A quick look at a some of the new appointees to the Order of Canada


OTTAWA — On Thursday, Rideau Hall unveiled a list of 83 new appointees to the Order of Canada. Here are short profiles of a few who are being given one of the country’s highest honours.

Renee April

You’ve not seen April in front of the camera but you likely have seen her work. The renowned costume designer has worked on more than 50 Hollywood and television productions, including “The Red Violin,” “Grey Owl,” “Night at the Museum,” “Arrival,” and “Blade Runner 2049.” Born and raised in Riviere-du-Loup, Que., she has been doing costume design since the late 1970s, but prefers working on period pieces.

Ronnie Burkett

Burkett has been doing theatre productions featuring his puppets — his own designs and creations — for more than 40 years. He has gone from being a one-man street theatre show that toured schools and community centres to having his own theatre company. He got interested in puppetry at age seven, wrote fan letters to puppeteers as a child, and by 15 had travelled alone to the U.S. for a puppetry festival. Now, he mentors young people interested in the art.

Claire Deschenes

The first woman to teach engineering at Laval University, Deschenes sees herself as a role model for women in the field. She founded a hydraulic research lab in 1989 that is internationally renowned for its work on hydraulic turbines. She has also founded three international organizations that promote women in science and engineering.

Edna Elias

Elias began her lifetime of teaching in the North decades ago as a primary-school teacher in Arctic Bay, teaching traditional Inuit languages. She has worked since to revitalize the use of Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun — the latter that Elias worked on during her time in a residential school — and made it the hallmark of her time in politics. She had a leading role in Nunavut’s birth 20 years ago and in 2010 when she was made commissioner of the territory.

Moya Greene

In 2018, when Greene was given an honorary degree from York University, she told the graduates about taking a long path in life. It was an apt metaphor for her career: working on social policy in the federal civil service, to infrastructure financing, and finally to chief executive of Canada Post before moving across the Atlantic to run the U.K.’s Royal Mail.

Lisa LaFlamme

LaFlamme has been a familiar face at CTV for more than 30 years, first locally in her hometown of Kitchener-Waterloo and since 2011 as the anchor of the nightly national broadcast. She has reported from around the world, including from Iraq and Afghanistan with Canadian troops, and interviewed world leaders. She also volunteers for Journalists for Human Rights and PLAN International.

Reggie Leach

When Leach made his National Hockey League debut in 1970, it was a long way from the tiny town of Riverton, Man., where he grew up. He would win a Stanley Cup with the Philadelphia Flyers a few years later and become known as a prolific scorer. A role model for young Indigenous athletes, Leach, who is Ojibwa, now speaks to Indigenous youth nationwide to help them along their own paths in life.

Claude Raymond

Born in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Raymond had an arm that led him to a 12-year career in Major League Baseball — pitching against the likes of Willie Mays — and spent the last days of his career with the upstart Montreal Expos. Still a favourite among Expos faithful, Raymond focuses on helping young people through an annual charity golf tournament, a high-profile youth baseball tournament, and speaking engagements.

Nick Saul

For more than 30 years, Saul has been working with low-income and homeless people, beginning in Toronto’s east end, and now as the long-time chief executive of Community Food Centres Canada. The Tanzanian-born activist co-founded the organization in 2012, aiming to bring together communities around a table and provide food programs, training, and grants for social change.

John Sleeman

The Ottawa-raised Sleeman first dipped into the beer industry when he opened his own pub in the late 1970s. A few years later, inspired by his family’s history as brewers — the family brewery was closed in 1933 over charges of smuggling and failing to pay taxes — he opened Sleeman Breweries, one of the country’s most successful. Since selling to Japan’s Sapporo, Sleeman has reached into the family past again and founded a new distillery. His community involvement is what also lands him in the Order of Canada.

Michael Smith

Best known from his television shows, chef Michael Smith is also an advocate of eating local by finding seasonal products close to home. He has been involved in grassroots movements and testified at a Senate committee about the topic. The American-born chef moved to Atlantic Canada three decades ago and lives in Prince Edward Island.

The Canadian Press