Beyond Famous: Canada’s Walk of Fame Inductees

Donovan Bailey

Donovan Bailey

2017 Inductee | Area of recognition: Sports and Athletics | Born: December 16, 1967 | Birthplace: Manchester Parish, Jamaica

One of the greatest sprinters of all-time, Hall of Fame track & field legend, Donovan Bailey, is a 3x world record holder (current record holder over 50m), 2x Olympic champion (1996 - 100m and 4x100m) and 3x world champion (1995 in the 100m and 4x100m and 1997 in the 4x100m,silver in 100m). He was named Track & Field News sprinter of the decade for his stellar 10 year career (1991-2001) greatest sprinter in Canadian history and was only anchor of all of Canada’s gold medal team relay wins to date.

As CEO of Bailey Inc., Donovan has focused on investments and successful business ventures across the globe in the real estate, restaurant, and health and wellness industries for the past 25 years.

His accomplishments on the track and in the boardroom have helped Bailey develop a vast global network and led to his appointment as a board member, brand ambassador or spokesperson for a range of organizations and causes including: Adidas, Coca-Cola, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Canada, Alzheimer’s Research, Participaction, and the Humber River Hospital Foundation.

Bailey is a world renowned sports media analyst for leading broadcasters such as the BBC and CBC. Most recently, he covered the Scotland 2014 commonwealth games, 2013 World Athletics Championships in Russia, London 2012 Olympics, 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, the 2015 World Games in Beijing and recently the  2016 Olympic summer games in Rio.

Viola Desmond

Viola Desmond

2017 Inductee | Area of Recognition: Philanthropy and Humanities | Life: July 6, 1914 - February 7, 1965 | Birthplace: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Viola Desmond (née Davis) was born on July 6, 1914, one of fifteen children of James Albert and Gwendolyn Irene (née Johnson) Davis. Viola grew up with parents who were active in the black community in Halifax, despite the fact that her mother was a non-visible-minority and her father black, unusual for the time.[8]

Viola taught school in the black community of Preston. While teaching she read an article about Madam C.J. Walker who had developed a business empire of hair-dressing schools and salons in the United States. Madam Walker is recognized as the first self made female millionaire in the US. With Madam C.J. Walker as heridol Viola set out to fill a need for a black hairdressing facility for in Halifax.  Of African descent, Viola was not allowed to train to become a beautician in Halifax, so she studied in Montreal and also in the USA. . Her clients included Portia White and New Glasgow native Carrie Best, (the owner and publisher of The Clarion, a newspaper for Blacks). Viola’s  Vi’s Studio of Beauty Culture was the only shop in Halifax where coloured women could have their hair done, as a result she did a very brisk trade. Viola was noted for her cheerfulness, positive outlook on life and sympathetic treatment of all her clientele.

Viola continued her studies in the USA in cosmetology and began making her own beauty products under the trade name Sepia, she also made wigs for her customers. 

Viola’s products became known in other Black communities in the province and as a result requested products were delivered by mail. After the end of WWII she bought a car and learned to drive. On November 8, 1946 she decided to go to Sydney to deliver some orders and to  conduct some business related to her products. Her trip would have taken her through all the small towns on the main road. What today is a 4 ½ hour trip could have taken up to 7 or 8 hours including a ferry passage across the Canso Straight.

Arriving in New Glasgow (about ¼ of the way to Sydney) she had a problem with her car. The garage mechanic advised he needed a part which would arrive the next morning. She decided to take in a movie to pass the time.

In the theatre Viola asked for one down please, was given a ticket and her change and proceeded to sit in the lower floor near the screen. Within a couple of minutes the usher advised her she was in the wrong section. “Your ticket is for up in the balcony”. The theatre was segregated, Blacks were only allowed in the balcony.

Viola returned to the cashier and asked to exchange her ticket for the lower floor. She was told “We don’t sell downstairs tickets to you people”. Viola understood fully at that point and left the change on the counter and went back to her seat. The usher told her she must move or the manager would be called. Viola refused to move, protesting that she had done nothing wrong. Eventually the manager called the police. The policeman and the manager man-handled Viola out of the theatre and she was taken to jail where she remained overnight.

The next morning Viola was taken to court and appeared before the judge with the theatre manager, the cashier and the usher as witnesses against her. No mention was made of colour and Viola was fined $20.00 and $6.00 costs OR to serve 30 days in jail. The charge was for not paying the one cent difference in provincial amusement tax between the upstairs and downstairs tickets. Viola was not advised of her right to a lawyer, her right to question the witnesses, or thjat she could have a stay of trial.

