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Jackie Richardson

Jackie Richardson, actor, singer (born 1947 in Donora, Pennsylvania). Jackie Richardson is an award-winning singer and actor whose career spans more than five decades. She has been called Canada’s reigning queen of jazz, blues and gospel, and has received a Maple Blues Award for lifetime achievement. She is also a Gemini Award and Dora Award-winning actor who has appeared in numerous musical theatre productions, films and television series. In 2014, the Toronto Star named Richardson one of 180 people who have helped shaped the city since it was founded. She was made an Honorary Member of the Order of Canada in 2021.

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Joyce Hahn

Joyce Hahn, singer, TV host (born 31 January 1929 in Eatonia, SK; died 13 December 2021 in Sparks, Nevada). As a child, Hahn performed from the mid-1930s to the early 1940s with The Harmony Kids, a family troupe formed by her father, Harvey, and including her brothers Bob and Lloyd and sister Kay.

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Keanu Reeves

Keanu Charles Reeves, actor, producer, director, musician (born 2 September 1964 in Beirut, Lebanon). Keanu Reeves is one of the most recognizable film actors in the world. After early work in Toronto with the CBC and the NFB, he moved to Los Angeles and made a meteoric rise to stardom in such films as Dangerous Liaisons (1988), Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), Point Break (1991) and My Own Private Idaho (1991). He is perhaps best known for action-adventure movies such as Speed (1994), the John Wick franchise and the four Matrix movies. He has been honoured with a star on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame.

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Bruce Cockburn

Bruce Douglas Cockburn, OC, singer, songwriter, guitarist, activist (born 27 May 1945 in Ottawa, ON). Bruce Cockburn is one of Canada’s preeminent singer-songwriters, guitarists and social-justice activists. His music blends folk, rock, pop and jazz, and typically addresses spiritual themes and global issues from a politically charged perspective. He has had 17 albums certified gold in Canada and three certified platinum, and has sold more than seven million copies worldwide. The winner of 11 Juno Awards from 31 nominations, he has also received the inaugural Allan Waters Humanitarian Award and the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award. He has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and Canada's Walk of Fame. Recognized as “a latter-day wandering minstrel whose songs reflect the discontents of modern society,” he received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awardfor Lifetime Artistic Achievement, and was made a Member (1982) and Officer (2002) of the Order of Canada.

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Alain Simard

Alain Simard, OC, COQ impresario, talent manager, producer, businessman (born 19 January 1950 in Montreal, QC). Alain Simard has been a leading figure in Quebec’s entertainment sector since the early 1970s. He is responsible for the conception and founding of some of Canada’s biggest annual festivals, including the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (FIJM) and the FrancoFolies de Montréal, one of the largest French-language music festivals in the world. Simard is also chairman of the board of Équipe Spectra, which manages and operates festivals and performance venues, mounts stage productions, runs a record label and manages artists. In 2003, Simard was named the most influential person in the cultural world by the Montreal newspaper La Presse. He is a Chevalier of France’s Arts et des Lettres, of the Ordre de la Pléiade, and of the Ordre national du Québec; as well as an Officer of the Order of Canada.

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Jully Black

Jully Ann Inderia Gordon, singer, songwriter, actor, TV personality (born 8 November 1977 in Toronto, ON). Jully Black is known as “Canada’s Queen of R&B.” In 2013, CBC Music named her one of the 25 Greatest Canadian Singers Ever. Her rich and soulful alto voice has drawn comparisons to Tina Turner and Amy Winehouse. She has won a Juno Award from 10 nominations and has written songs for Destiny’s Child, Nas, Sean Paul and Missy Elliott, among others. She also started her own recording, management and publishing company, and her own fitness enterprise. Black has appeared onstage in productions of trey anthony’s play Da Kink in My Hair and Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s musical Caroline, or Change; the latter earned Black a 2020 Dora Award. She is also a popular television and radio host and panel guest. She was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2021.

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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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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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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.