Order of Ottawa

What a great evening we had inducting amazing residents into the Order of Ottawa and honouring one individual for the Brian Kilrea Award for Excellence in Coaching. There’s a quote that’s attributed to Plato: “The city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.” And each of them is amazing.

Each of them has been a leader in their respective field, a trailblazer in our community, and a mentor to colleagues and friends. Together, they have built a better and stronger city to hand to future generations.

Let me give you a few examples of the work that this group has done.

Ritchard Brisbin has helped shape and build this city, leaving his signature design and architecture work on some of Ottawa’s most iconic and admired buildings, including the Shaw Centre, the Rideau Centre Expansion and the Confederation Line Stations.

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Dr. Christopher Carruthers has been a leader and mentor to so many of our best and brightest medical professionals. His goal of leaving a place in better shape than how you found it has been felt by many throughout this city.

Michael Crockatt has guided Ottawa’s tourism sector through some of its most difficult days, through the height of the pandemic he was one of Ottawa’s biggest boosters. He has helped put Ottawa on the top of so many peoples must travel to cities.

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Dr. Robert Cushman has always put the health of the community at the heart of his work. He has been instrumental in giving all generations of Ottawa residents a safe and healthy community. His work and advocacy in bringing forward smoke-free legislation in public places has saved the lives of so many across the province and has improved the quality of life for everyone in our community.

John Ferguson embodies caring about your local community, as a small business owner to one of Wellington West’s most recognized stores and a leader in supporting the efforts of combating food insecurity in Ottawa. John has shown the importance and impact of being an active leader in your community.

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Deirdre Freiheit has done so much over so many years to help our most vulnerable residents. She has helped them find a place to call home and restart their lives with dignity and care. Her passion for building a healthier and inclusive city is remarkable.

Sharon Ching Wai Kan has helped make this city a more vibrant and more welcoming place, a city that cares for its newest residents, some of them who have come here with nothing but the clothes on their back. She has made them feel welcome and supported and has inspired so many across Ottawa to do the same.

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Sam Laprade has made it her life’s work to recognize, highlight and elevate the work of some of our most dedicated and deserving charities. She has helped raise millions of dollars for charities across Ottawa and has helped give a voice to organizations and causes that have often struggled to break through.

André MLevesque has served this city and our country with pride and dedication. His work to honor those who served our nation in combat has ensured that we will never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation.

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Anne Merklinger has inspired and led some of our most distinguished and brightest athletes. She has helped remove barriers and create an environment that allows for the growth and success of amateur athletes across Canada to compete at the highest levels around the world.

Joan Milkson has opened the eyes and ears of young Ottawa residents to the joy and power of classical music. She has performed on some of the world’s largest stages and inspired and taught countless future performers to pick up an instrument to learn and experience firsthand the remarkable impact of music.

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Mark Palmer has been a champion for the differently abled in our community. His commitment and dedication to making our city an equitable place that is accepting and welcoming has enabled so many of our residents with developmental challenges to lead full, happy independent lives.

Solange Tuyishime Keita has given a voice to those who often feel they don’t have one. She has inspired and advocated for women’s rights and empowerment around the world. Her ability to find positives and hope in some of the most difficult times should serve as inspiration to all of us.

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Marianne Wilkinson has shown the power and importance of municipal government. She has helped build this city into what it is today and have left her mark in all corners of Ottawa. But most importantly she has inspired women to serve their community in leadership positions. I know many of my council colleagues are serving because of the work she did in overcoming barriers and opening the doors of elected office to those who never thought it would be possible.

Janet Young has given us a window into the earliest days of Bytown and Ottawa, when we were just a small community with so much potential ahead. She has allowed us to be able to properly pay our respects and honour those who were once forgotten but have played a pivotal role in shaping not just this city but our nation as well.

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The recipient of this year’s Brian Kilrea award is Ray Martel. For over 30 years, Ray has committed himself to caring, coaching, and mentoring young athletes from across Ottawa. He has coached some of our most promising soccer talents, many of whom have gone on to represent our country on the international stage. Ray instilled a culture of respect, professionalism, camaraderie and enjoyment of the game in so many of our young athletes. These are skills and ideals they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.