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Earle Birney

Alfred Earle Birney, poet (born 13 May 1904 in Calgary, AB; died 3 Sept 1995 in Toronto, ON). Beginning with David and Other Poems (1942), Birney's poetry consistently explored the resources of language with passionate and playful curiosity.

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Bill Bourne

William "Bill" Sigurd Bourne, folksinger, musician (born 28 March 1954 in Red Deer, AB; died 16 April 2022). An excellent blues and folk guitarist, Bourne was also a distinctive vocalist and songwriter. Among his best-known compositions are "Dance and Celebrate," "Ole Buffalo," "The House," "Pitsberg," "Baggins" and "The Road to Tokyo." He won a Juno Award in 1991 and was nominated for four others.

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Mike Bossy

Michael "Mike" Bossy, hockey player (born 22 January 1957 in Montreal, QC; died 15 April 2022 in Montreal). After starring for the Laval Nationals in junior, Bossy joined the New York Islanders in 1977-78. He scored 53 goals that year, becoming the first rookie in National Hockey League history to record a 50 goal season, a feat that earned him the Calder Trophy. He proved this was not a fluke by registering 50 or more goals for each of the next eight seasons, including a remarkable 50 goals in the first 50 games of the 1980-81 season, equalling the 26-year-old record established by Maurice Richard.

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Bruce Fairbairn

Bruce Earl Fairbairn, musician, record producer (born 30 December 1949 in Vancouver, BC; died 17 May 1999 in Vancouver). Bruce Fairbairn started his career with the progressive soft-rock band Prism before becoming one of the most sought-after producers of the 1980s and 1990s. Known as the “king of heavy metal producers,” he produced more than 50 studio albums in 22 years, working with such acts as Loverboy, Honeymoon Suite, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, AC/DC, INXS, Van Halen and The Cranberries. Nicknamed “the school teacher” for his focused and disciplined approach, Fairbairn was nominated for 11 Juno Awards for Producer of the Year and won three. He was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame.

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Selma Barkham

Selma Barkham (née Huxley), CM, ONL, historian, geographer (born 8 March 1927 in London, England; died 3 May 2020 in Chichester, England). Selma Barkham uncovered the history of Basque cod-fishing and whaling industries in Atlantic Canada (referred to by the Basques as Terra Nova), especially in the 16th century. This research filled a gap in the history of European activity in Canada between the time of Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain. Her work led to the establishment of Red Bay, Labrador as a national historic site and a UNESCO world heritage site.

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Indigenous Language Revitalization in Canada

Before European settlement in Canada, Indigenous peoples spoke a wide variety of languages. As a means of assimilating Indigenous peoples, colonial policies like the Indian Act and residential schools forbid the speaking of Indigenous languages. These restrictions have led to the ongoing endangerment of Indigenous languages in Canada. In 2016, Statistics Canada reported that for about 40 Indigenous languages in Canada, there are only about 500 speakers or less. Indigenous communities and various educational institutions have taken measures to prevent more language loss and to preserve Indigenous languages.

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Jamal Murray

Jamal Murray, basketball player (born 23 February 1997 in Kitchener, ON). Jamal Murray is a guard for the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is considered one of the best Canadian-born basketball players in NBA history. Murray played the 2015–16 season with the University of Kentucky before being drafted seventh overall by the Nuggets in 2016. Murray also helped Canada win a silver medal at the 2015 Pan American Games. He holds the NBA records by a Canadian for most points in a playoff series (221), most points in a single postseason (504) and most points in a game (50), which he has accomplished three times. He injured his knee on 12 April 2021 and was expected to miss most of the 2021–22 season.

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Leylah Fernandez

Leylah Annie Fernandez, tennis player (born 6 September 2002 in Montreal, QC). Leylah Fernandez was ranked the No. 1 junior girls tennis player in the world in 2019, after winning the French Open girls title that year. In 2021, she became the sixth tennis player to receive the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as Canada’s female athlete of the year. She won her first WTA Tournament in Monterrey, Mexico, and made it to the final of the US Open after defeating such stars as Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber and Elina Svitolina. Fernandez became only the fourth Canadian to reach a Grand Slam singles final, after Eugenie Bouchard, Milos Raonic and Bianca Andreescu.

