Best Actor awards at the American Indian Film Festival and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native American Film + Video Festival.

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Molly Lamb Bobak

Molly Joan Bobak, née Lamb, CM, ONB, RCA, artist, teacher (born 25 February 1920 in Vancouver, BC; died 1 March 2014 in Fredericton, NB). Molly Lamb Bobak joined the Canadian Women’s Army Corps in 1942. In 1945, she became the first woman to be named an official Canadian war artist. She led workshops across Canada, gave live art lessons on television and served on many boards and arts councils. She was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and received honorary degrees from the University of New Brunswick, Mount Allison University and St. Thomas University. She was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1995 and to the Order of New Brunswick in 2002.

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Patrick Watson

Patrick Watson, CC, television producer and host, filmmaker, author, actor (born 23 December 1929 in Toronto, ON; died 4 July 2022). Patrick Watson is perhaps best known as a creator, producer and co-host of CBC TV’s popular and influential current affairs program This Hour Has Seven Days (1964–66). He was a noted journalist and filmmaker and the creative director and principal writer of the original Heritage Minutes. He also served as chairman of the CBC during its controversial restructuring in the early 1990s. Watson was named an Officer in the Order of Canada in 1981. He was promoted to Companion in 2001.

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Margaret Trudeau

Margaret Joan (née Sinclair) Trudeau (Kemper), author, actor, photographer, mental health advocate (born 10 September 1948 in North Vancouver, BC). Margaret Trudeau’s marriage to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1971 made her a public figure overnight. The dissolution of their union occurred under withering public scrutiny at a time when traditional roles, for homemakers and political wives alike, were being challenged. As the wife of one prime minister and the mother of another — Justin Trudeau — Margaret Trudeau carved out a public role for herself after revealing her diagnosis with bipolar disorder. In two books and in well-received public speeches, she has been an outspoken advocate for people with mental health issues.

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Gilles Pelletier

Gilles Pelletier, actor, director, theatre director (born 22 March 1925 in Saint-Jovite, QC; died 5 septembre 2018 in Montreal, QC). Son of the notary, publisher and literary critic Albert Pelletier, Gilles Pelletier was early destined for a career as a sailor. However, his sister, actor Denise Pelletier, encouraged him to make a career in theatre.

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Michelle Rossignol

Michelle Rossignol, actor, director, artistic director (born 4 February 1940 in Montreal, QC; died 18 May 2022 in Montreal, QC). Michelle Rossignol studied theatre at Théâtre du nouveau monde and with Tania Balachova in Paris during the 1950s. A brilliant career covering a half-century established her as a major actor in Québec theatre, television and film. This spirited and energetic performer, known for her piercing gaze and leonine hair, appeared in numerous works on stage before turning to directing. She headed the Théâtre d'Aujourd'hui from 1988 to 1998.

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Canadian Film History: 1974 to Present

Filmmaking is a powerful form of cultural and artistic expression, as well as a highly profitable commercial enterprise. From a practical standpoint, filmmaking is a business involving large sums of money and a complex division of labour. This labour is involved, roughly speaking, in three sectors: production, distribution and exhibition. The history of the Canadian film industry has been one of sporadic achievement accomplished in isolation against great odds. Canadian cinema has existed within an environment where access to capital for production, to the marketplace for distribution and to theatres for exhibition has been extremely difficult. The Canadian film industry, particularly in English Canada, has struggled against the Hollywood entertainment monopoly for the attention of an audience that remains largely indifferent toward the domestic industry. The major distribution and exhibition outlets in Canada have been owned and controlled by foreign interests. The lack of domestic production throughout much of the industry’s history can only be understood against this economic backdrop.

This article is one of four that surveys the history of the film industry in Canada. The entire series includes: Canadian Film History: 1896 to 1938; Canadian Film History: 1939 to 1973; Canadian Film History: 1974 to Present; Canadian Film History: Notable Films and Filmmakers 1980 to Present.

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Barbara Paterson

Barbara A. Paterson, CM, sculptor (born in Edmonton, AB). Barbara Paterson is a sculptor who works with wax, stone, bronze and steel. Her works often depict women and historical figures. She is perhaps best known for Women are Persons!, a bronze monument to the Persons Case that depicts the Famous Five. There are two copies of the monument, one located on Parliament Hill and the other in Calgary’s Olympic Plaza. Paterson was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2021.

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Bertha Skye

Bertha Skye, cook, entrepreneur, Indigenous Elder (born 1932 on Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, SK). From a young age, Skye learned to cook and used her talent to feed those in her community. She was chosen to participate in the 1992 Culinary Olympics, where she and her teammates won several medals, including a gold for Skye’s corn, bean, and squash soup (also know as Three Sisters soup). Among other advisory positions, Skye has served as an Elder in Residence at various post-secondary institutions in Ontario.

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Beth Powning

Beth Davis Powning, writer, photographer (born 15 August 1949 in Putnam, Connecticut). Beth Powning’s sensitive and thought-provoking novels, essays and memoirs explore her deep relationship with the natural world, as typified by life in rural New Brunswick. Her books — including Seeds of Another Summer (1996), The Hatbox Letters (2004), A Measure of Light (2015) and The Sister’s Tale (2021) — have earned many accolades. Powning received New Brunswick’s Lieutenant-Governor’s Award for High Achievement in English Literary Arts in 2010. She has also received honorary degrees from the University of New Brunswick and Mount Allison University.

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Émile Nelligan

Émile Nelligan, poet (born 24 December 1879 in Montréal, QC; died 18 November 1941). A romantic, parnassian and symbolist, Émile Nelligan was an outstanding poet at the end of the 19th century.

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Norval Morrisseau and the Art of Forgery

In the early 2000s, Ojibwe artist Norval Morrisseau identified several forgeries being sold as genuine Morrisseau pieces. Since his death, a well-known case in 2018 involving keyboardist Kevin Hearn of the Barenaked Ladies exposed an art-fraud ring in Thunder Bay. The same year, the documentary There Are No Fakes, directed by Jamie Kastner, helped to bring this issue concerning Morrisseau forgeries into the public view. Instances of fake and forged art have impacted Indigenous artists on a devastating scale. (See also Contemporary Indigenous Art in Canada.)

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Harry Daniels

Harry Wilfred Daniels, politician, writer, actor (born 16 September 1940 in Regina Beach, SK; died 6 September 2004 in Regina Beach). Daniels was a celebrated Métis politician and activist who fought for the rights of Métis people. His greatest contribution to Indigenous rights in Canada was the Supreme Court case Daniels v. Canada, which guaranteed that Métis and Non-Status Indians are considered “Indian” under the Constitution Act, 1867. (See also Indian Status.)