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Editorial

A Place to Happen

It has been said that Canadians don’t tell our own stories or celebrate our own myths. Our history is full of epics considered “too small to be tragic,” as The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie once sang.

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Cedric Alan Smith

Cedric Alan Smith, actor, writer, musician (born at Bournemouth, England 21 Sept 1943). Cedric Smith is well known in Canada as decent and goodhearted farmer Alec King in the longrunning TV series Road to Avonlea, and is also a successful stage performer and prolific television and film actor.

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Alain Stanké

Alain Stanké (Born Kaunas, Lithuania 1934). Alain Stanké, whose real name was Aloyzas-Vytas Stakevicius, was deported to a German concentration camp at the age of ten, and then emigrated to Paris complete his studies.

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John Hamm

John Frederick Hamm, premier of Nova Scotia 1999-2006, physician, politician, (born 8 April 1938 in New Glasgow, NS). After a career as a family physician, Hamm moved into provincial politics in 1993 and became premier in 1999 — the first premier in 40 years to balance the province’s budget.

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Thanadelthur

Thanadelthur (Chipewyan for “marten shake”), peace negotiator, guide, teacher, interpreter (born c. 1697 likely in present-day northern MB; died 5 February 1717 at York Factory, MB). Known as the Ambassadress of Peace, Thanadelthur negotiated peace between the Chipewyan (Denesuline) and Cree peoples during the early fur trade. She was also instrumental in creating ties between the Chipewyan people and the Hudson’s Bay Company, as well as expanding the fur trade in today’s Churchill, Manitoba region.

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Catherine MacLellan

Catherine Ruth MacLellan, singer, songwriter (born 23 April 1980 in Burlington, ON). Catherine MacLellan is a contemporary folk-roots singer-songwriter whose recordings have won multiple East Coast Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards, Music PEI Awards and a Juno Award. She is the daughter of “Snowbird” composer Gene MacLellan.

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Portia White

Portia May White, contralto, teacher (born 24 June 1911 in Truro, NS; died 13 February 1968 in Toronto, ON). Portia White was the first Black Canadian concert singer to win international acclaim. She was considered one of the best classical singers of the 20th century. Her voice was described by one critic as “a gift from heaven.” She was often compared to the celebrated African American contralto Marian Anderson. The Nova Scotia Talent Trust was established in 1944 specifically to enable White to concentrate on her professional career. She was named a “person of national historic significance” by the Government of Canada in 1995.

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Thomas D'Arcy McGee

Thomas D’Arcy McGee, journalist, politician, poet (born 13 April 1825 in Carlingford, County Louth, Republic of Ireland; died 7 April 1868 in Ottawa, ON). Thomas D’Arcy McGee was dedicated to the cause of Irish national liberation. This pushed him towards revolutionary anti-British doctrine in his early years. However, he matured to become a staunch defender of British constitutional monarchy and a Father of Confederation. He was an advocate for minority rights at a time when the politics of ethnic and religious identity were intensely fraught. He was an incredibly eloquent public speaker and a passionate advocate for Canadian interests. However, his political transformation ultimately damaged his popularity with Irish nationalists, particularly the Fenians. He was assassinated in 1868.

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Patrick James Whelan

Patrick James Whelan, convicted murderer, tailor (born c. 1840 near Dublin, Ireland; died 11 February 1869 in Ottawa, ON). Whelan was arrested for the April 1868 assassination of Member of Parliament and Father of Confederation Thomas D’Arcy McGee. He was convicted in September 1868 and sentenced to death. The authorities suspected that Whelan carried out a Fenian conspiracy to murder McGee and promptly arrested him within 24 hours of the murder; however, it was never fully proved that Whelan was acting as a Fenian sympathizer. Whelan maintained his innocence throughout his trial and until he was hanged publicly in Ottawa in early 1869. There is room for reasonable doubt as to whether Whelan did in fact murder McGee or was simply part of a group of people who did. McGee was the only federal politician to be assassinated, and Whelan one of the last people to be hanged publicly in Canada.

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Catherine McKinnon

Catherine McKinnon, singer, actress (born 14 May 1944 in Saint John, NB). Catherine McKinnon began her career as a child performer on radio and television before becoming one of the leading Canadian pop singers of the 1960s.

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Rick Mercer

Richard Vincent Mercer, OC, satirist, comedian, screenwriter, actor, humanitarian (born 17 Oct 1969 in St. John’s, NL). Rick Mercer has parlayed his acerbic wit and voracious interest in politics into a career as one Canada’s foremost political and social commentators. Described by Maclean's magazine as “one of Canada’s most bankable television commodities,” he has combined his “mutually parasitic” relationship with politicians, his ability to connect with ordinary Canadians and a mischievous, court jester perspective to become the satirical conscience of English Canadian culture. An Officer of the Order of Canada, he has also excelled as a humanitarian through his involvement with numerous charities. He has received ten honorary degrees, 18 Gemini Awards, 12 Canadian Screen Awards and two Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, including one for lifetime achievement, among many other honours.

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Jim Prentice

​Jim Prentice, 16th Premier of Alberta and leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta (2014–15), Federal Cabinet minister (2006–10), lawyer (born 20 July 1956 in South Porcupine, ON; died 13 October 2016 near ​Kelowna, ​BC).

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Eric Ross Arthur

Eric Ross Arthur, architect, author, educator, heritage conservationist (b at Dunedin, New Zealand 1 July 1898; d at Toronto, Canada 1 Nov. 1982).

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Lorraine Vaillancourt

Lorraine Vaillancourt. Pianist, conductor, b Arvida (Jonquière), Que, 23 Sep 1947. Lorraine Vaillancourt studied 1964-8 at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec with Hélène Landry and 1968-70 at the École normale de musique in Paris with Pierre Dervaux (orchestral conducting).

Macleans

Bouchard Launches a Broadside

THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES, Lucien. The charismatic leader who came this close to driving his flock out to greener pastures in a referendum 10 years ago now warns that Quebec is bound for the slag heap of history if it doesn't reform quickly.

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Sir George-Étienne Cartier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier, co-premier of the Province of Canada, lawyer, railway promoter, politician (born 6 September 1814 in Saint-Antoine, Lower Canada; died 20 May 1873 in London, England). Sir George-Étienne Cartier dominated the politics of Quebec for a generation. After rebelling against the government in the Rebellions of 1837–38, Cartier served as Canada’s first minister of militia and defence. Arguably the kingpin of Confederation, he was responsible for bringing French Canada, Manitoba and British Columbia into the Dominion. He also negotiated the purchase of Rupert’s Land and the North-West Territories from the Hudson’s Bay Company. He is considered a Father of Confederation.

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Murray Sinclair

Murray Sinclair or Mizanay (Mizhana) Gheezhik, meaning “The One Who Speaks of Pictures in the Sky” in the Ojibwe language, lawyer, judge and senator (born in 1951 in Selkirk, MB). Called to the Manitoba Bar in 1980, Sinclair focused primarily on civil and criminal litigation, Indigenous law and human rights. In 1988, he became Manitoba’s first, and Canada’s second, Indigenous judge. Sinclair joined the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2009, before becoming a senator in 2016. He retired from the Senate in 2021 but continues to mentor Indigenous lawyers. The breadth of public service and community work completed by Sinclair demonstrates his commitment to Indigenous peoples in Canada.