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Roch Carrier

Roch Carrier

Roch Carrier, poet, writer of fiction and drama, essayist, former National Librarian of Canada (born at the Beauce, Qué 13 May 1937). After publishing 2 collections of poetry, Les Jeux incompris (1956) and Cherche tes mots, cherche tes pas (1958), Carrier offered critics Jolis deuils (1964), a group of bizarre stories that won him a province of Québec award, Les Concours littéraires du Québec (1965).

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Chloe Cooley

Chloe Cooley was one of hundreds of Black women enslaved in the French and British colonies that became Canada. Although little is known about Chloe Cooley, who was enslaved in Upper Canada, her struggles against her enslaver, Sergeant Adam Vrooman, precipitated the Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada of 1793. The Act was the first legislation in the British colonies to restrict the slave trade. (See also Black Enslavement in Canada.)

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Nathan Phillips

Nathan Phillips, QC, lawyer, politician, mayor of Toronto 1955–62 (born 7 November 1892 in Brockville, ON; died 7 January 1976 in Toronto, ON). Known affectionately as “the mayor of all the people,” Nathan Phillips was Toronto’s first Jewish mayor. His mayoralty marked a turning point in the city’s history as it transitioned from a Protestant enclave to a multicultural metropolis. He was influential in demolishing old buildings and neighbourhoods to create a more modern cityscape. He was also a key figure behind the innovatively designed New City Hall and the large public space in front of it, which was named Nathan Phillips Square in his honour.

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Susan Jacks

Susan Elizabeth Jacks (nee Pesklevits), singer, songwriter (born 19 August 1948 in Saskatoon, SK; died 25 April 2022 in Surrey, BC). Susan Jacks was the second Canadian woman (after Lucille Starr) to earn a gold record in the US, for "Which Way You Goin' Billy." The song earned her and her first husband, Terry Jacks, two Juno Awards in 1970. Three solo Juno nominations followed, as did a Grammy Award nomination for a children's song. Susan Jacks was inducted into the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2010.

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Georgia Simmerling

Alice Georgia Simmerling, cyclist, alpine skier, freestyle skier, ski cross skier (born 11 March 1989 in Vancouver, BC). Georgia Simmerling is the only Canadian athlete to participate in three different sports at three Olympic Games. She helped win bronze and set a Canadian record in the women’s team pursuit cycling competition at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games. She also competed in alpine skiing at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games; in freestyle skiing at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games; and in cycling again at the 2020 Olympic Summer Games. Simmerling also won two gold medals at the 2019 Pan American Track Cycling Championships, as well as five silver and four bronze medals in World Cup ski cross events.

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Curt Harnett

Curtis “Curt” Melvin Harnett, CM, cyclist (born 14 May 1965 in Weston, ON). A three-time Olympic medallist, Curt Harnett is the only Canadian cyclist to medal at multiple Olympic Games. He also won two silver medals at both the World Track Cycling Championships and the Commonwealth Games, a bronze medal at the Pan American Games and eight UCI World Cup medals (five gold and three silver). In 1995, he became the first cyclist to break the 10-second barrier in the men’s 200 m time trial with a world record time of 9.865 seconds. Harnett served as Canada’s chef de mission at the 2015 Pan American Games and the 2016 Olympic Summer Games. A Member of the Order of Canada, he has been inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame and the Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame.

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Nehiyawak (Cree)

Nehiyawak (neh-HEE-oh-wuk) is the Plains Cree word for the Cree people. Other words the Cree use to describe themselves include nihithaw, nehinaw and ininiw. The Cree are the most populous and widely distributed Indigenous peoples in Canada. Cree First Nations occupy territory in the Subarctic region from Alberta to Quebec, as well as portions of the Plains region in Alberta and Saskatchewan. According to 2016 census data, 356,655 people identified as having Cree ancestry and 96,575 people speak the Cree language.

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Guy Lafleur

Guy Damien Lafleur, OC, CQ, hockey player (born 20 September 1951 in Thurso, QC; died 22 April 2022). Guy Lafleur was one of the most offensively skilled Montreal Canadiens players of all time. He is the franchise’s regular season career leader in assists (728) and points (1,246). In 1976–77, Lafleur set the Canadiens’ franchise record for most points in a single regular season (136). In 1977–78, he tied the Canadiens’ single-season record for most goals (60). He is a member of the Order of Canada and the National Order of Québec and has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

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Peace and Friendship Treaties

Between 1725 and 1779, Britain signed a series of treaties with various Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), Abenaki, Penobscot and Passamaquoddy peoples living in parts of what are now the Maritimes and Gaspé region in Canada and the northeastern United States. Commonly known as the Peace and Friendship Treaties, these agreements were chiefly designed to prevent war between enemies and to facilitate trade. While these treaties contained no monetary or land transfer provisions, they guaranteed hunting, fishing and land-use rights for the descendants of the Indigenous signatories. The Peace and Friendship Treaties remain in effect today.

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Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet)

Wolastoqiyik (also Welastekwewiyik or Welustuk; pronounced wool-las-two-wi-ig), meaning “people of the beautiful river” in their language, have long resided along the Saint John River in New Brunswick and Maine, and the St. Lawrence River in Quebec. Historically, the Europeans referred to the Wolastoqiyik by a Mi’kmaq word, Maliseet (or Malecite), roughly translating to English as “broken talkers.” The name indicates that, according to the Mi’kmaq, the Wolastoqiyik language is a “broken” version of their own. Today, there are Wolastoqiyik communities in Quebec and the Maritimes as well as in Maine. In the 2016 census, 7,635 people identified as having Wolastoqiyik ancestry.

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Canadian Peacekeepers in Rwanda

From 1993 to 1995, Canada was a leading contributor to a series of United Nations peacekeeping missions in the African nation of Rwanda. However, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), led by Canadian Major-General Roméo Dallaire, was powerless to prevent the slaughter of 800,000 Rwandans in 1994. Following the genocide, a new contingent of Canadian troops returned to Rwanda as part of UNAMIR II, tasked with restoring order and bringing aid to the devastated population. Hundreds of Canadian soldiers, including Dallaire, returned from their service in Rwanda deeply scarred by what they had witnessed.

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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.