Former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour, Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge, former MP Deborah Grey and oilman Jack Irving were among the list of new appointments on Friday to the Order of Canada.
In all, 61 names were on the prestigious list, announced by Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean.
Three were named companions of the order, which is Canada's the highest civilian honour. They includeArbour as well as artist Michael Snow and sports volunteer and philanthropist Margaret Southern.
Another 18 Canadians were designated as officers of the order, and 40 were made members.
The awards will be given out at a ceremony to be held at a later date, Jean's office said in a media release.
Arbour served as Supreme Court justice from 1999 until 2004. She gained international attention and acclaim for her work as the chief prosecutor for tribunals into the genocide in Rwanda and human rights abuses in Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
She now works as the United Nations High Commissioner for human rights.
Arbour is being honoured "for her contributions to the Canadian justice system and for her dedication to the advancement of human rights throughout the world," the governor general's office said.
Dodge, who has overseen the Bank Canada since his appointment in February 2001, will end his term in office at the end of January.
Before his time as governor, he worked for many years in the federal public service with posts that included deputy minister of finance and deputy minister of health.
He is being recognized for "his contributions to public service, notably for his leadership in Canadian monetary policy," Jean's office said.
'A real thrill'
Grey, meanwhile, is being honoured for her "record of public service and for her advocacy on behalf of youth and education, as a foster parent, teacher, parliamentarian and public speaker."
"It was just a really big surprise and just a real thrill," Grey told CBC News in Edmonton.
"I mean, you know how people always say 'I'm honoured?'But you can't really think of another word for it, you know?"
Grey rose to prominence in 1989 when a byelection win made her the first member of parliament for the fledgling Reform Party. Grey announced in March 2003 that she would not seek re-election to the House of Commons.
Jack Irving is one of three well-known brothers in New Brunswick who control a $5.3-billion empire. Established in Bouctouche, N.B., with the opening of a single sawmill in 1882, it now has interests in forestry, retail, trucking, media and energy.
The Irving family was listed in the fall of 2007 as having the fifth largest fortune in Canada.
Nash, Hughes, Gretzky also on list
Other names on the appointment list announcedon Friday include big names in the sporting world such as Phoenix Suns' star Steve Nash of Victoria and Olympic speedskater Clara Hughes of Winnipeg who were both named officers of the order.
Walter Gretzky, the father of Wayne Gretzky, was named a member of the Order for his work with various charities.
Also appointed were human rights activist, Alex Neve, who was named to the middle rank,an officer of the order.
One of the star-studded names from the arts world was musician Paul Shaffer, who was named a member. Shafer has gained fame for his work as band leader on the U.S. television show Late Show with David Letterman.