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Judy Rebick

Judy Rebick, feminist, social activist, author, broadcaster, public speaker (born 15 August 1945 in Reno, Nevada). Judy Rebick has championed the rights of women, minorities and the working class since the 1960s. She was a member of the NDP’s Waffle caucus and a pro-choice spokesperson for the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics. She rose to national prominence as the president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (1990–93) and as the host of CBC TV programs (1994–2000). From 2002 to 2010, she was the Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy at Ryerson University. She is also a best-selling author and was the founding publisher of rabble.ca.

Article

Joe Shuster

Joe Shuster, cartoonist (born 10 July 1914 in Toronto, ON; died 30 July 1992 in Los Angeles, California). In 1933, along with writer Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster created the Superman comic book character.

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Michael Kusugak

Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak, Inuk children's writer, storyteller in English and Inuktitut (born 27 April 1948 in Qatiktalik [Cape Fullerton, NT], now NU). Kusugak is known for his picture books, almost all of which are illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka. Kusugak’s children’s stories all feature Inuit life and traditions. His books demonstrate how stories can be used to teach history and culture. Kusugak’s books have reached international audiences, with some translated into Japanese, Korean, French and Braille.

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Robert Munsch

Robert Norman Peter Maria Munsch, CM, children’s writer, storyteller (born 11 June 1945 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). Robert Munsch is a successful children’s writer. He has published more than 60 books in over 30 languages, including eight Indigenous languages. His books, including The Paper Bag Princess (1980) and Love You Forever (1986), have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. He won a Juno Award for Best Children’s Album in 1985, received the Ruth Schwartz Children’s Book Award in 1986 and was named the Canadian Booksellers’ Association’s Author of the Year in 1992. He is a Member of the Order of Canada and Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Article

Moshe Safdie

Moshe Safdie, CC, architect, professor, urban planner, educator, theorist, author (born 14 July 1938 in Haifa, Palestine [now Israel]). A Companion of the Order of Canada, Moshe Safdie’s architectural designs include residential housing, galleries, fine arts complexes, parks, airports, museums, colleges, libraries, government buildings, memorials, masterplans and multi-use complexes. He is perhaps best known in Canada for the Habitat 67 housing complex in Montreal, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and Vancouver Library Square. Safdie’s influence is wide reaching, covering nearly 100 projects on five continents. His Boston-based office has extended its branches to Jerusalem, Toronto, Singapore and Shanghai.

Article

Oscar Peterson

Oscar Emmanuel Peterson, CC, CQ, OOnt, jazz pianist, composer, educator (born 15 August 1925 in Montreal, QC; died 23 December 2007 in Mississauga, ON). Oscar Peterson is one of Canada’s most honoured musicians. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time. He was renowned for his remarkable speed and dexterity, meticulous and ornate technique and dazzling, swinging style. He earned the nicknames “the brown bomber of boogie-woogie” and “master of swing.” A prolific recording artist, he typically released several albums a year from the 1950s until his death. He also appeared on more than 200 albums by other artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong, who called him “the man with four hands.” His sensitivity in these supporting roles, as well as his acclaimed compositions such as Canadiana Suite and “Hymn to Freedom,” was overshadowed by his stunning virtuosity as a soloist. Also a noted jazz educator and advocate for racial equality, Peterson won a Juno Award and eight Grammy Awards, including one for lifetime achievement. The first recipient of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement, he was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the International Jazz Hall of Fame. He was also made an Officer and then Companion of the Order of Canada, and an Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters in France, among many other honours.

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Marc Djokic

Marc Djokic, musician, violinist (born 29 July 1982 in Halifax, NS). Marc Djokic is one of Canada’s most accomplished violinists. Primarily a chamber musician, he has also performed as a soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Quebec Symphony Orchestra. He has played alongside such classical musicians as Beverley Johnston, James Ehnes, Jamie Parker and Measha Brueggergosman. Djokic received the prestigious Prix Goyer in 2017 and was named the concertmaster of the Orchestre classique de Montréal in 2018. He is the son of violinist Philippe Djokic and the brother of cellist Denise Djokic.

Article

Emily Carr

Emily Carr, painter, writer (born 13 December 1871 in Victoria, BC; died 2 March 1945 in Victoria). Along with Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven and David Milne, Emily Carr was one of the pre-eminent Canadian painters of the first half of the 20th century, and perhaps the most original. She was also one of the only major female artists of that period in either North America or Europe. Her bold, almost hallucinatory works depict nature as a furious vortex of organic growth. They have also been criticized as appropriations of Indigenous culture. Carr was also a celebrated author. Klee Wyck, a collection of short stories based on her experiences with Indigenous people, won a Governor General's Literary Award in 1941.

