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Dionne Brand

Dionne Brand, CM, FRSC, poet, writer, filmmaker, educator, activist (born 7 January 1953 in Guayaguayare, Trinidad). Dionne Brand is one of Canada’s most accomplished poets. She is known for her experimental poetry, which challenges assumptions of gender identity, sexuality and race. She has published books, contributed to anthologies, and directed and edited several documentaries for the National Film Board. She has also held various positions teaching literature, creative writing and women’s studies at universities across Canada and the United States. Winner of the Governor General’s Award and the Griffin Poetry Prize, and a former poet laureate of Toronto, Brand was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2017 for her contributions to Canadian literature.

Article

Simon Streatfeild

Simon Nicholas Streatfeild, conductor, violist (born 5 October 1929 in Windsor, England; died 7 December 2019). Simon Streatfeild was an accomplished violist and conductor. He began his career in his native England with London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sadler’s Wells Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. He also helped found the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields chamber orchestra. He moved to Canada in 1965 and held many positions with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra while also conducting across Canada and internationally. He was a founding member of the Baroque Strings of Vancouver, the founding director of the Courtenay Youth Music Camp, and a founding member of the Purcell String Quartet. In his later years, Streatfeild served as principal guest conductor and artistic advisor of Orchestra London Canada, Symphony Nova Scotia, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra. He received the Canadian Music Council Medal in 1987 and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Article

Robert Creech

Robert Edward Creech, French hornist, teacher, administrator (born 26 September 1928 in Victoria, BC; died 20 December 2019 in Quilty, Ireland). Robert Creech was a successful musician, educator and arts administrator. He performed with symphony orchestras across Canada, taught at the University of Western Ontario and served as an administrator in Canada, England and Ireland.

Article

Kenneth Edison Danby

He began as an abstract painter, though a visit to an exhibition of Andrew Wyeth's work at Buffalo, New York, in 1962 confirmed his disenchantment with abstraction. He turned to painting carefully posed, snapshot-like views, often of rural Ontario seen in a strong light.

Article

Derek Holman

Derek Holman, CM, composer, organist, choir conductor, professor (born 16 May 1931 in Illogan, England; died 20 May 2019 in Ottawa, ON). Derek Holman worked at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Croydon Parish Church and the Royal School of Church Music in the United Kingdom before moving to Canada in 1965. He was organist-choirmaster at Toronto’s Grace Church on-the-Hill, choirmaster at Bishop Strachan School and a professor at the University of Toronto. He was perhaps best known for his collaborations with Robertson Davies, including on the children’s opera Doctor Canon’s Cure (1982). Holman was an associate of the Canadian Music Centre and a member of the Canadian League of Composers. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Church Music in 1972 and a Member of the Order of Canada in 2002.

Article

Michael Colgrass

Michael Colgrass, composer, percussionist (born 22 April 1932 in Brookfield, Illinois; died 2 July 2019 in Toronto, ON). Michael Colgrass played with the New York Philharmonic and Stravinsky’s Columbia Recording Orchestra in New York before moving to Toronto in 1974. He is perhaps best known for winning the Pulitzer Prize in music in 1978 for Déjà Vu (1977), a concerto for percussion quartet and orchestra. Colgrass also won first prizes from the Louis B. Sudler International Wind Band Competition and the US National Band Association for his wind ensemble composition Winds of Nagual (1985). His Strangers: Irreconcilable Variations for Clarinet, Viola and Piano won the Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music in 1988.

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Acadian Heritage

This collection explores the rich heritage of the Acadians through articles and exhibits, as well as quizzes on arts and culture, history and politics, historical figures, and places associated with the Acadian people.

Article

Joseph Rouleau

Joseph Alfred Pierre Rouleau, CC, GOQ, bass, teacher (born 28 February 1929 in Matane, QC; died 12 July 2019 in Montreal, QC). Opera singer Joseph Rouleau was renowned worldwide for his unerring theatrical sense and impressive vocal flexibility. He performed for 20 years with Covent Garden in London, where he played leading roles in more than 40 productions. In Canada, Rouleau appeared often with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Quebec Symphony Orchestra. He premiered the role of Monseigneur Taché in Harry Somers’s Louis Riel with the Canadian Opera Company (COC) in 1967. He also commissioned and premiered Jacques Hétu’s Les Abîmes du rêve with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra in 1984, and issued a recording of songs by Félix Leclerc in 1990. Rouleau received the Prix de musique Calixa-Lavallée, the Prix Denise-Pelletier and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. He was made an Officer and then Companion of the Order of Canada, and an Officer and then Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec. He was inducted into the Canadian Opera Hall of Fame in 1992.

