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Rachel McAdams

Rachel Anne McAdams, actor (born 17 November 1978 in London, ON). Rachel McAdams is perhaps best known as a leading lady in such Hollywood romances as The Notebook (2004), The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009) and The Vow (2012). After graduating with a BFA from York University in 2001, she made a meteoric rise to stardom, going from a Gemini Award-winning role in the Canadian TV series Slings & Arrows (2003) to her breakthrough Hollywood performance in the hit high school comedy Mean Girls (2004). She was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2014 and received Screen Actors Guild and Oscar nominations for her supporting performance in the Oscar-winning Spotlight (2015).

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Gordon A. Smith

Gordon Appelbe Smith, CM, OBC, painter, printmaker, teacher, philanthropist (born 18 June 1919 in East Brighton, England; died 18 January 2020 in West Vancouver, BC). Gordon Smith was a key figure in Vancouver’s art scene during the latter half of the 20th century. He was best known for his monumental, modernist abstractions of the West Coast landscape, and for his long and influential career as a teacher and philanthropist. He was made a Member of the Order of Canada for making “a major contribution to the development of the fine arts in Canada.” He also received the Order of British Columbia, the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts, and the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts.

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Robertine Barry (Françoise)

Robertine Barry (pen name: Françoise), journalist, publisher, author and feminist (born 26 February 1863 in L’Isle-Verte, Canada East; died 7 January 1910 in Montréal, Québec). The first French-Canadian woman journalist, she was also a founding member of the Fédération nationale Saint-Jean-Baptiste and the first vice-president of the Canadian Women’s Press Club.

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Stan Rogers

Stanley Allison Rogers, singer, songwriter (born 29 November 1949 in Hamilton, ON; died 2 June 1983 in Hebron, Kentucky). One of Canada’s finest singer-songwriters, Stan Rogers was known for his rich baritone voice and finely crafted folk songs, often written and performed in a traditional Celtic style. He is perhaps best known for the rousing a cappella anthem “Northwest Passage.” Concerned with themes of honour, loyalty and hope, Rogers drew on historic and poetic aspects of the Canadian experience. His music never received widespread radio airplay and was largely unknown outside of folk music circles during his lifetime. His legend grew after his tragic death in an airplane fire in 1983. He was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019.

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Don Domanski

Don Domanski, poet and artist (born 1950 in Sydney, NS; died 7 September 2020). Don Domanski was an acclaimed Maritime poet who published nine books of poetry. He received the Governor General’s Award, the Atlantic Poetry Prize and the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award. He also served as the 2005 Ralph Gustafson Chair of Poetry at Malaspina University-College (now Vancouver Island University).

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Rough Trade

Rough Trade was a trailblazing, politically charged, punk-inspired New Wave rock band. It was formed in Toronto in 1975 by multi-instrumentalist Kevan Staples and Manchester-born, Scarborough-raised vocalist Carole Pope. Notorious for the openly sexual nature of their songs and the burlesque theatricality of their live performances — which often included bondage and sexual satire — the band was one of the first mainstream musical acts to include explicitly gay and lesbian references. They enjoyed critical and commercial success in the early 1980s and won four Juno Awards before disbanding in 1986. They are perhaps best known for the risqué, controversial hit single “High School Confidential,” which was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in September 2020.

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Ron Hynes

Ron Hynes, singer, songwriter, guitarist, actor (born 7 December 1950 in St. John's, NL; died 19 November 2015 in St. John’s). One of Canada's most esteemed songwriters, Ron Hynes is often referred to as the “man of a thousand songs.” His debut solo album, Discovery (1972), was the first album of entirely original material by a Newfoundland artist. He is best known for the 1976 folk classic “Sonny’s Dream,” which has been covered by more than 200 artists, including Emmylou Harris, Stan Rogers and Great Big Sea. Hynes won a Genie Award and numerous East Coast Music Awards. He was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2020.

