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They Desire a Better Country / Ils desirent une patrie meilleure

The Order of Canada in 50 Stories / L'Ordre du Canada en 50 histoires

by Lawrence Scanlan, translated by Daniel Poliquin OC

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list price: $45
edition:Hardcover
published: Feb 2017
ISBN:9781927958766
Description

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 is 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 then-Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. Since then, almost seven thousand Canadians have received the award for service to their communities, to the nation and, in some cases, to 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 although this book captures only a handful of their stories, it is a reflection of the inspiration all Order of Canada members bestow upon us.

You'll meet luminaries and unheralded wave-makers alike, of every age, from coast to coast to coast, and marvel at the breathtaking diversity of their achievements. You may learn things about celebrated individuals that you didn't know before, and be introduced to extraordinary people whose names and work are unfamiliar, but who nonetheless have made a lasting impact.

Choosing recipients for the Order of Canada is an elaborate process. Any citizen can nominate another citizen. Every year, between four hundred and six hundred names are filed with the Chancellery of Honours, the branch of the Governor General's office that oversees the selection process. Members of the Order are recognized for their contributions at a local or regional level. Officers of the Order earn it for service or accomplishment at the national level. And Companions of the Order are recognized for pre-eminent service with international impact.

In 1967, though, one of the biggest obstacles to the creation of the Order of Canada was its design. What would it look like? The graphic designer whose job it was to create the insignia for the Order nervously pondered his weighty assignment. One afternoon, as he walked out from his office, it started to snow. As every Canadian knows, it's impossible to walk through falling snow without snowflakes hitting you in the eye. He was suddenly struck with inspiration - and the snowflake insignia was born.

The next time you see someone wearing the distinctive snowflake lapel pin, ask them about their story-it will be as fascinating and inspiring as any of those told in this book, and it will serve as a reminder of all that is good and great about the place we call our home and native land. Deux fois par an, en été et en hiver, les nominations à l'Ordre du Canada sont publiées dans les journaux du pays. L'éventail des professions représentées a de quoi donner le tournis, mais l'on dégage des thèmes communs dans les choix qui sont faits : l'excellence, le service à la nation, la passion, l'innovation, le dévouement, l'intelligence. La devise de l'Ordre capte l'esprit de générosité et d'altruisme des récipiendaires : Desiderantes meliorem patriam - ils désirent une patrie meilleure.

L'Ordre du Canada, la distinction honorifique la plus prestigieuse de notre nation, a été créé il y a cinquante ans, en 1967, par le premier ministre Lester B. Pearson. Depuis, près de sept milles Canadiens en ont été investis, en reconnaissance des services rendus à leur communauté, à la nation ou au monde.

Pour célébrer le cinquantième anniversaire de l'Ordre du Canada, en 2017, la Fondation Rideau Hall a commandé ce livre exceptionnel afin d'encourager les Canadiens à en apprendre davantage sur les récipiendaires remarquables de cette prestigieuse distinction. Ce livre ne raconte qu'une poignée de leurs histoires, mais il témoigne de la capacité des membres de l'Ordre du Canada à nous inspirer.

Vous ferez la connaissance de sommités et de créateurs méconnus de tout âge, qui proviennent de tous les coins du pays, et vous vous émerveillerez devant la diversité saisissante des réalisations canadiennes. Vous apprendrez des choses que vous ignoriez sur des personnalités de marque et découvrirez des personnes remarquables dont vous ne connaissiez peut-être ni le nom ni le travail, mais qui ont eu une empreinte durable. La sélection des récipiendaires de l'Ordre du Canada est un processus abouti. Tout citoyen canadien peut proposer la candidature d'un compatriote. La Chancellerie des distinctions honorifiques, le service du Bureau du secrétaire du gouverneur général qui voit à ces formalités, reçoit chaque année entre quatre et six cents noms. Les Membres de l'Ordre sont reconnus pour leur contribution à l'échelle locale ou régionale. Les Officiers de l'Ordre ont à leur actif des services ou des réalisations d'envergure nationale. Enfin, les Compagnons sont célébrés pour leur contribution éminente au rayonnement international. En 1967, un des plus gros obstacles à la création de l'Ordre du Canada consistait à créer son insigne. Le graphiste chargé de la conception envisageait avec nervosité la lourde tâche qui l'attendait. Alors qu'il revenait de son bureau un après-midi, il se mit à neiger. Tout Canadien le sait, il est impossible de marcher quand il neige sans prendre un flocon dans l'il. Et c'est ainsi qu'est né l'insigne en forme de flocon.

La prochaine fois que vous croisez quelqu'un qui porte l'épinglette distinctive en forme de flocon, demandez-lui de vous raconter son histoire! Vous entendrez alors un récit aussi fascinant et inspirant que ceux racontés dans ce livre et vous vous souviendrez de la bonté et la beauté de la terre de nos aïeux. "

About the Authors

Lawrence Scanlan

LAWRENCE SCANLAN, based in Kingston, Ontario, workedwith Monty Roberts on his New York Times bestseller, The ManWho Listens to Horses, and he is the author of nine booksabout horses, including The Horse God Built: The Untold Storyof Secretariat, the World’s Greatest Racehorse.

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Daniel Poliquin OC

Daniel Poliquin is one of Canada’s leading francophone writers. The author of nearly a dozen books in French, mainly novels and short story collections, he holds Master’s degrees in both German and Comparative Literature, and a doctorate in French Literature. The award-winning author is also a Chevalier in the Ordre de la Pleiade, a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, and a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2006, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa. All of Poliquin’s novels have been translated into English and the author is a noted literary translator himself, who has translated many important books into French, including works by Mordecai Richler, Jack Kerouac, W.O. Mitchell, Matt Cohen, and Douglas Glover. Daniel Poliquin lives in Ottawa, where he works as a parliamentary interpreter.
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Contributor Notes

Lawrence Scanlan is the author or co-author of two dozen books, including A Year of Living Generously: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Philanthropy. As a ghostwriter, he has worked with Robert Bateman, Margaret Trudeau, Olivia Chow and Richard Peddie, among others, on their memoirs. The veteran journalist (former producer with CBC Radio's “Morningside and Writers & Company, managing editor of Harrowsmith magazine, and literary editor of The Kingston Whig-Standard) has won three National Magazine Awards.

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