Viola returned home to Halifax with badly bruised arms and legs. Her doctor told her she should see a lawyer about the incident, as did her friend Pearline Oliver.  Mrs. Oliver was a well known strong supporter of racial equality as was her husband Rev William Oliver. Rev. Oliver was the only Black Chaplain in the Canadian Army in WW II.

An appeal of the case eventually reached the NS supreme court and was dismissed on a technicality. One of the justices remarked: 

“One wonders if the manager of the theatre who laid the complaint was so zealous because of a bona fide belief there had been an attempt to defraud the Province of Nova Scotia of the sum of one cent, or was it a surreptitious endeavour to enforce a Jim Crow rule by misuse of a public statute.”  

Viola was asked to become a spokesperson with the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People. She declined and continued with her hairdressing business and with the class of eleven students that she was teaching at that time.

Viola continued with her hairdressing salon for a few more years and then left to  study business in Montreal. She then moved to New York and started a business as actor’s  business agent.

Viola died in her New York apartment February 7 1965 of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage 

In 2010, the Province of Nova Scotia posthumously granted Viola a Royal Prerogative of Free Mercy Pardon and apologized to Viola’s family for her wrongful conviction.

In 2012, Desmond was portrayed on a commemorative stamp issued by Canada Post.  

On February 2, 2016, featured Desmond in a Heritage Minute. 

On July 7, 2016, a Halifax harbour ferry was launched bearing her name

On December 8, 2016, she was chosen as the first Canadian woman to appear on a Canadian ten dollar bank note to be issued in late 2018.


Anna Paquin

Anna Paquin

2017 Inductee | Area of recognition: Arts and Entertainment | Born: July 24, 1982 | Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba

Anna Paquin’s work in film, television and theater has proven her as an extraordinary and diverse performer in the entertainment industry. 

Paquin was recently cast in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film, The Irishman. Earlier this year, she wrapped shooting for Annabel Jankels’ Tell It To The Bees; and Stephen Moyer’s The Parting Glass in which she is co-producing and co-starring alongside Cynthia Nixon, Denis O’Hare, and Ed Asner. The film follows a family who, after their sister’s death, embark on a journey to collect the remnants of her life. 

This fall, she will be seen on CBC and Netflix’s Alias Grace, based on the novel by Margaret Atwood. The show tells the story of Grace Marks and James McDermott, who were convicted of the brutal murders of their employer, Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery (Paquin) in 1843. Later this year, she will also be seen in Electric Dreams alongside Terrence Howard, Rachelle Lefevre, Jacob Vargas, and more. The science fiction show is based on Philip K. Dick’s anthology series and will be broadcasted through Channel 4 in the UK and Amazon Video in the United States.

Most recently, Paquin was seen on Bellevue, a CBC detective eight-part drama series set in a blue-collar Canadian town. The show will air on WGN America in 2018. 

In 2016, Paquin was seen as ‘Nancy Holt’ in HISTORY’s remake of Roots in “Night Four.” She was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award for her role.

For seven seasons, Paquin starred in the HBO drama True Blood for which she won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama.  Paquin’s other television credits include starring in the CBS Hallmark Hall of Fame movie The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler and HBO's original film Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

Additional film credits include Margaret; X-Men; X-Men 2; and X-Men: The Last Stand; The Squid and The Whale; 25th Hour; Finding Forester; Almost Famous; Amistad; Buffalo Soldiers; A Walk on the Moon; Fly Away Home; Jane Eyre; The Romantics; and Straight A’s. Paquin also starred in and co-produced Blue State with her brother Andrew, under their banner Paquin Films. Paquin’s film debut in Jane Campion's The Piano led to her winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at the age of eleven.

On stage, Paquin performed the lead in The Glory of Living for director Phillip Seymour Hoffman.  Other stage credits include Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth, After Ashley directed by Terry Kinney, and Neil Labute's The Distance from Here

In 2014, Paquin and Stephen Moyer, through their production company CASM, signed a two-year, first-look deal with HBO to develop series, films, and miniseries for them to produce, direct, and star.  In 2013, Paquin starred in Free Ride, which she produced through CASM. Based on a true story, the film follows Christina (Paquin), an abused single mother in the 1970’s who is caught up in the Florida drug trade.  


Ted Rogers

Ted Rogers

2017 Inductee | Area of recognition: Business and Entrepreneurship | Life: May 27, 1933 - December 2, 2008 | Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario

Mr. Rogers was the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rogers Communications Inc. (“RCI”), a media and telecommunications company that serves millions of Canadians from coast-to-coast and employs more than 26,000.

