Meet the Recipients

DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM – Latin for “They desire a better country”. These words are the uniting trait shared by nearly
7 000 individuals who have received the Order of Canada.

So, what does it mean to desire a better country, and to work to achieve it? To find out, we sat down with three recipients who received their insignia during an investiture ceremony held in May 2016: Janet Rossant, Louise Richer and Russ Howard.

Studying the building blocks of life

Janet Rossant has devoted her career to studying how human beings develop at the earliest stages of life. As a developmental biologist, she has contributed to understanding the genes that play a crucial role in embryonic development and how embryonic stem cells differentiate to create every specialized cell in the human body. Her discoveries have had an important impact on modern medicine. As former chief of research for the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, she has been a great mentor to generations of emerging scientists. Read more about Janet’s story.

I’m a hard-core scientist, but along the way… you find out things that have important impact on medicine.

Janet Rossant, Companion of the Order of Canada

Humour: a noble cause

For Louise Richer, humour satisfies a great need in society and is fundamental to the cultural heritage of our country. As founding executive director of the École nationale de l’humour, the first institution in the world to offer professional training to comedians, she has created a space in which humour can flourish in all its forms.

People who receive the Order of Canada are people who, in some sense, have changed the world. But the first thing that I would say is that I am the one who was changed.

Louise Richer, Member of the Order of Canada

Changing the face of curling

An Olympic gold medallist in curling, Russ Howard not only mastered his sport but also helped shape the way it is played today. After ushering in a change of rules that made the sport of curling more dynamic, challenging and engaging, he helped bring Canada to the forefront of the curling world and changed the face of this beloved sport worldwide.

I think that, when it’s all said and done and I’m sitting in my rocking chair, I’ll probably look at that rule-change and say, you know, I really kick-started the sport that I love, and I’m pretty proud of that.

Russ Howard, Member of the Order of Canada


Discover more inspiring recipient stories in the Order of Canada’s 50th anniversary book, now available at bookstores nationwide:
They Desire a Better Country: The Order of Canada in 50 Stories.