This past Thursday 43 individuals received the honor of being named to the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honor, in a ceremony over which the Governor General of Canada, David Johnston, presided. The recipients included several people who we might consider to be high profile, such as the actor Michael J. Fox (who over the past decade has worked to focus research and attention on Parkinson’s disease through the Michael J. Fox Foundation), the musical artist Robbie Robertson (who was most notably a member of the rock group The Band), and Howie Meeker (a former pro hockey player and commentator).
However, I find more interesting and heartening the recognition bestowed on individuals with less fame who have strived over many years in an unsung manner to make a difference in so many fields. These include Michel Bergeron of Quebec, Queb., who is an infectious disease specialist; Mary Jo Haddad, of Oakville, Ont., an advocate for children’s healthcare; Rita Mirwald of Saskatoon, Sask., a senior mining company executive; and Earl Muldon of Hazelton, B.C., a promoter and defender of the Gitxsan First Nations culture.