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 of 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 charitable organizations. He has received ten honorary degrees, 18 Gemini Awards, ten Canadian Screen Awards, a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, among many other honours.
Denise Anne Donlon, CM, music company executive, broadcast program director, producer, host, (born 22 February 1956 in Toronto, ON). Denise Donlon is one of Canada’s most innovative broadcasters and respected corporate leaders. She is renowned for incorporating music, journalism, social issues, and human rights advocacy in her work. Named Broadcast Executive of the Year three times at the Canadian Music Week Industry Awards, Donlon was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and received the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award at the 2018 Juno Awards in recognition of her contributions to the Canadian music industry. She is a Fellow of both the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Canadian Geographical Society, and a Member of the Order of Canada.
Mr. Dressup was one of Canada’s most beloved and longest-running children’s television series. The program starred Ernie Coombs as the jovial Mr. Dressup and ran for 29 years (1967–96) and more than 4,000 episodes. A precursor to the popular American series, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Mr. Dressup was influential in tailoring children’s programming towards developing the child’s emotional and logical intelligence. The series won three Gemini Awards and earned Coombs an appointment to the Order of Canada. A 2017 crowd-sourced online vote unofficially declared Mr. Dressup Canada’s most memorable television program.
Albert Hamilton Schultz, CM, actor, director, producer (born 30 July 1963 in Port Hope, Ontario). Albert Schultz is an award-winning actor, director and producer who broke out as a leading man on the CBC TV series Street Legal before focusing his career on the stage. He co-founded Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre in 1998 and served as its Artistic Director until resigning in January 2018 following allegations of sexual assault and harassment.
Anna Helene Paquin, actor (born 24 July 1982 in Winnipeg). Anna Paquin is best known for winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in The Piano (1993) at the age of 11, and for her Golden Globe-winning performance as Sookie Stackhouse in the long-running HBO fantasy-horror series True Blood (2008–14). Born in Canada and raised in New Zealand, she has enjoyed a global profile thanks to her role as Rogue in the X-Men movies while also earning acclaim for her work in such independent films as 25th Hour (2002), The Squid and the Whale (2005) and Margaret (2011). In 2017, she starred in the CBC drama series Bellevue (2017-) and Alias Grace (2017), and was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame.1
Wabanakwut Kinew, hip hop artist, broadcaster, university administrator, author, politician (born 31 December 1981 in Kenora, ON). An Ojibwa activist and public intellectual, Wab Kinew began his career as a musician and rapper with the hip hop group Dead Indians. He gained national attention through his radio and television journalism for the CBC, including 8th Fire, a television series on Indigenous issues. Kinew’s 2015 memoir, The Reason You Walk, was a national bestseller and finalist for the RBC Taylor Prize. Kinew was elected to the Manitoba legislature in 2016, despite controversial tweets and rap lyrics that dogged his campaign. Similarly, revelations of stayed domestic assault charges from 2003 threatened to derail his bid to become leader of the Manitoba New Democratic Party, though he was named leader in September 2017.
Edward Samuel (Ted) Rogers Jr., OC, founder and CEO of Rogers Communications, businessman, philanthropist (born 27 May 1933 in Toronto, ON; died 2 December 2008 in Toronto, ON). Rogers was a pioneer in the Canadian communications industry who established Rogers Communications. At the time of his death in 2008, Rogers was the fourth-richest Canadian, with a net worth of over $7 billion, while the company was worth $18 billion and employed roughly 29,000 people. Rogers Communications owned Canada’s largest wireless telecommunications company and cable TV company; 52 radio stations; numerous TV stations (including CityTV, OMNI, Sportsnet and The Shopping Channel); more than 70 consumer and trade magazines (including Maclean’s, Chatelaine and Flare); and the Toronto Blue Jays and Rogers Centre (formerly the SkyDome).
Ken Finkleman, screenwriter, director, actor, producer (born 1946 in Winnipeg, Manitoba). Ken Finkleman is a maverick auteur renowned for the caustic humour, bitter irony and deadpan satire embodied by his television alter ego George Findlay, a linking character he has portrayed in seven television series. The winner of six Gemini Awards and an Emmy Award, Finkleman is best known for The Newsroom, the iconoclastic comedy series he created, wrote, produced and starred in. Popular and critically acclaimed during three runs (1996–97, 2003–04, 2004–05) and a TV movie (Escape from the Newsroom, 2002) on CBC Television and PBS, the show is regarded as one of the best media satires ever produced..
Margaret Alexis Fitzsimmons Smith, actor (born 8 June 1921 in Penticton, BC; died 9 June 1993 in Los Angeles, California). Alexis Smith was a movie star during Hollywood’s golden age, sharing the screen with some of the era’s most celebrated performers, such as Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, William Holden and Cary Grant. She took a hiatus from Hollywood for a decade before winning a Tony Award in 1971 for her performance in Stephen Sondheim’s hit Broadway musical, Follies. Smith appeared in such television series as The Love Boat, Dallas and Cheers, and such films as The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944), Rhapsody in Blue (1945), the Canadian tax shelter thriller The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976), and Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence (1993).