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Norm Macdonald

Norman Gene Macdonald, standup comedian, actor, writer, producer (born 17 October 1963 in Quebec City, QC; died 14 September 2021). Norm Macdonald was known for his irreverent humor and low-key delivery, and particularly for his work on NBC’s Saturday Night Live (SNL).

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Aziz Ahmad

Aziz Ahmad, novelist, short story writer, critic, translator, historian (born 11 November 1914 in Hyderabad Deccan [present-day India]; died 16 December 1978 in Toronto, ON).

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Shawn Mendes

Shawn Peter Raul Mendes, singer, songwriter, model, mental health advocate (born 8 August 1998 in Pickering, ON). Pop phenom Shawn Mendes followed in the footsteps of earlier Canadian pop music star Justin Bieber, building a following for himself online in his teens before signing with a major label. Mendes is the only artist to have four No. 1 singles on the Adult Pop Songs chart before the age of 20. Released when he was 16, his first full-length studio album, Handwritten (2015), debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and quickly went platinum in the US. In fact, his first four albums all debuted at No. 1. Together they have sold more than 4 million copies in the US, while Mendes’s singles have sold more than 13 million copies. He has received 11 Juno Awards and 20 SOCAN Awards, as well as three Grammy Award nominations.

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Alanis Morissette

Alanis Nadine Morissette, singer, songwriter, producer, actor, activist (born 1 June 1974 in OttawaON). Alanis Morissette is one of Canada’s most recognized and internationally acclaimed singer-songwriters. She established herself as a Juno-winning teen pop star in Canada before adopting an edgy alternative rock sound. She exploded onto the world stage with her record-breaking international debut, Jagged Little Pill (1995). It sold more than 16 million copies in the United States and 33 million worldwide. It is the highest-selling debut album by a female artist in the US and the best-selling debut album ever worldwide. It is also the best-selling album of the 1990s and the first album by a Canadian artist to sell more than two million copies in Canada. Described by Rolling Stone magazine as the “undisputed queen of alt-rock angst,” Morissette has won 13 Juno Awards and seven Grammy Awards. She has sold 60 million albums worldwide, including Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (1998), Under Rug Swept (2002) and Flavors of Entanglement (2008). Also an actor and activist, she is a member of the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame, the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame.

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Lucy Maud Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery, OBE, writer (born 30 November 1874 in Clifton (now New London), PEI; died 24 April 1942 in Toronto, ON). Lucy Maud Montgomery is arguably Canada’s most widely read author. Her first novel, Anne of Green Gables (1908), became an instant best-seller. It has remained in print for more than a century, making the character of Anne Shirley a mythic icon of Canadian culture. Montgomery produced more than 500 short stories, 21 novels, two poetry collections, and numerous journal and essay anthologies. Her body of work has sold an estimated 50 million copies worldwide. Anne of Green Gables alone has been translated into at least 36 languages as well as braille. It has been adapted dozens of times in various mediums. Montgomery was named an Officer of both the Order of the British Empire and the Literary and Artistic Institute of France. She was the first Canadian woman to be made a member of the British Royal Society of Arts and she was declared a Person of National Historic Significance in Canada.

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Catherine Lafortune

Catherine Lafortune, ballet dancer (born 17 February 1961 in Montreal, QC). At the age of seven, Catherine Lafortune enthusiastically responded to the call of dance and took courses in the Cecchetti method at the La Volière studio. Completing her examinations with distinction, she entered the dance academy of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. Through the years of her apprenticeship (ages 15 to 17) she undertook intensive training at York University, where her talent was noticed by the teaching staff.

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Claude Lagacé

Claude Pierre Édouard Lagacé, organist, choirmaster, educator (born 1 May 1917 in Sorel, QC; died 7 February 2019 in Quebec City). BA (Laval) 1938, B PH (Laval) 1939, B MUS (Laval) 1954, Associate American Guild of Organists 1957.

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Patricia Beatty

Patricia Beatty, CM, dancer, choreographer, teacher and director (born 13 May 1936 in Toronto, ON; died 20 November 2020 in Toronto). As an inspirational teacher and mentor to young dancers and through the example of her rigorous, uncompromising artistic principles, Beatty played a seminal role in fostering the growth of modern dance (see dance, modern) performance and choreography in Canada.

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André Lortie

André Lortie, tenor (born 11 May 1930 in Montreal, Quebec). André Lortie handled tragic roles as easily as comic parts. His performances of Beppe in I Pagliacci and Spoletta in Tosca established his reputation in Canada as a singer of character roles.

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Mary Riter Hamilton

Mary Matilda Hamilton (née Riter), artist (born 7 September c. 1867 in Teeswater, ON; died 5 April 1954 in Coquitlam, BC). Mary Riter Hamilton was a painter who exhibited her works in Europe and across Canada. Shortly after the fighting stopped, Hamilton travelled to Europe to paint First World War battlefield landscapes before they were cleared (see War Artists). She produced over 350 works in three years, which are a document of the destruction and devastation caused by the war.