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Men Without Hats

Men Without Hats formed in 1977 amid the Montreal punk scene. They became pioneers of electro-pop in Canada after adopting a New Wave sound that made extensive use of keyboard and drum synthesizers. Their sound is characterized by infectiously simple melodies, socially and politically idealistic lyrics, and the distinctive baritone voice of lead singer, principle songwriter and chief member Ivan Doroschuk. The band enjoyed phenomenal success in the 1980s with the worldwide hits “Safety Dance” and “Pop Goes the World.” Both songs were inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in September 2020.

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Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake)

Emily Pauline Johnson (a.k.a. Tekahionwake, “double wampum”) poet, writer, artist, performer (born 10 March 1861 on the Six Nations Reserve, Canada West; died 7 March 1913 in VancouverBC). Pauline Johnson was one of North America’s most notable entertainers of the late 19th century. A mixed-race woman of Mohawk and European descent, she was a gifted writer and poised orator. She toured extensively, captivating audiences with her flair for the dramatic arts. Johnson made important contributions to Indigenous and Canadian oral and written culture. She is listed as a Person of National Historic Significance and her childhood home is a National Historic Site and museum. A monument in Vancouver’s Stanley Park commemorates her work and legacy. In 2016, she was one of 12 Canadian women in consideration to appear on a banknote. (See Women on Canadian Banknotes.)

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Jacques Hébert

Jacques Hébert, journalist, travel writer, publisher, Senator (born 21 June 1923 in Montreal, QC; died 6 December 2007 in Montreal). Jacques Hébert was a crusading Quebec journalist and a trailblazing book publisher before and during the Quiet Revolution. He founded Canada World Youth, an exchange program dedicated to world peace, and co-founded Katimavik, a youth program offering volunteer positions across the country. As a member of the Senate, Hébert held a 21-day fast to protest the government’s cancellation of funding for Katimavik. His travels took him to over 130 countries; notably, he visited the People’s Republic of China in 1960 with longtime friend Pierre Trudeau. Hébert was also a noted critic of Quebec premier Maurice Duplessis and a federalist who scorned Quebec nationalism. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1978.

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Brent Carver

Brent Christopher Carver, actor (born 17 November 1951 in Cranbrook, BC; died 4 August 2020 in Cranbrook). Brent Carver was one of Canada’s most versatile and soulful actors. He tackled the classics at the Stratford Festival (1980–87) and gave critically acclaimed performances in musical theatre, cabaret and film. The New York Times described him as “sensitive, soft-spoken yet nakedly emotional.” His performance in the 1993 Broadway production of Kiss of the Spider Woman earned him a Tony Award. Associated with Robin Phillips, who directed him both at Stratford and at Theatre London (1983–84), Carver also worked closely with John Neville at Edmonton's Citadel Theatre. Carver received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in 2014.

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Canada’s Walk of Fame

Canada’s Walk of Fame is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honouring Canadians who have achieved excellence in the fields of arts and entertainment, science and technology, business, philanthropy and athletics. Modelled after the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it stretches along 13 city blocks in Toronto’s Entertainment District. Each inductee’s name and signature are etched onto a plaque embedded on the sidewalk, along with a star resembling a maple leaf. Inductees are honoured at an annual, nationally broadcast gala in Toronto. One hundred and eighty people have been inducted since 1998.

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Kim Mitchell

Joseph Kim Mitchell, guitarist, singer, songwriter, broadcaster (born 10 July 1952 in Sarnia, Ontario). A talented, imaginative rock guitarist and a pop songwriter of considerable craft, Kim Mitchell has been a fixture on the Canadian music scene since the mid-1970s. He began as the manic front man of the quirky, progressive hard rock band Max Webster, and gained prominence as a solo artist in the 1980s with radio-friendly rock anthems such as “Go for Soda,” “Patio Lanterns” and “Rock N Roll Duty.” He later established himself as a popular radio personality and a mainstay on the summer festival circuit. He has sold more than 1.5 million records in Canada, earned 17 Juno nominations and won three Juno Awards. He was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2020.

