Manitoba names 12 to province's highest honour

Twelve people — including Indigenous leaders, a philanthropist, activists, educators and entrepreneurs — have been named to the Order of Manitoba, the province’s highest honour, in a year that marks the 150th anniversary of the province. 

Recipients include Indigenous leaders, philanthropist, activists, educators and entrepreneurs

Mitch Bourbonniere, left, and Mary Courchene are two of this year's recipients of the Order of Manitoba. (Gary Solilak/Lenard Monkman/CBC)

Twelve people — including Indigenous leaders, a philanthropist, activists, educators and entrepreneurs — have been named to the Order of Manitoba in a year that marks the 150th anniversary of the province. 

The order is the province's highest honour, established in 1999 to honour those who have demonstrated excellence and achievement, helping to enriching the social, cultural or economic well-being of Manitoba and its residents.

Typically, the annual list is announced on May 12, to coincide with the day the Manitoba Act received royal assent in 1870, but this year's announcement was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, it is being made July 15, the 150th anniversary of the Manitoba Act being officially enacted, bringing the province into Confederation. It is also the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Manitoba Legislative Building.

The 12 recipients, with notes from the announcement, are:

  • Dr. Stephen Borys

The director and CEO of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Borys has long been a fierce advocate for the power of art to change lives and communities. He is leading the effort to build the Inuit Art Centre and holds the post of adjunct professor at the University of Winnipeg. He serves on national museum association boards, where he has advanced a meaningful dialogue on the role of culture in society today.

Stephen Borys, director and CEO of the Winnipeg Art Gallery (Radja Mahamba/CBC)
  • Mitch Bourbonniere

An educator and community activist, Bourbonniere has long been inspired to help others find their voices. A founding member of the original Bear Clan Patrol, he also volunteers with Ogijiita Pimatswin Kinamatwin, Mama Bear Clan, Drag the Red and many other organizations. He has received two Governor General's Awards for bravery and meritorious service and the Royal Canadian Humane Association Bronze Medal for Bravery for jumping into a Winnipeg river to save a young woman's life in December 2016.

  • Mary Courchene

Courchene is an Indigenous leader and role model in the field of public education, sharing her guidance and experience on the journey toward truth and reconciliation for all Manitobans. Drawing on the strength of her family and culture along with her own painful experiences as a residential school survivor, she seeks to build understanding that brings both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities together to learn, heal and grow.

  • Dr. Krishnamurti Dakshinamurti

An emeritus professor in the University of Manitoba faculty of medicine, Dakshinamurti is a senior advisor to the St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre and an innovator in the epigenetics of vitamins, metabolic syndrome disorders and the pharmacology of vitamins. He was included in the Cambridge University Press's Outstanding Scientists of the 21st Century.

  • Bill Elliott

Elliott is the founding executive director of the Fort Whyte Centre for Environmental Education, now known as FortWhyte Alive. 

  • Richard Frost

During his tenure as CEO of the Winnipeg Foundation, the organization has experienced unprecedented growth and development, multiplying its net worth and increasing its social and cultural influence in Winnipeg and surrounding communities.

  • Tina Jones

Chair of the Health Sciences Centre Foundation board, Jones is a successful entrepreneur, community contributor and philanthropist. Her work with HSC Foundation has raised record funds, impacting the lives of many Manitobans. She has recently been recognized by the Women's Executive Network as one of Canada's 100 most powerful women.

Tina Jones, chair of the Health Sciences Centre Foundation (Ian Froese/CBC)
  • Marion Lewis

A pioneer in medical genetics, Lewis co-founded the Winnipeg Rh Laboratory to study and eradicate hemolytic disease of the newborn. Prior to her work, HDN was a major cause of morbidity and death in the newborn period. The Rh Laboratory has the distinction of being one of the earliest genetics laboratories in Canada. Lewis developed and perfected the methodology to detect all forms of Rh incompatibility and to use this same technique to test the blood of all pregnant women in Manitoba.

  • Margaret Morse 

Manitoba's first speech therapist, Morse pioneered speech clinics in hospitals, assessing and treating adults and children with communication disorders for several decades, for which her patients were very grateful. Morse continues to advocate for a master's program in speech pathology at the University of Manitoba and has a long record of volunteerism with a variety of community organizations.

  • Stuart Murray

Murray has an eclectic resume spanning the fields of entertainment, business, health, sports, public service, community service and human rights. In addition to being a former political party leader, chair of the 1999 World Junior Hockey Championship, honorary colonel of 17 Wing Winnipeg, chair of Travel Manitoba and co-chair of the Manitoba150 Host Committee, he was appointed the inaugural president and CEO of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in 2009.

  • Scott Oake

Oake is a Gemini Award-winning Canadian sportscaster for CBC Sports, Sportsnet and Hockey Night in Canada. He is also a director of the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre, a Winnipeg-based project dedicated to the memory of his 25-year-old son, who passed away in 2011 as the result of a drug overdose.

  • Ernest Rady

An entrepreneur and former member of the Manitoba Bar Association, Rady has supported important causes, including education, children's health and scientific research. His charitable donations include the Rady Children's Hospital, the Salvation Army and a $30-million gift to the University of Manitoba.

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Ernest Rady (Thomas Fricke/University of Manitoba)

The formal investiture ceremony for the recipients will be held at a yet-to-be determined date at the legislative building.

"This year, as Manitobans have been tested and have responded with courage, creativity and hope, we are even more aware of the importance of commitment to community," said Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon, chancellor of the order, who will preside over the ceremony.

Appointments to the order are made by the chancellor based on the recommendations of an advisory council.