The country’s most prestigious honour was just given out to dozens of people, and some of the recipients live on B.C.’s west coast.
Haida artists Reginald Davidson and Robert Davidson, and Dr. Granger Avery of Port McNeil are among those named Wednesday by Governor General Mary Simon, with appointments or promotions to the Order of Canada.
The Order is intended “to honour people whose service shapes our society, whose innovations ignite our imaginations, and whose compassion unites our communities,” said the announcement from the Governor General.
Reginald Lester Davidson, of Masset, B.C., was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada “for his artistic accomplishments as a carver, dancer and singer, and for his contributions to the advancement of Haida art and culture.”
His brother Robert Charles Davidson, who now lives in White Rock, B.C., was previously appointed as a Member, and was promoted Wednesday to an Officer, “for his continued excellence as an artist and as an advocate of Haida culture.”
For more than 50 years the Davidson brothers have worked to revive Haida culture and art, beginning with a pole carved by Robert in 1969, in Old Masset.
“All the things I do I do because I enjoy it. I’m not looking for awards. I mean, I’m overwhelmed that what I enjoy doing they actually give me an award for,” Reg Davidson told the Northern View.
Robert Davidson’s story was told in Haida Modern, a 2019 documentary, shown at several film festivals, by Vancouver filmmaker Charles Wilkinson.
Avery, who has practiced medicine on northern Vancouver Island for more than four decades, is an outspoken advocate for public health, most recently on clinic closures due to lack of staff. Avery is also a past president of the Canadian Medical Association.
He was named a Member of the Order of Canada “For his incisive leadership in the practice of rural medicine and for his tireless commitment to improving Canada’s health care system.”
“The Order of Canada celebrates the lives, endeavours and successes of people from coast to coast to coast and from all walks of life,” said the statement. “Those being appointed today come from a variety of sectors, have achieved national and international success, and have shown ingenuity, innovation and generosity. What’s more, they have made a difference in their communities and for Canada with their outstanding dedication and commitment.
The motto of the order – now received by some 7,600 Canadians, is DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM. It translates into English as, “They desire a better country.”
The Order of Canada was created in 1967, by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, “to honour people whose service shapes our society, whose innovations ignite our imaginations, and whose compassion unites our communities.”