Honour Roll for Canada Day

Canadians have made it big elsewhere. Sometimes, in fact, talented Canadians don’t make it big here at home until they have made it big elsewhere. So on this Canada Day weekend, a tip of the toque and a hoisting of an Okanagan pinot gris (yes, you louts can raise your beer glasses, if you must) to a few of my favourite Canadians who have stayed home and blessed us here:

Reginald Bibby: Reg is Canada’s foremost accountant of religious trends, a sociologist who has told us more about our religious make-up than—not just anyone else, but everyone else. He earned his Ph.D. in the USA and of course could have gone south, but he stayed here, out in lonely Lethbridge, and has served us well for decades.

George Stroumboulopoulos and Nora Young: These CBC broadcasters clearly have the hipness, wit, versatility, and insight to rise to the top anywhere. But having watched George and having worked with Nora, I am so glad they have continued to serve up some of Canada’s best TV and radio journalism. (I see George has recently been summoned southward to help CNN…but until he catches on there, he’s ours!)

Bramwell Tovey: Maestro Tovey impressed us all in Winnipeg when he conducted that city’s Symphony brilliantly while cultivating an audience such that it was the only Canadian orchestra in the black. He has been working similar magic here in Vancouver…and I see that today he is named to the Order of Canada. I continue to hold my breath, thinking that surely he will be snatched up by an American orchestra or finally brought home to his native Britain, but so far, so good.

Charles Taylor and Margaret Somerville: Few universities in the world have a one-two punch when it comes to timely and deeply wrought ethical reflection as has McGill University in these two doughty and dazzling Catholic scholars. It is, indeed, to our national shame that Henry Morgentaler received the Order of Canada and Dr. Somerville has not, but at least our pooh-bahs have had the basic good sense to recognize Charles properly. Thanks to both of you for not heading to brighter lights elsewhere, and remaining to illuminate us so well for so long.

Steve Bell & Carolyn Arends: Steve and Carolyn stand here for the wide array of Canadian musicians who are clearly as talented as anyone anywhere, and have produced a extensive body of excellent work, but have never caught on in the US or the UK such that they have become international stars. A whole new generation of singer-songwriters rises up from coast to coast to call them blessed.


Who are your favourite stay-at-home Canadians who deserve a hearty, if modest, Canadian hurrah on Canada Day?



10 Responses to “Honour Roll for Canada Day”

  1. David

    Douglas Hall
    David Lyon
    Preston Manning
    Brian Stiller

  2. Travis

    I’m thinking of Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole but like Strombo they are taking their talents south of the border as well…

  3. Andrea

    Joyce Olson, Coordinator of BC Provincial Outreach Programme for Students with Deafblindness – Joyce’s vision and expertise (and heart) for children with Deafblindness is unmatched in North America! We’ve got a world leader right here in British Columbia!

  4. Tim Bratton

    My vote goes to the prolific singer songwriter Bruce Cockburn. Though I’m digging the fact that Steve Bell is into Valdy.

  5. Vickie LaClare

    A shout-out to my dad, Dr. Allan Ronald (Order of Canada and soon-to-be Order of Manitoba) who has stayed at home to raise up Canadian physicians with integrity. You might even convince your stray kids to move back to Canada one day!

    • John

      I actually thought about your dad, Vickie, and his medical compatriot Dr. Henry Friesen, whom I enjoyed seeing again at the CMDS conference a couple of years ago. Thanks for putting them on the list!

      I’m not sure which “stray kids” you mean, though, since our sons live with us and only one of them went to college in the States. Perhaps you’re keeping closer tabs on us than I realize and you already know that Josh is heading back to America, this time to NYC to seek his fortune on Broadway? Like, do you work for the CSIS–or maybe the NSA?!

  6. Vickie LaClare

    No, not with either! Just not very clear in my comment–I was writing to my dad, hoping to make him feel better in light of 2 of his 3 children (and 9 of his 12 grandkids) living in the US…My husband and I have worked with Power to Change, loaned to the US for the past 16 years, and my sister moved down here with her family in 2008…we faithfully celebrated Canada day today though!


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