New Brunswick

Three prominent New Brunswickers appointed to Order of Canada

The offices of Governor General has announced the appointment of Fredericton playwright Norman Foster, businessman Gerry Pond of Rothesay, and Moncton entrepreneur Wesley Armour to the Order of Canada.

Playwright, entrepreneur, businessman among 100 new appointments announced Dec. 30

Norman Foster, of Fredericton, is often referred to as one of Canada's most-produced playwrights. (Submitted by Norm Foster)

Rideau Hall has announced the appointment of three prominent New Brunswickers to the Order of Canada — one of the country's highest civilian honours.

Fredericton playwright Norman Foster, businessman Gerry Pond of Rothesay and Moncton entrepreneur Wesley Armour are the new appointees from New Brunswick.

Foster, Pond, and Armour will receive their awards at a ceremony in Ottawa at a later date.

A 'crowning achievement'

Norman Foster is one of Canada's most-produced playwrights, best-known for works including The Love List, The Long Weekend, and Mending Fences.

While he joked his greatest career accomplishment has been "being able to put four kids through university on a playwright's earnings in Canada," he suspects the longevity of his work factored into his appointment as an officer of the Order of Canada.

"The first professional play I had was in 1982," he said, "and I'm fortunate enough that people still do them."

Foster will premiere two new plays, Lunenburg and Screwball Comedy, at The Norm Foster Theatre Festival in St. Catharines, Ont., this summer.

"It's pretty special to be recognized by my country in this way," said Foster. "I don't take this lightly, at all. This is the crowning achievement of my career."

New path for established businessman

For Gerry Pond, appointment to member of the Order of Canada represented another accolade in a stellar, 45-year career in ICT that has included co-founding Mariner Partners and a number of successful start-ups including iMagicTV, Q1 Labs, Brovada Technologies, Radian6, Shift Energy and Cirrus9.

Gerry Pond is the co-founder of Mariner Partners and a number of successful start-ups including iMagicTV, Q1 Labs, Brovada Technologies, Radian6, Shift Energy and Cirrus9. (Submitted by Gerry Pond)
The co-founder of the Pond-Deshpande Centre at the University of New Brunswick said he plans in 2017 to journey into an area he calls the "silver economy."

"The greying of our population is a serious issue in some ways: the cost of healthcare will probably go up, as will other costs associated with elderly people, but there is also a huge opportunity there," he said, "for elderly people, and to improve the goods and services that serve them."

"This has applications across North America," he said.

He said he is "thrilled" to receive the award, "having retired at age 58 and decided to continue work and become an entrepreneur and start all over on a new career path."

"It is tremendously exciting to be recognized by your country, and your colleagues, in any endeavour you undertake,"

'Honoured and surprised'

Armour Transportation Systems President and CEO Wesley Armour said he is "humbled" to be appointed to the companion of the Order of Canada.

Armour Transportation Systems President and CEO Wesley Armour said he is “humbled” to be appointed to the order. (Submitted by Wesley Armour)
Armour, raised on his family's farm in Taylor Village, a small farming community 20 miles southeast of Moncton, acquired the company at age 22.

Armour Transportation Systems employs over 1,600 people. In addition to numerous trucking industry boards, Armour also sits on the boards of several businesses and community groups.

"Contributing to the success of our economy has always been important to me," he said, adding he's heartened to know to help "large and small communities grow, particularly in Atlantic Canada."

In 2017, he said, he looks forward to creating "new opportunities to drive economic success in our region."

50th anniversary 

Governor General David Johnston announced 100 new appointments to the Order of Canada on Dec. 20. This year will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the order, as well as the 150th anniversary of Canada. Throughout 2017, special initiatives and partnerships will celebrate the anniversary.

Fredericton playwright Norman Foster, businessman Gerry Pond of Rothesay, and Moncton entrepreneur Wesley Armour are the new appointees from New Brunswick. Foster, Pond, and Armour will receive their insignia at a ceremony in Ottawa at a later date.

"I am delighted to recognize these new recipients of the Order of Canada in this milestone year," said the Governor General, encouraging Canadians to "use this occasion to build a smarter and more caring country in which every individual can succeed to the greatest extent possible."

The Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to Canada. Almost 7,000 people from all sectors of society have been appointed to the order since its creation in 1967.

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