Canadian sports icons, including Stacey Allaster, Donovan Bailey and Angela James, are among the 85 new members of the Order of Canada this year.
The list of nominees this year also includes Canada’s first Indigenous female MP, Nunavut’s first MP and a number of arts contributors, including Emmy-nominated actress Sandra Oh.
Considered one of Canada’s highest civilian honours, the Order of Canada seeks to recognize individuals who make “extraordinary contributions to the nation”, according to the Governor General of Canada’s website.
Allaster was made a Companion, the highest of three levels of honor, which also includes Officer and Member. There cannot be more than 165 companions alive at a time.
Born in Windsor, Ont., and raised in Welland, Ont., Allaster served as an executive of the Women’s Tennis Association from 2006-2015, serving as President before being promoted to President and CEO in 2009.
During her tenure, she was instrumental in securing equal prize money for women at six WTA tournaments and four Grand Slam tournaments. She also played a key role in streamlining the WTA calendar and securing a landmark international media deal.
In 2020, Allaster was named the US Open’s first female tournament director.
Former Olympic champion and world sprint champion Donovan Bailey will be invested as officer of the order. The former world record holder won Olympic gold in 1996 in the men’s 100 meters and the men’s 4×100 meters relay.
“It’s amazing,” Bailey said of the appointment to order. “I am very lucky, I am extremely honored to have shared incredible moments with the Canadians.”
Bailey said being invested with the Order of Canada is an official acknowledgment of what he’s heard from fans over the past few decades.
“Receiving the Officer of the Order of Canada is a huge honour, but I’m telling you I’ve been validated for 27 years; I’ve been validated every day by incredible fans,” he said.
Angela James is a pioneer in women’s hockey, first as a player and now as the general manager and co-owner of the Toronto Six women’s professional hockey team.
A winner of four world championships, including the first in 1990 where she scored 11 goals in five games and was one of the stars of the tournament, she said being invested in order sums up all her achievements on and off ice.
“I think it encompasses everything I’ve done in my life, and to think that my life matters to Canadians is pretty special,” she said.
A star of Team Canada before women’s hockey became an Olympic sport, James was one of the first two women inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010 and said she hopes to continue to see women’s hockey grow.
“As long as we come together and work together, I think there is no stopping the women’s game,” she said.
Among those named to order are a number of Indigenous leaders, including Canada’s first Indigenous woman elected to Parliament.
Ethel Blondin-Andrew was first elected MP for the Northwest Territories in 1988 and became Minister of State for Northern Development in the cabinet of former Prime Minister Paul Martin.
She has continued to advocate for Indigenous women in politics and recently participated in a United Nations panel in Geneva to discuss this topic.
Joining Blondin-Andrew in the order is former Nunavut MP Nancy Karetak-Lindell.
Karetak-Lindell was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Nunatsiaq in 1997, the riding that would become Nunavut after being recognized as a territory in 1999.
“I tried very hard to be the voice of people who might have been unlucky,” Karetak-Lindell said.
After retiring from federal politics in 2008, she would later become president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council in 2016, for a two-year term.
Although she said she felt honored to receive the Order of Canada, she said “the greatest reward will always be the fact that I may have inspired someone to look to the future with more hope”.
Blondin-Andrew will be invested as an officer of the order, while Karetak-Lindell will be invested as a member.
Other Indigenous leaders among those named include Elders David and Imelda Perley of New Brunswick for their contributions to education around the Wabanaki culture.
Elders Reg and Rosemary Crowshoe of Alberta are also recognized for their preservation of Blackfoot culture.
A number of Canada’s greatest contributors to the arts have also been named to the order, including actress Sandra Oh, who will be invested as an officer.
The Emmy-nominated actress is best known for the hit TV series, including Kill Eve and Grey’s Anatomy. She has also lent her talents to the big screen in films such as turn red and Under the Tuscan sun.
Donald Mowat is also recognized for his contributions to the big screen, having served as the makeup and design helm for films such as The fighter, 8 miles, Sicario, Somnambulist, Prisoners, nocturnal animals, Stronger, blade runner 2049.
Mowat was recently nominated for the Best Makeup and Hairstyle Oscar for Denis Villeneuve Dunes.
On the music side, the founder of the independent label Attic Records Alexander Mair is named a member of the order.
Attic has represented a number of Canadian artists and bands, including Anvil, Irish Rovers, Triumph and Teenage Head.
The Order of Canada
Governor General Mary Simon has appointed the following individuals, recommended by the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada:
Companions of the Order of Canada
- Stacey Allaster.
- Frank Hayden (This is a promotion in order).
- Peter Russell (This is a promotion within the order).
- Donald Savoie (This is a promotion within the order).
Officers of the Order of Canada
- Naomi Azrieli.
- Donovan Bailey.
- The Honorable Ethel Blondin-Andrew.
- Robert Davidson (This is a promotion in command).
- Paul Dubord.
- Donald Enarson (deceased).
- Francois Girard.
- Ian Hodkinson.
- Angela James.
- David Lynch.
- Sandra Oh.
- Alberto Perez-Gómez.
- David Waltner-Toews.
Members of the Order of Canada
- Frances Abele.
- Ajay Agrawal.
- Louis-Philippe Albert.
- R. Jamie Anderson.
- Suzanne Aubrey.
- Hereditary Chief Stephen Augustine.
- Granger Avery.
- Michael Beaulac.
- André Blanchet.
- Marilyn Bodagh.
- Jacques Bourgault.
- Bernard Brault.
- Marilyn Brooks.
- Marion Buller.
- James Brynes.
- Genevieve Cadieux.
- James Cassell.
- Euclid Chiasson.
- William Clark.
- Zane Cohen.
- Ethel Cote.
- Former Reg Crowshoe.
- Rosemary Crowshoe.
- Sheldon Currie.
- Reginald Davidson.
- Dorothee Dobbie.
- Eliahu Fathi.
- Madeleine Fequiere.
- Staff Sgt. Gary Goulet, (retired).
- Michael Harris.
- Paul Heinbecker.
- Deborra Hope.
- Sister Margaret Hughes.
- Moira Hutchison.
- Gerard John.
- Adam Kahane.
- Nancy Karetak-Lindell.
- Eva-Marie Kroller.
- Gary Levy.
- Alexander Mayer.
- Guy Matte.
- Milton McClaren.
- Roderick McKay.
- Ben Mink.
- Donald Mowat.
- Robert Munro.
- Sister Bernadette Mary O’Reilly.
- Donna Ouchterlony.
- Fred Pellerin.
- David Perley.
- Imelda Perley.
- G. Ross Peters.
- Sandra Pitblado.
- Guy Pratte.
- Parminder Raina.
- Joel Reitman.
- David Rush.
- The Honorable Anne Russel.
- Suzanne Savage.
- Martin Schechter.
- Jacques Shore.
- Ronald Tremblay.
- Guylaine Tremblay.
- Michael Valberg.
- Germaine Warkentin.
- James West.
- Michael West.
- Margie Wolfe.
- Lorraine M. Wright.
- Robert Wyatt.
- Jan Swicky.