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Allan Fotheringham

Allan Fotheringham (born Murray Allan Scott), columnist, author, humourist (born 31 August 1932 in Hearne, SK; died 19 August 2020 in Toronto, ON). Allan Fotheringham was Canada's best-read political columnist. Combining a vivid comic sense with the instincts of a superb reporter, Fotheringham  produced some of the funniest, most penetrating political commentary of his generation.

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Sylvia Hamilton

Sylvia D. Hamilton, filmmaker, writer, educator (born in Beechville, NS). Sylvia Hamilton specializes in re-evaluating Canadian history and focusing on the perspectives of Black Canadians, particularly Black Canadian women. Her films include Black Mother Black Daughter (1989); the Gemini Award winner Speak It! From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia (1993); the biographical documentary Portia White: Think On Me (2000); and The Little Black School House (2007). She has received many honours and awards, including the Nova Scotia Portia White Prize and honorary degrees from several universities.

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Jennifer Hodge de Silva

Jennifer Hodge de Silva, née Hodge, documentary filmmaker (born 28 January 1951 in Montreal, QC; died 5 May 1989 in Montreal). Jennifer Hodge de Silva was a pioneering African Canadian filmmaker of the 1970s and 1980s. She was the first Black filmmaker to work consistently with both the National Film Board and the CBC. She produced an acclaimed and influential body of work known as realist social issue documentary. Her highly regarded film Home Feeling: A Struggle for Community (1983), co-directed with Robert McTair, is widely taught in film studies programs throughout Canada.

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Lorena Gale

Lorena Gale, actor, playwright, activist (born 9 May 1958 in Montreal, QC; died 21 June 2009 in Vancouver, BC). Lorena Gale was an award-winning actor and playwright who achieved a strong body of work in Canadian theatre. Her acclaimed 1995 play Angélique tells the story of Marie-Joseph Angélique, an enslaved Black woman who was hanged in Montreal for arson in 1734. Gale spent a season with the Shaw Festival and served as artistic director of Montreal’s Black Theatre Workshop. She also appeared in more than 130 films and television series. In 2009, the Union of BC Performers created the Lorena Gale Woman of Distinction Award in her honour.

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Thomas King

Thomas King, CM, novelist, short-story writer, essayist, screenwriter, photographer (born 24 April 1943 in Roseville, California). A Member of the Order of Canada and two-time nominee for the Governor General’s Award, Thomas King is often described as one of the finest contemporary Indigenous writers in North America.

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Monique Mercure

Monique Mercure, née Émond, CC, actor (born 14 November 1930 in Montreal, QC; died 16 May 2020 in Outremont, QC ). The career of this distinguished actress, among the most visible on Quebec and Canadian stages and screens, has broad international appeal. Performing some one hundred major theatre roles in French and English, her spirit, intensity and hearty laugh made a mark on several television series and award-winning films.

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Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Yannick Nicholas Nézet-Séguin, CC, OQ, conductor, pianist (born 6 March 1975 in Montréal, QC). Known for brilliance, energy and consummate skill from an uncommonly young age, Yannick Nézet-Séguin made a meteoric rise to prominence as a conductor, particularly of operas. His appointments as music director of Montréal’s Orchestre Métropolitain (2000–) the Philadelphia Orchestra (2012–) and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (2008–18) made him an international star. He was made a Companion of the Order of Canada at age 37 and an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec at 40. In 2016, he was named music director of The Metropolitan Opera, a position he officially began in September 2018. His many honours include numerous Félix Awards, the National Arts Centre Award, the Virginia Parker Prize and the Prix Denise-Pelletier.

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Frederick Hall, VC

Frederick William Hall, VC, soldier, musician, clerk (born 21 February 1885 in Kilkenny, Ireland; died 24 April 1915 near Ypres, Belgium). During the First World War, Sergeant-Major Fred Hall was the first of three soldiers, all from the same street in Winnipeg, to be awarded the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest award for bravery among troops of the British Empire. The three VCs earned by the men of Pine Street — later named Valour Road — was a feat unmatched in any other part of the Empire.

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Jovette Marchessault

Jovette Marchessault, novelist, playwright, painter, sculptor (born 9 February 1938 in Montreal, QC; died 31 December 2012 in Danville, QC). Jovette Marchessault was a self-taught multidisciplinary artist. She won major prizes for her literary and theatrical works and made a unique mark on francophone culture. Supported by a deep and lyrical voice, her work celebrates words through myths and liberating poetic language. Her body of work stands as a tribute to women of all backgrounds, notably female artists and writers. She co-founded the international publishing house Squawtach Press, contributed to many publications and was a lecturer in the theatre department at the Université du Québec à Montréal. She won the prix France-Quebec and the Governor General’s Drama Award, among other honours.

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Robertine Barry (Françoise)

Robertine Barry (pen name: Françoise), journalist, publisher, author and feminist (born 26 February 1863 in L’Isle-Verte, Canada East; died 7 January 1910 in Montréal, Québec). The first French-Canadian woman journalist, she was also a founding member of the Fédération nationale Saint-Jean-Baptiste and the first vice-president of the Canadian Women’s Press Club.