Article

Christie Blatchford

Christie Blatchford, journalist, newspaper columnist, writer, broadcaster (born 20 May 1951 in Rouyn-Noranda, QC; died 12 February 2020 in Toronto, ON). Christie Blatchford was one of Canada’s best-known journalists. In a career spanning five decades, she wrote for all of Canada’s national daily newspapers — the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and the National Post — as well as the Toronto Sun. She also published several books, including Fifteen Days: Stories of Bravery, Friendship, Life and Death from Inside the New Canadian Army (2008), which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction. Blatchford won a National Newspaper Award for her columns in 1999 and was inducted into the Canadian News Hall of Fame in November 2019. She was a conservative writer who focused mainly on crime, human suffering and criminal justice. Her often controversial views prompted strong reactions and media responses.

Article

Clifford Wiens

Clifford Donald Wiens, architect, designer, teacher (born 27 April 1926 in Glenn Kerr, SK; died 25 January 2020 in Vancouver, BC). Clifford Wiens’s distinguished body of work reflects both corporate modern architecture and a broader expressionist movement. Wiens was known for his superb and inventive architectural and structural details, as well as for his simple but strong forms. His distinctive approach to structure and form was shaped by his relationship with the abstract painters in the Regina Five and his background in industrial design. Wiens won two Massey Awards and the Prix du XXe siècle from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. Following his death in 2020, the Globe and Mail called him Saskatchewan’s “leading architect of the postwar era.”

Article

Joe Rosenblatt

Joseph Rosenblatt, poet, artist, editor (born 26 December 1933 in Toronto, ON; died 11 March 2019 in Qualicum Beach, BC). Joe Rosenblatt was a prolific and influential poet who published 18 books of poetryand several works of fiction. According to Quill & Quire, Rosenblatt’s poetry was known for its “signature combination of formalism, syntactic wildness, bizarre and often threatening nature imagery, and an undercurrent of Jewish spiritualism.” His poetry collection Top Soil won the Governor General’s Literary Awardin 1976. Rosenblatt was also a literary consultant and an editor of literary magazines, as well as an accomplished illustratorand writing teacher.

Article

Michael Rubbo

Rubbo emerged as an important new voice in documentary cinema (seeFILM, DOCUMENTARY) in 1970 when he directed Sad Song of Yellow Skin, a film about his own experiences on a visit to Saigon during the Vietnam War.

Article

Joy Kogawa

Joy Nozomi Kogawa (née Nakayama), CM, OBC, poet, novelist, activist (born 6 June 1935 in Vancouver, BC). Joy Kogawa is one of the most influential Canadian authors of Japanese descent. She is celebrated both for her moving, fictionalized accounts of the internment of Japanese Canadians and her work in the Redress Movement to obtain compensation and reparation for her community. She is a Member of the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia, as well as Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun.

Article

Mr. Dressup

Mr. Dressup was one of Canada’s most beloved and longest-running children’s television series. The program ran for 29 years (1967–96) and more than 4,000 episodes. It starred Ernie Coombs as the jovial Mr. Dressup and was a precursor to the popular American series, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Mr. Dressup was influential in tailoring children’s programming towards developing the child’s emotional and logical intelligence. The series won three Gemini Awards and earned Coombs an appointment to the Order of Canada. A 2017 crowd-sourced online vote unofficially declared Mr. Dressup Canada’s most memorable television program. In 2019, Mr. Dressup was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame.  

Article

Jian Ghomeshi

Jian Ghomeshi, singer, songwriter, musician, broadcaster, writer, manager (born 9 June 1967 in London, England). Jian Ghomeshi was a member of the quirky, alternative pop-folk group Moxy Früvous from 1990 to 2001. He parlayed that recognition into a radio and television career with the CBC, hosting such entertainment talk shows as >play, The National Playlist and Q. He wrote a best-selling memoir, 1982 (2012), about growing up as an Iranian Canadian in Thornhill, Ontario, and stayed active in the music business as an artist manager. His career and national profile unravelled in the fall of 2014 when he was fired by the CBC and charged with sexual assault in incidents involving several women (see Jian Ghomeshi Case).

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Canadian Film History: 1939 to 1973

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, distributionand 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: Regional Cinema and Auteurs, 1980 to Present.