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Matt Cohen

​Matt Cohen, novelist, short story writer, poet, author of children’s books (born 30 December 1942 in Kingston, ON; died 2 December 1999 in Toronto, ON).

Article

Don McManus

Donald Leslie McManus, bass, actor (born 30 August 1932 in Edmonton, AB; died 24 February 2020 in Toronto, ON). While studying voice 1950-8 in Vancouver with Anna Nicholls and William Morton, he made his acting debut (1952) at TUTS. Dramatic and singing engagements followed with such organizations as the Vancouver International Festival (1958, Commendatore in Don Giovanni), the Bastion Theatre in Victoria, the Vancouver Opera, Melodyland in Berkeley, Cal, and the J.C. Williamson Theatre Co in Australia, which invited him to perform in several Gilbert & Sullivan operettas.

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Wayson Choy

Wayson Choy, CM, writer, teacher (born 20 April 1939 in Vancouver. BC; died 28 April 2019 in Toronto, ON). Wayson Choy was an influential Chinese Canadian novelist, memoirist and short-story writer. His debut novel, The Jade Peony (1995), tells an intimate tale of an immigrant family living in Vancouver’s Chinatown during the Second World War. It won the Trillium Book Award and the City of Vancouver Book Award in 1996. His second novel, All That Matters (2004), won the Trillium Book Award and was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. His first memoir, Paper Shadows: A Chinatown Childhood (1999), won the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. An openly gay man, Choy was also an advocate for LGBTQ2S rights as well as a dedicated teacher and mentor.

Article

Dan Hill

Daniel Grafton Hill IV, singer, songwriter, guitarist, writer (born 3 June 1954 in Toronto, ON). Dan Hill is a successful adult contemporary singer and songwriter. Known for his plaintive voice and unabashedly sentimental lyrics, he achieved international stardom at age 23 with the hit single “Sometimes When We Touch.” In addition to his solo work, Hill has enjoyed a long career as a pop and country songwriter. He has amassed over 100 million in sales for his songs, which have been recorded by such artists as Céline Dion, Britney Spears, Alan Jackson and Reba McEntire. Hill has won five Juno Awards, a Grammy Award, five SOCAN Awards for outstanding radio airplay in Canada, and six ASCAP Awards for airplay in the United States. He was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2021.

Article

Kim Thúy

Kim Thúy, CQ, writer (born 18 September 1968 in Saigon, Vietnam). The winner of several prestigious literary awards for her first novel, Ru, this Quebec writer of Vietnamese origin is known for her short and elegant stories. Her novels deal with the migrant experience and the challenges of adapting to a new culture. Written in French, which Thúy calls her “second mother tongue,” they have been translated into 15 languages.

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Mordecai Richler

Mordecai Richler, CC, novelist, essayist, social critic (born 27 January 1931 in Montréal, QC; died 3 July 2001 in Montréal, QC). A singular figure in Canadian literary and cultural history, Richler remained, in the words of critic Robert Fulford, “the loyal opposition to the governing principles of Canadian culture” throughout his long and productive career. His instincts were to ask hard, uncomfortable questions and to take clear, often unpopular moral positions. Born into an Orthodox family in Montréal’s old Jewish neighborhood, a community he immortalized in his work, he was from the start a complex and uncompromising figure, at once rejecting many of the formal tenets of his faith while embracing its intellectual and ethical rigour. That tension, along with an innately absurdist vision of life, a raw, bracing comedic sensibility, and a fearlessness about speaking his mind, as both artist and citizen, ensured that nearly every word he published displayed a distinctive sensibility. No one else sounded like Mordecai Richler, and few other writers in Canada have ever demanded, and maintained, such a high profile as both an admired literary novelist and a frequently controversial critic. A Companion of the  Order of Canada, two-time winner of the Governor General’s Award (1968 and 1971), and winner of the Giller Prize, Mordecai Richler is without question one of Canada’s greatest writers.

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Jay Silverheels

Jay Silverheels, actor (born on 26 May 1919 on the Six Nations reserve; died on 5 March 1980 in Woodland Hills, California). Silverheels is perhaps best known for his role as Tonto in the Lone Ranger films.

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Graeme Ferguson

Ivan Graeme Ferguson, filmmaker, executive (born 7 October 1929 in Toronto, Ontario; died 8 May 2021 in Norway Point, Ontario). Ivan Graeme Ferguson has been the recipient of numerous awards and acclaim for his contributions to the film industry, both in Canada and internationally.

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Winnifred Eaton (Onoto Watanna)

Winnifred Eaton Babcock Reeve (a.k.a. Onoto Watanna), author, screenwriter (born 21 August 1875 in Montreal, QC; died 8 April 1954 in Butte, Montana). Winnifred Eaton achieved literary fame under the pseudonym Onoto Watanna. She was the first person of Asian descent to publish a novel in the United States — Miss Numè of Japan (1899) — and to reach a mainstream audience. Her novel A Japanese Nightingale (1901) was adapted into a Broadway play and a motion picture. She also wrote screenplays for Hollywood and two novels, Cattle (1924) and His Royal Nibs (1925), about ranching life in Alberta.

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Maria Campbell

Maria Campbell, O.C., Cree-Métis writer, playwright, filmmaker, scholar, teacher and elder (born 26 April 1940 in Park Valley, SK). Campbell’s memoir Halfbreed (1973) is regarded as a foundational piece of Indigenous literature in Canada for its attention to the discrimination, oppression and poverty that some Métis women (and Indigenous people, in general) experience in Canada. Campbell has authored several other books and plays, and has directed and written scripts for a number of films. As an artist, Campbell has worked with Indigenous youth in community theatre and advocated for the hiring and recognition of Indigenous people in the arts. She has mentored many Indigenous artists during her career.

Article

Larry Lake

Larry Ellsworth Lake, composer, trumpeter, broadcaster, producer (born 2 Jul 1943 in Greenville, Pennsylvania; died 17 September 2013 in Toronto, ON). Larry Lake was perhaps best known as the long-time host of CBC Radio Two’s flagship new music program, Two New Hours (1978–2007). A founding member of the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, he also performed widely as a soloist and was an accomplished composer. He was a member of the Canadian League of Composers and the Canadian Electroacoustic Community and an associate of the Canadian Music Centre. He received awards from the Canadian Music Council (1982, 1984, 1987) and three Juno Award nominations, as well as the Friends of Canadian Music Award in 2002.

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Jack Sirulnikoff

Jack Sirulnikoff, composer, teacher, clarinetist, computer programmer (born 11 December 1931 in Winnipeg, MB; died 22 December 2017). Associate in music performance (McGill) 1956, B MUS composition (McGill) 1956, MA composition (Bennington) 1960, M MUS (Toronto) 1971.

Article

Daphne Odjig

Daphne Odjig, CM, OBC, visual artist (born 11 September 1919 at Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, Manitoulin Island, ON; died 1 October 2016 in Kelowna, BC).

Article

Denis Côté

Denis Côté, writer, producer, director, critic (born 16 November 1973 in Grand Falls, NB). Filmmaker Denis Côté has won acclaim and awards in Canada and internationally for his independent features and documentaries. He is known as an uncompromising and prolific maverick who challenges audiences rather than offering crystal clear, classically structured narratives. A former film critic, Côté writes, directs and produces films that are starkly minimalist, strangely poetic, dryly funny and thematically enigmatic. His deadpan style and marginalized characters have earned him an international reputation as one of Canada’s leading auteurs.