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Florence Bird

Florence Bayard Bird (née Rhein, pseudonym Anne Francis), CC, senator, journalist, broadcaster and author (born 15 January 1908 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; died 18 July 1998 in Ottawa, Ontario). Chair of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada from 1967 to 1970, Florence Bird made her name as a broadcast journalist for CBC/Radio-Canada, reporting news and producing documentaries on women’s working conditions and on conditions for women in Canada’s prisons.

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Yevgeny Yevtushenko (Profile)

If Yevgeny Yevtushenko did not exist, another author might have invented him as the central character in one of those sweeping epics that Russian writers adore. The problem would be that, as a work of fiction, Yevtushenko's real life strains credulity.

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Robertson Davies

Robertson William Davies, CC, OOnt, writer, journalist, professor (born 28 August 1913 in Thamesville, ON 28 Aug 1913; died 2 December 1995 in Orangeville, ON).

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Norman McLaren

McLaren has earned an international reputation for his imaginative and skilled contribution to the art of film. He has received honours from many countries.

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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).

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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.

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James Ehnes

James Ehnes. Violinist, b Brandon, Man 27 Jan 1976; B MUS (Juilliard) 1997, hon D MUS (Brandon) 2005.

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Daphne Odjig

Daphne Odjig,CM,OBC, visual artist (born 11 September 1919 on Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, Manitoulin Island, ON; died 1 October 2016 in Kelowna, BC). Odjig was a founding member of the 1970s artists’ allianceProfessional Native Indian Artists Inc., also known as the Indian Group of Seven. Her artistic career spanned six decades and includes lyrical legend paintings, personal reflective memories, and trenchant historical and political critiques. Experimental and creatively fearless, Odjig’s styles and media varied widely with her subject matter. Fluid calligraphic lines characterized her early narrative paintings in the 1960s, while her history paintings in the 1970s were densely expressive. Odjig’s elegiac colour studies of the British Columbia forests were featured in her work in the 1980s. In her long career, Odjig combined her originality as a painter with her social awareness as a feminist to create a body of work that helped bring an Indigenous voice to the foreground of contemporary Canadian art.

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Christi Belcourt

Christi Belcourt, Métis visual artist, activist, author (born 24 September 1966, in Scarborough, ON). The vibrant colours and themes of Belcourt’s art reflect the interconnectedness of nature and human beings. Her art speaks to the struggle for Indigenous identity and sovereignty. Belcourt’s activism focuses on Indigenous issues related to justice, education and meaningful reconciliation. (See also Contemporary Indigenous Art in Canada and Important Indigenous Artists in Canada.)

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Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Meredith Lightfoot, CC, O.Ont, singer, songwriter, guitarist (born 17 November 1938 in Orillia, Ontario). Gordon Lightfoot is one of the most acclaimed and respected songwriters of the 20th century, and one of the most significant musicians Canada has produced. The country’s top male recording artist of the 1970s, Lightfoot first drew attention in the early 1960s when songs such as “Early Morning Rain” and “For Lovin’ Me” became hits for artists like Ian and Sylvia and Peter, Paul and Mary. Lightfoot achieved international prominence as a solo artist with a series of pop and country hits, including “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Sundown,” “Carefree Highway,” “Rainy Day People” and “The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald.” Ian Tyson has said that nobody “before or since has had the impact on Canadian culture, through popular music or folk music, that Gordon Lightfoot has had.” Lightfoot’s gold- and platinum-certified albums have combined to sell more than 10 million copies worldwide. He has won 12 Juno Awards from 27 nominations, including Male Vocalist of the Year four times (1971–73, 1975) and Folksinger of the Year five times (1970, 1975–78). A Member of the Order of Ontario and a Companion of the Order of Canada, he has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Canada’s Walk of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, the US Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and Canadian Folk Music Walk of Fame, among many other honours.

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Arcade Fire

Montreal’s Arcade Fire are an eclectic indie rock band with baroque and pop undertones. They are known for their expansive membership and almost orchestral instrumentation, serious lyrical and thematic concerns, an anthemic yet iconoclastic sound and dramatic build-ups to moments of catharsis. The band’s breakthrough debut album, Funeral (2004), is widely considered one of the best rock albums of the 21st century. Their third album, The Suburbs (2010), won Juno Awards, a Grammy Award and the Polaris Music Prize. Their theatrical, exuberant live shows have made them a popular touring act and enhanced their worldwide popularity. They have been nominated for nine Grammy Awards and more than two dozen Juno Awards, winning twice for Songwriter of the Year and three times each for Alternative Album of the Year and Album of the Year.

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Francis Marion Beynon

Francis (née Frances) Marion Beynon, journalist, novelist, suffragist (born 26 May 1884 in Streetsville, ON; died 5 October 1951 in Winnipeg, MB). Francis Marion Beynon has been noted for her courage as a pacifist, her outspoken anti-religious views and her anti-racism.

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Don Messer

Donald Charles Frederick Messer, fiddler, band leader, radio broadcaster (born 9 May 1909 in Tweedside, NB; died 26 March 1973 in Halifax, NS). Don Messer was an icon of Canadian folk music.

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John Greyson

John Greyson, director, writer, producer, activist (born 13 March 1960 in Nelson, BC). John Greyson is a prolific award-winning film- and video-maker who has achieved international recognition on the queer cinema and film festival circuits.

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CBC Symphony Orchestra

CBC Symphony Orchestra. Broadcasting orchestra formed in Toronto in 1952 under the musical direction of Geoffrey Waddington and maintained until 1964. It made its broadcast debut 29 Sep 1952 playing the overture to Rossini's La Cenerentola and Sibelius' Symphony No. 3.

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Ken Wheeler

Ken or Kenny (Kenneth Vincent John) Wheeler. Trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer, arranger (born 14 January 1930 in Toronto, ON; died 18 September 2014 in London, England).

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Howard Shore

Howard Shore. Composer, conductor, orchestrator, saxophonist, b Toronto 18 Oct 1946; B MUS (Berklee College of Music) 1969, honorary D LITT (York) 2007, honorary D MUS (Berklee) 2008.

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Jean-Marie Beaudet

Jean-Marie (or Jean) Beaudet. Conductor, pianist, administrator, organist, b Thetford-Mines, Que, south of Quebec City, 20 Feb 1908, d Ottawa 19 Mar 1971; BA (Séminaire de Québec) 1928, diplôme de virtuosité (Fontainebleau) ca 1930. Brother of Pierre Beaudet.