Article

Hector Charlesworth

Hector Willoughby Charlesworth, writer, editor, critic, memoirist (born 28 September 1872 in HamiltonON; died 30 December 1945 in Toronto, ON). Hector Charlesworth was a Toronto-based journalist and arts commentator, particularly on music and drama. He was editor of Saturday Night magazine (1926–32) and the first head of the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (1932–36), precursor of the CBC. His autobiography, in three volumes, is a splendid source of literary, political, journalistic and theatrical anecdotes. He bore an uncanny resemblance to Edward VII, and was perhaps best known for viciously criticising the Group of Seven.

Article

Wilton Littlechild

Jacob Wilton (Willie) Littlechild, CM, athlete, lawyer, Cree chief, politician, advocate for Indigenous rights (born 1 April 1944 in Hobbema, [now Maskwacîs] AB). Littlechild formed and coached Alberta’s first all-Indigenous junior hockey team and created the National Indian Athletic Association. He is a member of seven sports halls of fame. In 1976, Littlechild earned a law degree from the University of Alberta. He went on to become the first member of Parliament with Treaty Indian Status in Canada in 1988. Littlechild served as a commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2009. Throughout his career, Littlechild has promoted Indigenous rights both nationally and internationally.

Article

Sandra Oh

Sandra Miju Oh, OC, actor, producer (born 20 July 1971 in Nepean, ON). Sandra Oh is a versatile actor whose performances in film and television have won popular and critical acclaim. She won Genie Awards for her performances in Double Happiness (1994) and Last Night(1998) before gaining international recognition for her role in the successful ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy (2005–14). Her work has been groundbreaking for the visibility it has brought to roles for Asian actors in North America. With her lead role in the BBC America drama Killing Eve (2018–), Oh became the first actor of Asian heritage to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for best actress and the first to win a Golden Globe in that category since 1981. She was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2011 and won a Governor General's Performing Arts Award in 2019. She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2022.

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Deborah Cox

Deborah Cox, singer, songwriter, actor (born 13 July 1974 in Toronto, ON). One of Canada’s top R&B artists, Deborah Cox is known for her powerful, soulful voice and sultry ballads. “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” from her second album, One Wish (1998), set a record as the longest-running No. 1 R&B single in the US, staying atop the Billboard R&B Singles chart for 14 weeks. She has had six top 20 Billboard R&B singles and 13 No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart. She has received multiple Juno Awards and Grammy Award nominations and has appeared as an actor in film and television and on Broadway. In 2022, she became the first Black woman and only the second Black Canadian (after Oscar Peterson) to be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. She was also inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.

Article

Richard Semmens

Richard (Templar) Semmens. Musicologist, teacher (born 27 December 1950 in Vancouver, BC; died 2022 in London, ON). B MUS (British Columbia) 1973, M MUS (British Columbia) 1975, PH D (Stanford) 1980.

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Denny Christianson

Dennis Richard Christianson, trumpeter, flugelhornist, arranger, composer, bandleader, educator (born 12 September 1942 in Rockford, Illinois; died 10 February 2021). Denny Christianson was an important figure in the big band scene in Quebec. He formed the Denny Christianson Big Band in Montreal in 1981. It appeared annually at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (FIJM) and played internationally. Christianson also played and wrote for studio orchestras; recorded with such artists as Tony Bennett, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder; and taught at the University of Montreal, Concordia University, and McGill University. From 2001 until 2018, he was director of music studies at Toronto’s Humber College, where he developed one of the best jazz programs in the country.

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Ryan Reynolds

Ryan Rodney Reynolds, actor (born 23 October 1976 in Vancouver, BC). Charming, affable and boyishly handsome, Ryan Reynolds is one of the most recognized Canadian actors in Hollywood. He established his persona as a charismatic, quirky and quick-witted smart aleck in a wide range of Canadian and Hollywood films. They include the college comedy National Lampoon's Van Wilder (2002); the heist movie Foolproof (2003); the romantic comedies Definitely, Maybe (2008) and The Proposal (2009); and the action movies X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), Green Lantern (2011), Deadpool (2016) and Deadpool 2 (2018). He has a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has also pursued a variety of successful business ventures. He received a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award in 2021.

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Quebec Film History: 1990 to Present

This entry presents an overview of Quebec cinema, from the explosion that followed Denys Arcand’s Le déclin de l’empire américain (1986) to the setback that followed 10 years later and the new wave of filmmaking that emerged at the beginning of the 21st century. It highlights the most important films, whether in terms of box office success or international acclaim, and covers both narrative features and documentaries. It also draws attention to an aspect of filmmaking that still has difficulty finding its place: women's cinema.

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Quebec Film History: 1970 to 1989

This entry presents an overview of Québec cinema, from the burgeoning of a distinctly Québec cinema in the 1970s, to the production explosion that followed Denys Arcand’s Le déclin de l’empire américain (1986). It highlights the most important films, whether in terms of box office success or international acclaim, and covers both narrative features and documentaries. It also draws attention to an aspect of filmmaking that still has difficulty finding its place: women's cinema.

Article

Canadian Film History: Notable Films and Filmmakers 1980 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.