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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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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.

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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, the Pierre Berton Award from the Governor General’s History Awards for Popular Media, and the Luminary Award from the Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC).

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Gilles Ste-Croix

Gilles Ste-Croix, OC, street performer, businessman (born 1950 in La Sarre, Quebec). In 1984, Gilles Ste-Croix and Guy Laliberté transformed their troupe of street performers into Cirque du Soleil, the world’s largest circus production company and one of the world’s biggest live entertainment companies. Ste-Croix served as vice-president from the company’s founding and as creative director from 1988 until his retirement in 2014. He is a Companion of the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec and an Officer of the Order of Canada.

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Andy Kim

Andy Kim (born Andrew Youakim; also known as Baron Longfellow), songwriter, singer (born 5 December 1946 or 1952 in Montreal, QC). Andy Kim is one of Canada’s most successful singer-songwriters. He started out as a teenager writing songs for a television show and thus drew comparisons to Paul Anka and Neil Diamond. His hugely successfully pop hits — such as “Sugar, Sugar,” “Rock Me Gently,” “Baby I love You” and “How’d We Ever Get This Way” — have sold more than 30 million copies. He was the inaugural winner of the Juno Award for Top Male Vocalist in 1970 and enjoyed moderate success as Baron Longfellow in the 1980s and 1990s. Kim has been inducted into the Billboard Hit Parade Hall of Fame, the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (for “Sugar, Sugar”), Canada’s Walk of Fame and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

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Hannah Moscovitch

Hannah Moscovitch, playwright (born 5 June 1978 in Ottawa, ON). Hannah Moscovitch is one of Canada’s most produced and prominent contemporary playwrights. Her plays tackle complex and often politically charged issues and have won multiple Dora Awards. Moscovitch has also been nominated for the Carol Bolt Award, the Toronto Arts Council Foundation Emerging Artist Award, the K.M. Hunter Award, and the international Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She is the first playwright to win a Trillium Book Award and the first Canadian woman to win a Windham–Campbell Literature Prize, a $150,000 award from Yale University. She also won a 2021 Governor General’s Literary Award for her drama Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes.

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Elizabeth Smart

Elizabeth Smart, writer (born 27 December 1913 in Ottawa, ON; died 4 March 1986 in London, England). In 1945, a slim work with a long title — By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept — was published in England by Elizabeth Smart, an unknown Canadian writer living in London. The book was based on Smart’s love affair with the poet George Barker, and Smart’s mother used her influence with Prime Minister Mackenzie King to have the book banned from Canada. However, it was hailed as a masterpiece of poetic prose when it was later republished in paperback. In 2021, Marie Frankland’s French translation of Smart’s The Collected Poems won a Governor General’s Literary Award.  

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Ginette Noiseux

Ginette Noiseux, set and costume designer, theatre artistic director and general manager (born 23 January 1958 in Montreal, QC). Ginette Noiseux has designed costumes for some 60 productions by such theatre companies as Espace Go, Théâtre de Quatre Sous, Théâtre Expérimental de Montréal, the National Arts Centre, Opéra de Montréal and Théâtre de nouveau monde. She is a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de France, a Compagne of the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec, and a Member of the Order of Canada.

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Marie-Claire Blais

Marie-Claire Blais, CC, OC, MSRC, novelist, dramatist and poet (born 5 October 1939 in Quebec City, QC; died 30 November 2021 in Key West, Florida). Among the best known and most studied of Canadian authors, she has close to 50 works to her name. A proud activist in support of the francophonie, she explores violence, rebellion and hate, and other themes through her work.

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Alexina Louie

Alexina Diane Louie, OC, OOnt, FRSC, composer, pianist, teacher (born 30 July 1949 in Vancouver, BC). Alexina Louie is one of Canada’s most celebrated composers. She writes music with an imaginative and spiritual blend of Asian and Western influences. Her compositions have earned many prizes, including multiple Juno and SOCAN Awards. Her most significant works include Scenes from a Jade Terrace (1988), Music for Heaven and Earth (1990) and Bringing the Tiger Down from the Mountain II (2004). Louie is the first woman to receive the Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music and served as composer-in-residence at the Canadian Opera Company from 1996 to 2002. An Officer of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, she has received the Order of Ontario, the Molson Prize and a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.

