Thomas Axworthy, O.C.



Thomas Axworthy, O.C. is Secretary-General of the InterAction Council of Former Heads of State and Government, distinguished Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Senior Fellow at Massey College, where he is also Chair of Public Policy.  He has served as Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau; Chair of Queen’s University Centre for the Study of Democracy; Harvard University’s Fellow of the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School and Mackenzie King Chair of Canadian Studies; and CEO of The Gordon Foundation.

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Gaston Bellemare, C.M., O.Q.



Gaston Bellemare, C.M., O.Q. is an internationally-recognized poet, editor and publisher emeritus who has played a transformative role in shaping Quebec’s literary and cultural landscape.  He is the co-founder and former president of publishing house Les Écrits des Forges (the largest publisher of French poetry in Canada), the founder and president of the Trois Rivières International Poetry Festival, and the founder of the Fédération des festivals internationaux de poésie.

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Helen Burstyn



Helen Burstyn is the Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Social Venture Zone at Ryerson University, co-host of Toronto Files, and Chair of Evergreen Canada. For many years she served as the Province of Ontario’s Special Advisor, Social Enterprise and Chair of the Partnership Forum. She is co-founder of the Pecaut Centre for Social Impact (now LEAP), and is a founding member of Equal Voice.

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A. J. Diamond, O.C.



A. J. Diamond, O.C. is an internationally-renowned architect recognized for such projects as the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the New Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. His firm, Diamond Schmitt Architects, is currently leading the revitalization of Ottawa’s National Arts Centre (NAC).

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Esi Edugyan



Esi Edugyan is an internationally-celebrated writer based in Victoria, whose best known works include The Second Life of Samuel Tyne and Half-Blood Blues, for which she won the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize. A 2014 Canada Reads Finalist, she recently published her first non-fiction work Dreaming of Elsewhere: Observations of Home.

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Mary Lou Finlay



Mary Lou Finlay is a writer, radio and TV producer with more than 35 years’ experience including as host of the flagship CBC Radio program As It Happens. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Research on Public Policy.

Xavier Gélinas, PhD.



Xavier Gélinas, PhD. is the Curator, Political History at the Canadian Museum of History, where he is currently part of the team developing the Canadian History Hall – a large-scale permanent exhibition set to open in 2017. He specializes in the political and intellectual history of Quebec and Canada in the 20th Century


Arthur Milnes



Kingston’s Arthur Milnes, the founder of the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commission, is the editor of Canada Always: The Defining Speeches of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and co-editor of Canada Transformed: The Speeches of Sir John A. Macdonald. He served as a speechwriter to then Prime Minister Stephen Harper and was the Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney’s research assistant for five years on the latter’s best-selling Memoirs.

Zarqa Nawaz



Zarqa Nawaz is a Regina-based writer, producer and activist known for CBC Television’s Little Mosque on the Prairie, the National Film Board’s documentary Me & the Mosque, and her recent memoir Laughing all the way to the Mosque, which was nominated for a 2015 Stephen Leacock Award.

A. (Sandy) Smallwood



L. A. (Sandy) Smallwood, President of Andrex Holdings, is a recognized leader in the redevelopment of landmark buildings and the recipient of six municipal heritage restoration awards, as well as the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award. He currently serves on the City of Ottawa’s Built-Heritage Sub-committee. 

Mary Walsh, C.M.



Mary Walsh, C.M. is a Newfoundland-based, nationally-recognized actor, author, advocate, writer, comedian, producer and political satirist whose long-running television series This Hour Has 22 Minutes has garnered numerous Gemini awards.  Amongst other accolades, her contributions to broadcasting and performing arts in Canada have been recognized with a Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  Outside of the film, TV and theatre world, she serves as an outspoken advocate for mental health and addiction awareness.

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An internationally-renowned urban designer and landscape architect, Mr. Dark is a Fellow of both the American and Canadian Societies of Landscape Architects. Throughout his career, he has led complex projects through from design to completion, and has directed numerous Master Plans across Canada and the United States. Of note, he is the author of the University of Ottawa’s recently-released Master Plan which guides the evolution and development of an area adjacent to Prime Ministers’ Row.

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The Honourable Landon Pearson, O.C.

The Honourable Landon Pearson, O.C. is a children’s advocate, author and former Senator, currently Chair of the Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children's Rights at Carleton University. She co-founded and Chaired the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children, and has served as the personal representative of Prime Minister Jean Chretien to the 2002 UN Special Session on Children and as President and Chair of the Canadian Council on Children and Youth.

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John Wright

 John Wright is an Ottawa-based landscape architect with 35 years of experience in designing public places.  He served as the University of Ottawa's "resident" landscape architect for 25 years and was responsible for the pedestrian streets, gateways and landscapes of seven new buildings. He also holds extensive experience with streetscapes, having designed Bank Street, King Edward Avenue and Sparks Street (Lyon to Kent) in Ottawa, as well as Princess Street in Kingston and King Street in Brockville. He currently serves as the Senior Practice Leader for urban design and landscape architecture with WSP Canada. 






Suneeta practices international law with the Federal government, with particular expertise in the areas of the law of armed conflict and the law governing the use of force. She has served as a Canadian diplomat at the United Nations in New York and in Geneva, where she worked extensively on issues related to international peace and security.  Suneeta serves as Chair of the Board of Directors.




Leanne is an experienced public relations, policy, communications and stakeholder management consultant, with expertise in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. She has held senior advisory roles at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and she worked with a federal Cabinet Minister in the areas of International Trade, Health, Intergovernmental Affairs and Official Languages. Leanne is the founder SHO Developments Ltd., a social enterprise that brings together community stakeholders and offers them an opportunity to shape their neighbourhood through strategic real estate purchases and development.




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