On the eve of Canada Day, Gov. Gen. David Johnston has announced 99 new appointments to the Order of Canada, and the list includes some famous names, long-serving civil servants, artists, authors and even the Prince of Wales.
As a member of the Royal Family, Prince Charles has been made an extraordinary companion of the Order of Canada, the highest level of the order, for his global philanthropic work and support for Canada's Armed Forces members.
Two other companions were named. Peter Herrndorf, the president and CEO of the National Arts Centre, is being honoured for his leadership in the arts community.
The third companion is former Supreme Court justice Marshall Rothstein.
Earlier this month, Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie and the other four members of the band, along with Indigenous advocate Sylvia Maracle, became recipients of the Order of Canada.
Today's honorees will be invited to accept their order at a ceremony to be held at a later date.
Six-time Stanley Cup champion Mark Messier and Christine Sinclair, a two-time Olympic bronze medallist and captain of Canada's national women's soccer team, are among the 19 new officers of the Order of Canada named today.
Canadian film director Jean-Marc Vallée is one of the new officers. He is being recognized for his contributions to cinema. Vallée has directed numerous television episodes and feature films including the Reese Witherspoon film Wild and the Oscar-winning Matthew McConaughey film Dallas Buyers Club.
Other notable additions to the officer ranks include:
- Comedian and actress Catherine O'Hara.
- Jeopardy host Alex Trebek.
- Former head of CSIS Richard Fadden.
- Actor and comedian Mike Myers.
Canadian actor Rod Beattie, from Stratford, Ont., is one of the 77 members of the Order of Canada named today. He is being honoured for his achievements as a stage actor, most recognizably in the Wingfield series of plays he has performed across the country.
"You get a feeling, I suppose, that life's passed you by when you've been doing something for 33 years," Beattie told CBC News, describing the moment he heard the news as one of "astonishment."
Beattie said actors are often honoured after they die, and he is pleased he gets to share the moment with his friends and family.
"Heaven for an actor is to have a one-person show that is portable and that you love doing," he said, noting that it does not get any better than to be recognized for doing something that you and the audience loves.
Hope for arts education
Inuit artist Michael Massie from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador, who resides in Kippens, N.L., is being made a member for his work as a silversmith and sculptor.
Massie said he was so surprised by the call informing him he was being given the honour that he thought it was a prank call; he only realized it was real when he got an email from the Governor General's office confirming the details.
"It's flabbergasting, actually, to be honoured with something like this," said the artist, whose work is held in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.
He said he hopes the award brings attention to the need to put more funding into arts education in schools so that more Canadians can choose to pursue a career in the visual arts.
"People can make a living from this, it just depends on how much you want to dedicate your life to it," Massie said. "I just hope it draws attention to the young people coming up so they'll have a better chance with the arts and education than I ever did."
Montreal journalist Pierre Maisonneuve is being honoured as a member of the Order of Canada for his work as an author and broadcaster.
"I am very surprised, but I am proud of it, that is exactly what I can tell you," he told CBC News.
Maisonneuve said he is accepting the award on behalf of his father, who taught him a great deal about history, politics and social issues, but passed away while Maisonneuve was still a young reporter.
"I think I owe him a lot of things, and I accept this award for him," he said.
Cathy Crowe said that when she heard the Governor General's office had called her to tell her she was being honoured as a member of the Order of Canada she thought perhaps Johnston wanted to discuss homelessness, but was pleasantly surprised to discover the real reason for the call.
"Mind-blowing," Crowe said, describing the moment she learned of the honour. "It takes your breath away because you don't expect it."
Crowe, who is being honoured for her work as a public health nurse, author and filmmaker who has fought on behalf of the homeless and vulnerable, told CBC that she hopes the honour will highlight what she calls the worsening national housing situation, with 250,000 Canadians now homeless.
"I've been a street nurse for 30 years, and I've been a nurse for longer and we've made some wins, but everything is pretty much worse," she said. "I hope it will draw attention to the issue and think a lot of people will be appreciative, actually, that I am being named."