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Lucille Starr

Lucille Raymonde Marie Savoie (later Regan and Cunningham), popular singer, country singer (born 13 May 1938 in St. Boniface, MB; died 4 September 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada). Lucille Starr was an internationally successful pop music and country singer, and one of a handful of Canadian popular musicians to record in both English and French. Her biggest hit was “The French Song” (“Quand le soleil dit bonjour aux montagnes”). It sold more than 7 million copies in 1964–65, making her the first Canadian woman to sell 1 million records. She was also the first Canadian woman to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and the first Canadian woman inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Association Hall of Honour.

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Alfred Kunz

Alfred Leopold Kunz, composer, conductor, administrator (born 26 May 1929 in Neudorf, SK; died 16 January 2019 in Kitchener-Waterloo, ON). Alfred Kunz studied composition and conducting 1949–55 at the RCMT and for several summers in the 1960s with Stockhausen and others in Europe. In 1965 he completed the state examinations in choral conducting at the Musikhochschule in Mainz and was assistant conductor of the Mainz City Opera Theatre. He began teaching in Kitchener, Ontario, in 1955. He organized the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Orchestra and Choir in 1959 and was organist-choirmaster 1959-64 at Mount Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church.

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Alex Trebek

George Alexander Trebek, OC, television host, human rights spokesperson, journalist (born 22 July 1940 in Sudbury, ON; died 8 November 2020 in Los Angeles, California). Alex Trebek is a pop culture icon, best known as the long-time host of the TV game show Jeopardy! He began his broadcasting career at the CBC, where he hosted the music variety program Music Hop (1963–64) and the popular teen quiz show Reach for the Top (1966–73). He won five Daytime Emmy Awards from 30 nominations for Outstanding Game Show Host, and he holds the Guinness World Record for the most game shows hosted by the same presenter. An Officer of the Order of Canada, he received a Peabody Award and several lifetime achievement and hall of fame honours, including stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame.

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Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox (born Michael Andrew Fox), OC, actor, producer, author (born 9 June 1961 Fox in EdmontonAB). Michael J. Fox is best known for his roles in the Back to the Future trilogy and in the TV series Family Ties and Spin City. The recipient of several Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards, he was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Fox, who has Parkinson’s disease, founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000. He has received a number of humanitarian awards and honorary degrees and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

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Salome Bey

Salome Bey, singer, actress, songwriter (born 1939 in Newark, New Jersey; died 8 August 2020 in Toronto, ON). Salome Bey was an award-winning jazz, blues and R&B singer. Known as “Canada’s First Lady of the Blues,” she often appeared with her daughters Jacintha Tuku and Saidah Baba Talibah, who accompanied her as the Relatives. Bey wrote and starred in Indigo, a Dora Award-winning history of the blues, and was part of the all-star lineup of Canadian singers who produced the charity single “Tears Are not Enough,” Bey received a Toronto Arts Award and the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for lifetime achievement from the Black Theatre Workshop of Montreal. She was inducted as an honorary member of the Order of Canada.

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Nick Cordero

Nicholas Eduardo Alberto Cordero, actor, dancer, musician (born 17 September 1978 in Hamilton, Ontario; died 5 July 2020 in Los Angeles, California). Nick Cordero came to prominence with the 2014 Broadway production of Bullets Over Broadway, which earned him a Tony Award nomination. The imposing, six-foot-five actor also played many gangsters in film and television productions. His life was cut short in 2020 due to complications from COVID-19.

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Anna Leonowens

Anna Harriette Edwards Leonowens (born 6 November 1831 in Ahmadnagar, India; died 19 January 1915 in Montreal, Quebec). Anna Leonowens was an educator, author and lecturer who became famous as the British governess to the wives and children of King Mongkut (Rama IV) of Siam (now Thailand) in the 1860s. After leaving Siam, she emigrated to Canada, where she advocated for women’s suffrage, taught at McGill University and helped found what is now the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. She was the inspiration for Margaret Landon’s historical novel, Anna and the King of Siam (1944), and the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I (1951).