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Hardial Bains

Hardial Bains, communist leader, microbiology lecturer (born 15 August 1939 in the village of Chak 6, British India; died on the 24 August 1997 in Hull, QC). He was the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) from 1970­ to 1997. Bains was involved in a number of left wing political movements in Canada and in other nations as well. He was an “anti-revisionist” communist who rejected the doctrinal changes brought about by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev after Joseph Stalin’s death. Hardial Bains’ leadership helped the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada become the most successful Canadian communist organization in the 1970s and 1980s.

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Kia Nurse

Kia Augustine Nurse, basketball player (born 22 February 1996 in Hamilton, ON). Kia Nurse is a basketball player with the Phoenix Mercury of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). Nurse won back-to-back NCAA titles with the University of Connecticut Huskies in 2015 and 2016. She also guided Team Canada to gold medals at the 2015 Pan American Games and the 2015 FIBA Americas Women’s Championships, which qualified Canada for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. While playing with the New York Liberty in 2019, Nurse set the WNBA record for most points in a single season by a Canadian with 465.

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Canadian Peacekeepers in the Balkans

From 1991 to the present, members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and civilian police forces, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), have served in peace operations in the Balkans. Their mission was to provide security and stability following the breakup of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Nearly 40,000 Canadians have served in the Balkans, and 23 CAF members died while deployed there.

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Canadian Peacekeepers in Haiti

Since 1990, peacekeepers from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and civilian police forces, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), have served in Haiti on various United Nations (UN) missions. The purpose of these missions was to help stop the internal violence and civil unrest that had plagued the country for years and help promote and protect human rights and strengthen police and judicial systems.

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Black Soldiers in 19th Century Canada

Black soldiers served in military units throughout the 19th century in Canada. Although some (white) commanding officers rejected Black volunteers, they served in the militia in integrated units and in Black units such as the Coloured Corps in Niagara, the Victoria Pioneer Rifle Corps in British Columbia and the Victoria Rifles in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Black soldiers served in peacetime and in major events such as the War of 1812 and the Rebellions of 1837–38.

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Canadian Peacekeepers in Somalia

In 1992–93, Canada contributed military forces to UNITAF, a United Nations–backed humanitarian mission in the African nation of Somalia. The mission was hampered by the fact that some of the warring factions in the Somalia conflict attacked the international forces that were trying to restore order and deliver food to a starving population. The Canadian effort was also clouded by the murder of a Somali teenager by Canadian troops. The crime — and alleged cover-up by Defence officials in Ottawa — became one of the most infamous scandals in Canadian history.

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Chinese Canadians

Chinese Canadians are one of the largest ethnic groups in the country. In the 2016 census, 1.8 million people reported being of Chinese origin. Despite their importance to the Canadian economy, including the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), many European Canadians were historically hostile to Chinese immigration. A prohibitive head tax restricted Chinese immigration to Canada from 1885 to 1923. From 1923 to 1947, the Chinese were excluded altogether from immigrating to Canada. (See Chinese Immigration Act.)

Since 1900, Chinese Canadians have settled primarily in urban areas, particularly in Vancouver and Toronto. They have contributed to every aspect of Canadian society, from literature to sports, politics to civil rights, film to music, business to philanthropy, and education to religion.

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Bob McKeown

Robert Duff McKeown, CM, journalist, documentary filmmaker, football player (born 10 October 1950, in Ottawa, ON). Bob McKeown played centre for the Ottawa Rough Riders from 1971 to 1975, winning the Grey Cup in 1973. After retiring from football in 1975, he pursued a career in journalism. He has co-hosted CBC TV’s The Fifth Estate since 2002 (and previously from 1981 to 1990). He also worked as a correspondent for CBS News (1990­–95) and for NBC’s Dateline (1995–2002). His many honours include two Gemini Awards and two Emmy Awards. He was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2021.

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Bromley Armstrong

Bromley Lloyd Armstrong, CM, OOnt, Black trade unionist, community organizer and activist (born 9 February 1926 in Kingston, Jamaica; died 17 August 2018 in Toronto, ON). Bromley Armstrong was a pivotal figure in the early anti-discrimination campaigns in Ontario that led to Canada’s first anti-discrimination laws. A self-described “blood and guts” ally of the working poor, Armstrong demonstrated a lifelong commitment to the trade union movement and the battle against disadvantage and discrimination. For more than six decades, Armstrong worked for human rights, helping to generate civic and government support for racial equality and advocating for human rights reforms in public policy.

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Salome Bey

Salome Bey, singer, actress, songwriter (born 10 October 1933 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,” 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 made an honorary member of the Order of Canada in 2005 and was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2021.