Rogers Communications began in 1960 with an $85,000 loan and the vision and relentless determination of a twenty-something young man who saw potential in a new technology called FM radio. While still studying law, Mr. Rogers bought CHFI and, at the time, only 5 per cent of Toronto radio listeners had an FM radio. Today, CHFI remains one of Canada’s most popular radio station. 

Like his genius father before him, an inventor who died when Ted was only five years old, Mr. Rogers long believed in the power and potential of new technologies to educate, entertain and improve our lives.

Following FM radio, Mr. Rogers compiled a pioneering record second to none in seeing and investing in groundbreaking new technologies: cable television, wireless telephony, high-speed Internet service, multicultural TV programming, digital television, personal video recorders (PVRs) and more.

Mr. Rogers earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in 1956, and his LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1961. He was called to the bar of Ontario on April 13, 1962. In addition to his formal education, Mr. Rogers was awarded a number of honourary doctorates from notable Canadian and American universities.

In October 1990 Mr. Rogers was made an Officer of The Order of Canada and in April 1994 was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.  In October 2002 Mr. Rogers was the first Canadian to be inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame in Denver, Colorado. In October, 2006, he was inducted into Canada’s Telecommunications Hall of Fame. 

He and his wife, Loretta, were named Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year in 2002 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Toronto Chapter. The Rogers family have given millions of dollars to educational and health-related charities, including donations to the University of Toronto and Ryerson University. 


David Suzuki

David Suzuki

2017 Inductee | Area of recognition: Science and Technology | Born: March 24, 1936 | Birthplace: Vancouver, British Columbia

Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. He is Companion to the Order of Canada and a recipient of UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for science, the United Nations Environment Program medal, the 2012 Inamori Ethics Prize, the 2009 Right Livelihood Award, and UNEP’s Global 500. Dr. Suzuki is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and holds 29 honorary degrees from universities around the world. He is familiar to television audiences as host of the CBC science and natural history television series The Nature of Things, and to radio audiences as the original host of CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks, as well as the acclaimed series It's a Matter of Survival and From Naked Ape to Superspecies. In 1990 he co-founded with Dr. Tara Cullis, The David Suzuki Foundation to “collaborate with Canadians from all walks of life including government and business, to conserve our environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through science-based research, education and policy work.”  His written work includes more than 55 books, 19 of them for children. Dr. Suzuki lives with his wife and family in Vancouver, B.C.


Stompin’ Tom Connors

Stompin’ Tom Connors

Cineplex Legends Inductee | Area of recognition: Music | Life: February 9, 1936 - March 6, 2013 | Birthplace: Saint John, New Brunswick

Connors, hailed as the unofficial Canadian poet laureate, is credited with writing more than 300 songs with total sales in excess of 4 million copies. With his homespun and fiercely patriotic brand of music, Connors rich musical legacy includes Canadian country chart topping hits “Bud the Spud”, “Luke’s Guitar”, “The Bridge Came Tumbling Down”, “Sudbury ‪Saturday Night”, “Big Joe Mufferaw”, “Ketchup Song” and Canadian anthem “The Hockey Song”. Connor’s accolades include JUNO Awards for Best Male Country Singer (1971-75) and Country Album of the Year (1978). In 1978, however, he returned the awards in protest of JUNOs given to expatriate Canadians. Connor’s other accolades include the East Coast Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award, SOCAN National Achievement Award (1999), SOCAN Lifetime Achievement Award (2009), the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award (2000), Toronto Musicians’ Union Lifetime Achievement Award (2011), and was the subject of a postage stamp issued in Canada Post’s recording artist series.


Shawn Hook

Shawn Hook

2017 Allan Slaight Honour | Area of recognition: Music | Born: September 5, 1984 | Birthplace: Castlegar, British Columbia

If there were an easy path to pop stardom, singer-songwriter Shawn Hook would have crossed it long ago. Instead, he traded the short shelf life of teen idol status for the steady mastery of his craft. The game plan paid off with Shawn’s debut hit single, “Sound of Your Heart,” which tore up Top 40 radio last year. That only set the table for bigger things to come: his Hollywood Records premiere EP, “My Side of Your Story,” Shawn’s most mature and musically adventurous work to date.He had several high-charting hit singles in Canada off his albums, “Cosmonaut and the Girl,” and “Analog Love” with “Sound of Your Heart” reaching the #1 position on the Billboard Dance Club chart. With the release of the new EP and single “Reminding Me” featuring Vanessa Hudgens, Shawn has been seizing the moment, performing his single on NBC’s “Today Show” and on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” bringing “My Side Of Your Story” to the world.
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