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Bonnie Devine

Bonnie Devine, artist, writer, professor (born 12 April 1952 in Toronto, ON). A member of the Serpent River First Nation, Bonnie Devine is a prominent Ojibwe artist and writer. She has applied Ojibwe mythology and storytelling traditions to drawing, painting, sculpture, site-specific interventions, performance and video. She held a solo exhibition, The Tecumseh Papers, at the Art Gallery of Windsor in 2013. She was also featured with other Indigenous artists in Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes at the Art Gallery of Ontario. She is an Associate Professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University and is the founding chair of the school’s Indigenous Visual Culture Program. She received a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2021.

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Catherine O'Hara

Catherine Anne O'Hara, actor, writer, singer (born 4 March 1954 in Toronto, ON). Catherine O’Hara is one of Canada’s most acclaimed comedic actors. She is perhaps best known for her work in television on SCTV (1976–79, 1981–83) and Schitt’s Creek (2015–20), as well as for her roles in Home Alone (1990) and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), and her many collaborations with director Christopher Guest. The winner of Emmy, Golden Globe, Gemini, Genie and Canadian Screen Awards, she is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a member of Canada’s Walk of Fame. She received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in 2021.

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d'bi.young anitafrika

d'bi.young anitafrika (born Debbie Young), dub poet, playwright, actor (born 1978 in Kingston, Jamaica). A Dora Award–winning actress and playwright, d’bi.young anitafrika is best known for a trilogy of plays: the sankofa trilogy: bloodclaat: one oomaan story; benu; and word!sound!powah!. anitafrika is also the founder of the Watah Theatre Institute.

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Lise Payette

Lise Payette (née Ouimet), OQ, broadcaster, politician, writer and feminist activist (born 29 August 1931 in Verdun, Quebec; died 5 September 2018). A trailblazer in provincial politics, Payette was among the first women to sit in Quebec’s National Assembly. Prior to her 1976 election under the Parti Québécois banner, she pursued a successful career as a radio and television host with Radio-Canada. In 1979, she became the first minister of state for the Status of Women and oversaw a major family law reform that would significantly alter the Civil Code.

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Iwan Edwards

Iwan Edwards. Choral conductor, orchestral conductor (born 5 October 1937 in Wales; died 4 March 2022 in Lachine, QC). B MUS (University College of Wales) 1961. Listening to the London Symphony Orchestra and directing choirs in his youth inspired Iwan Edwards to pursue a career in music. He completed an undergraduate degree in violin at the University of Wales in 1961 and was subsequently offered a scholarship in orchestral conducting at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music (London). He declined the scholarship, dedicating himself instead to professional teaching and directing.

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Ukrainian Music in Canada

Towards the end of the 19th century large numbers of Ukrainians began to arrive in Canada; the majority settled in the Prairie provinces. By the late 1980s there were over 950,000 Ukrainian Canadians, the largest concentrations in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montreal.

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Farley Mowat

Farley Mowat, OC, author, environmentalist, activist (born 12 May 1921 in Belleville, Ontario; died 6 May 2014 in Port Hope, ON). Farley Mowat is one of Canada's most widely read authors. His books have been translated into 52 languages and have sold more than 17 million copies around the world. His works are bitterly attacked by some, highly praised by others; few readers remain neutral. His subject is frequently the defense of the natural world: his famous Never Cry Wolf (1963) is credited with changing the stereotypically negative perception of wolves as vicious killers. Sea of Slaughter (1984) chronicles the destruction of species in the North Atlantic. His Virunga: The Passion of Dian Fossey (1987) is a biography of the well-known primatologist.

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Ariane Moffatt

Ariane Moffatt, singer, songwriter and producer (born 26 April 1979 in Saint Romuald, today Lévis, QC). Ariane Moffatt sets herself apart with her urban pop style songs, whose alternately acoustic and electronic sounds lend them an airy, dreamlike quality. The recipient of numerous Félix Awards, including Revelation of the Year in 2003, she also won a Juno Award in 2009 for her album Tous les sens. That album was well received in France, where the singer has built valuable friendships in the artistic community; it also earned her the Grand Prix of the Académie Charles Cros.