January 23, 2014 5:50 pm
Updated: January 23, 2014 5:53 pm

David Cronenberg, Paul Henderson among those named to Order of Ontario

Canadian film director David Cronenberg speaks before touring "David Cronenberg: Evolution" in Toronto on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
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TORONTO – Acclaimed film director David Cronenberg and pioneering black politician Alvin Curling were among those invested Thursday into the Order of Ontario.

Twenty-five people – including hockey great Paul Henderson – were appointed to receive Ontario’s highest honour from Lt.-Gov. David Onley in a ceremony at Queen’s Park.

Henderson was unable to attend Thursday’s ceremony and will be inducted into the Order at a later date.

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TVOntario host Steve Paikin, Toronto International Film Festival director Piers Handling, and George E. Carter, the first Canadian-born black judge, also were among the recipients.

The Order of Ontario was created in 1986 and recognizes the highest level of individual excellence and achievement in any field.

Nominations are made by members of the public, and any resident, or former long-term resident of Ontario can be nominated.

Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chisanga Puta-Chekwe said Cronenberg “has built a reputation as a seriously transgressive artist.”

“For more than 40 years, movie lovers around the world have been challenged and delighted by his work,” Puta-Chekwe said in introducing the filmmaker, director and writer. “The value he adds to the creative community is incalculable.”

Alvin Curling, Puta-Chekwe said, “never shied away from the political fray.”

“In 2003, he became the first black Canadian to be elected speaker of a legislative assembly,” he said, adding that Curling “serves as a positive role model for newcomers, and continues to advocate for minority voices.”

Paikin – journalist and host of TVO’s nightly public affairs program, The Agenda with Steve Paikin – was introduced as a “familiar face.”

Paikin serves a “vital” role and helps us to better understand the world in which we live by providing perspective and insight into the issues of the day, Puta-Chekwe said.

Carter was one of Canada’s first black lawyers and worked to change Ontario’s criminal justice system.

Puta-Chekwe said he “used his legal wisdom and unwavering belief in equal rights to fight discriminatory practices in employment, housing and the criminal justice system.”

Premier Kathleen Wynne thanked all the recipients for their “remarkable” contributions to Ontario.

“You are our role models, our trailblazers and our beacons of hope,” she said.

Following is a list of appointees invested into the Order of Ontario at a ceremony at the provincial legislature Thursday:

– Irving Abella, scholar and historian

– Dr. Mohit Bhandari, orthopaedic surgeon and researcher

– Paul Burston, has spent more than 40 years working to improve Ontario’s social services sector

– George E. Carter, the first Canadian-born black judge

– Ellen Campbell, founder and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness

– Penny Collenette, innovator whose research spans public policy, business, law and academia

– Ronald Common, president of Sault College

– Paul Corkum, world renowned physicist

– David Cronenberg, internationally acclaimed filmmaker

– Alvin Curling, the first black Speaker of the Ontario Legislature

– Allison Fisher, executive director of Ottawa’s Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health

– Claude Gingras, advocate for Ontario’s francophone community

– Avvy Yao Yao Go, lawyer who works to advance the rights of Toronto’s marginalized communities

– Piers Handling, director and CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival

– Paul Henderson, hockey hero

– Justin Hines, singer and songwriter who has raised millions of dollars for charities throughout the world

– Ronald Jamieson, leader in the movement towards greater Aboriginal economic development in Canada

– Jeanne Lamon, music director of Toronto’s Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

– Frances Noronha, former senior Ontario government official working in Iraq to help shape public administration based on accountability and transparency

– Lyn McLeod, former Ontario Liberal leader

– Diane Morrison, former executive director of the Mission, an Ottawa homeless shelter

– Steve Paikin, journalist and TVO host

– Dr. James Rutka, pediatric neurosurgeon

– Adel Sedra, distinguished engineering scholar and professor

– Toby Tanenbaum, philanthropist

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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