Twice a year, in summer and in winter, appointments to the Order of Canada are posted in newspapers across the country. The range of professions represented are often dizzying, but there are common themes in the choices: excellence, service to the nation, passion, innovation, commitment, dedication, brilliance. The order’s motto effectively captures the generous and selfless spirit of these people: Desiderantes meliorem patriam—they desire a better country.
The Order of Canada—our nation’s highest honour—was launched fifty years ago in 1967 by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. Since then, almost seven thousand Canadians have received the award for service to their communities, the nation, and, in some cases, the world.
To celebrate the Order of Canada’s fiftieth anniversary in 2017, the Rideau Hall Foundation commissioned this exceptional book with the aim of encouraging Canadians to learn about some of the remarkable individuals who have garnered this prestigious award. And though this book captures only a handful of their stories, it is a reflection of the inspiration all Order of Canada members bestow upon us.