By chance, there are minor similarities among some of the people on the annual Maclean's Honor Roll for 1987. Brian Orser and Wayne Gretzky, for their different purposes, both perform on skates. Maureen Forrester and Ofra Harnoy make music in the lower registers—Forrester with her rich contralto voice, Harnoy on her vibrant cello. Douglas Cardinal and Sylvia Rempel are designers, he of buildings and she of clothing. Beyond those coincidences, the Honor Roll consists of an eclectic group of 12 men and women who have excelled in endeavors as varied as the arts and business, science and sports. Some of them are accustomed to honors. Others have not been widely known beyond their fields of activity. But all of them share important qualities: their accomplishments not only brought personal success, but they enriched Canada.
The 12 whose achievements are outlined on the following pages were selected by Maclean 's editors from a list of candidates compiled by the magazine’s staff during the year. Senior writer Mark Nichols, with bureau chiefs Bruce Wallace in Montreal, John Howse in Calgary and Jane O’Hara in Vancouver, interviewed the subjects and wrote the stories. Chief photographer Brian Wilier, assisted by Paul Little in Vancouver, composed the portraits.
Some of the people portrayed in the package made headlines during the year. Astronomy student Ian Shelton discovered the first clearly observable exploding star in more than three centuries. Orser won the men’s world figure skating championship. Gretzky broke records almost every time he entered a hockey rink, but he was especially impressive in the year’s dramatic encounters with the Soviet all-stars. Patricia Rozema gained attention in the entertainment world with her movie, I've Heard the Mermaids Singing. Marcel Aubut staged Quebec City’s February festival of hockey and the arts.
Many of the others made their marks away from the limelight. Haida leader Miles Richardson's cause attracted international attention, but much of his work to protect native homelands was carried out behind the scenes. Playwright René-Daniel Dubois, despite his work for the stage, is a man who guards his privacy. By its nature, businessman Martin Connell’s aid to the smallest of small entrepreneurs in the Third World, and among Canada’s native people, does not normally gain wide attention.
There were other Canadians whose achievements in 1987 warrant mention as well. Sprinter Ben Johnson set a world record. Swimmer Carolyn Waldo won two gold medals at the world synchronized swimming championships. Mountaineer Sharon Wood received the inaugural Tenzing Norgay Trophy—named for the late Sherpa climber from Nepal—from a fellow conqueror of Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary. Rick Hansen completed his round-the-world wheelchair odyssey. Film-maker Kevin Sullivan completed, and CBC TV screened, the sequel to his widely popular Anne of Green Gables. All of those people were celebrated in the 1986 Maclean’s Honor Roll.
The tangible memento that went to them, and which will be presented to the new roll of “twelve who made a difference,” is a bronze medallion designed by Toronto’s Dora de Pédery-Hunt. Her design portrays Pegasus, the winged horse of classical mythology, reaching for the stars. The themes represented are creativity and a striving for excellence. Those are qualities that are shared by the Canadians acclaimed in the pages that follow. They have demonstrated their excellence in the ideas and the ideals that they pursue, in the work that they do and in the benefits that they brought to Canada in 1987.
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