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Guido Nincheri

Guido Nincheri, stained glass artist (b at Prato, Italy on 29 Sept 1885; d at Providence, Rhode Island on 1 Mar 1973), was possibly the most prolific religious artist in Canada during the 20th century. His stained glass and decorative work graces innumerable churches across the country as well as many New England states.

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Nino Ricci

Nino Ricci, novelist (b at Leamington, Ont 1959). Nino Ricci was born and grew up in Leamington, Ont, the new Canadian home of his Italian immigrant parents. His university studies took him to York University, Concordia University, and the University of Florence. Ricci has taught literature and creative writing, and was the Writer-in-Residence at the University of Windsor in 2005-06. He has also served as president of PEN Canada.

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Drew Hayden Taylor

Drew Hayden Taylor, playwright, broadcaster, writer (born 1 July 1962 in Curve Lake First Nation near Peterborough, ON). Drew Hayden Taylor is a leading Indigenous playwright and humorist. His award-winning plays have been produced in Canada, the United States, and Europe. His novels have been nominated for several awards, including the Governor General’s Award for fiction. He has also written numerous scripts for television series including The Beachcombers, North of 60, and Mixed Blessings. Taylor’s writings have significantly contributed to Indigenous literature in Canada. (See also Influential Indigenous Authors in Canada.)

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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.

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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).

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Elliot Page

Elliot Page (born Ellen Philpotts-Page), actor, activist, producer (born 21 February 1987 in Halifax, NS). Elliot Page is a serious, soulful and intelligent actor, and one of Canada’s biggest movie stars. A seasoned child performer, Page started out in Canadian feature films and TV series, winning two Gemini Awards by the age of 18. Page’s intense performance in the American indie Hard Candy (2005) led to high-profile roles in X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and the indie smash Juno (2007). Juno earned Page an Independent Spirit Award and an Oscar nomination. Adept at quirky comedy (Whip It, Super), intimate drama (Marion Bridge, Mouth to Mouth) and big-budget blockbusters (Inception, the X-Men franchise), Page is equally well-known for environmental activism, advocacy for LGBTQ rights and a grounded, socially-conscious persona.

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Alfred Garson

Alfred Henrik Garson, violinist, teacher, composer, author (born 22 October 1924 in Berthier-en-Haut (now Berthierville), QC; died 23 May 2022 in Montreal, QC). Violin teacher Alfred Garson was one of Canada’s leading advocates of the Suzuki method. He studied with Shinichi Suzuki at the Eastman School of Music and was named director of the Suzuki program at McGill University in 1970. He is the author of The Suzuki Teaching Method and wrote widely on the subject.

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Susan Jacks

Susan Elizabeth Jacks (nee Pesklevits), singer, songwriter (born 19 August 1948 in Saskatoon, SK; died 25 April 2022 in Surrey, BC). Susan Jacks was the second Canadian woman (after Lucille Starr) to earn a gold record in the US, for "Which Way You Goin' Billy." The song earned her and her first husband, Terry Jacks, two Juno Awards in 1970. Three solo Juno nominations followed, as did a Grammy Award nomination for a children's song. Susan Jacks was inducted into the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2010.

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Fabienne Larouche

Fabienne Larouche, (born Saint-André-du Lac-Saint-Jean, QC, 26 Oct 1958- ) A native of Lac-Saint-Jean, Fabienne Larouche grew up in Sainte-Thérèse on the outskirts of Montréal. She quickly discovered that her chosen career of teaching (like her mother and maternal grandmother) did not suit her.

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Xavier Dolan

Xavier Dolan (born Xavier Dolan-Tadros), CM, actor, director, writer, producer, editor, costume designer (born 20 March 1989 in Montreal, QC). A precocious practitioner of auteurist art cinema, Xavier Dolan garnered international acclaim at age 20 for his debut feature, J’ai tué ma mère (I Killed My Mother, 2009). His next four award-winning films — Les amours imaginaires (Heartbeats, 2010), Laurence Anyways (2012), Tom à la ferme (Tom at the Farm, 2013) and Mommy (2014) — were completed by the time he was 25. His sixth movie, Juste la fin du monde (It’s Only the End of the World, 2016), won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival and six Canadian Screen Awards. Dolan has also directed notable music videos for Adele and won a 2022 Juno Award for “Easy On Me.” He was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2019.

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Tomson Highway

Tomson Highway, OC, playwright, novelist, pianist and songwriter (born 6 December 1951 in northwestern Manitoba). Highway is one of the most prominent and influential Indigenous writers in Canada. His works discuss and explore important issues affecting First Nations people, including residential schools, reserve life, Indigenous identity and more. Highway is an Officer of the Order of Canada and in 1998 was named one of the 100 most important people in Canadian history by Maclean’s. Tomson received the Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement at the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards in 2022. (See also Influential Indigenous Writers in Canada.)

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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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David Skulski

Murray David Skulski, oboist, English horn player, early music specialist, teacher (born 29 November 1942 in Moose Jaw, SK). David Skulski began performing with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in 1960 at the age of 17. He began playing with the Vancouver Folk Orchestra in 1991 and was its conductor from 1997 to 2004. He has since been principal oboe for several orchestras. He also founded Hortulani Musicae in 1968 and the Vancouver Society for Early Music in 1970. He has been president of the Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture and serves on the board of the Vancouver Chamber Music Society.

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Christopher Pratt

John Christopher Pratt, CC, ONL, painter, printmaker (born 9 December 1935 in St John's, NL; died 5 June 2022 in Salmonier River, NL). Christopher Pratt is considered one of the greatest classicists of contemporary Canadian painting, alongside his mentor, Alex Colville. Pratt is well known for his meticulous and pristine studies with typically Atlantic settings. He designed Newfoundland and Labrador’s provincial flag in 1980 and was called “Canada’s most famous living painter” by the Globe and Mail in 2013. He was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1983 and received the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2018.

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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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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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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.