On Thursday October 20th, I had the distinct pleasure of attending The Order of Canada ceremony, where Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, the Governor General of Canada, invested 44 appointees into the Order. The ceremony saw three Companions (C.C.), seven Officers (O.C.) and 32 Members (C.M.) invested in the ballroom at Rideau Hall.
The Order was created in Canada’s Centennial Year, 1967. It is a tremendous honour, one of the highest in Canada, bestowed on those who have made significant contributions to Canada. Recipients embody the motto of the order: Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam, which translates to “They desire a better country.”
The ballroom at Rideau Hall provided a beautiful, elegant backdrop for the ceremony. The Canadian Air Force’s Serenade of Strings treated guests to music while guests arrived and found their seats. The room was full, with both the appointees and their guests in attendance for this extraordinary event. There was a feeling in the room, which felt like a combination of excitement and awe. The presence of the appointees was incredibly humbling, and the feeling that one was among greatness was palpable.
As you can imagine, the appointees are all exceptional individuals who have contributed immensely to our Nation. The list of appointees and their accomplishments is lengthy, but worth the read, and I would highly recommend taking a look:
While each appointee has incomparable merits, there were a few that I was especially excited to see; during their appointment, I became emotional:
The first was Elder Doreen Spence (O.C.) of Calgary, Alberta. I have followed the work of this remarkable woman for years, and was truly moved to be in her presence. A Cree Grandmother, she is known for her contributions “to world peace through her teachings of unconditional love and reconciliation,” (Governor General website, Order of Canada Appointees). She represents Canada and is the presiding Elder for the United Nations Working Group of Indigenous Populations, with which she helped to create a declaration establishing global human rights standards. She was also one of the first Indigenous women to graduate as a licensed practical nurse. What a privilege it was to witness her appointment to the order.
Next was Rose Lipszyc (C.M.) Ms. Lipszyc is a Holocaust survivor who has volunteered as a speaker for over a decade, and who continues to do multiple speaking engagements each year. She has encouraged and inspired countless young people to challenge racism and oppression, and to be “agents of social change” (Governor General website, Order of Canada Appointees). I was deeply moved during her appointment.
Finally, I was thrilled to see Ronald Ivan Cohen (C.M., M.B.E.) This man has achieved so many great things, and is local to Ottawa! He is a lawyer, a film producer, and a bibliographer. As an aspiring filmmaker myself, I am truly inspired by the work and accomplishments of Mr. Cohen, which include co-founding the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television and leading the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. He has also made numerous contributions to Library and Archives Canada.
The ceremony was humbling. To be among such accomplished, exceptional Canadians was a gift. My most sincere congratulations to all of those invested into the Order of Canada this week, each and every one of you is an inspiration to the rest of us!
*Written by the Covert Ottawa Guy’s Special Correspondent for diplomatic events.
*Photo Credit: I gratefully acknowledge MCpl Anis Assari, the talented photographer who took these photos!