In honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, I had the privilege of recognizing fourteen residents from Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill with a special Canada 150 Citizenship Award in November of 2017. The award, an initiative led in partnership with Heritage Canada, recognized residents who have made important contributions to the advancement of our local community and to Canada.
The recipients, ages ranging from 13 years old to 100 years old, were recognized within three categories – Discovery and Innovation, Reflection of Canadian Values, and Thought Leadership. Each recipient has exemplified outstanding leadership within their category through innovative research and invention, dedication to upholding the Canadian values of diversity, inclusion and compassion in the community, or furthering the intellectual capital of Canada.
In partnership with Heritage Canada, MP Alleslev awarded winners with a certificate of achievement and with special commemorative Canada 150 pins made from the original copper which covered the roofs of Canada’s Parliament Buildings from 1918 to 1996.
Meet the recipients of the Canadian 150 Citizenship Awards and learn more about their incredible accomplishments and achievements.
Discovery and Innovation
Recipients of the Canada 150 Citizenship Award for Discovery and Innovation have exemplified outstanding commitment to fostering innovation and contributed to the advancement of Canada through science and technology.
Bob & Steven Dengler, Robert Dugal MacDuff – C150 Odyssey: C150GO
Bob Dengler, his son Steven, and Robert MacDuff successfully completed the world’s first Canadian around-the-world helicopter flight, and the first ever father-son global circumnavigation in honour of Canada 150.
Kayley Ting, 17, presented her project “Analysis of Electrodermal Activity to Quantify Stress Levels in Autism” at the Prime Minister’s Science Fair. Kayley recognized that a challenge for those with Autism is coping with sensory overload, so she created a wearable device that identifies the causes of sensory overload to help prevent future occurrences.
Dr. Jan Oudenes
In 2003 Dr. Oudenes started Alphora Research Inc. with the goal to develop process technology for novel pharmaceutical molecular structures which are exceptionally difficult to manufacture commercially. Alphora has grown from concept to approximately 140 scientists, engineers and technical personnel, and provides high-quality jobs in science and technology for Canadians.
The Classy Cyborgs are 10 young inventors ages 13–15. They developed the Treasure Box Braille Learning System which pairs computer software with an external Brailler that teaches the alphabet and basic math to those who are blind but cannot read Braille. Members: Vera Cotturo, Sammy Emamian, James Andrade, Sean Lloyd, Sebastian Villate, Logan Maier, Rhys Binnie, Isabel Neufeld, Jenna Pezzack, and Disha Prashar.
Reflection of Canadian Values
Recipients of the Canada 150 Citizenship Award for Reflection of Canadian Values have exemplified outstanding commitment to upholding the important Canadian values of diversity, inclusion and compassion through their dedication to enrich the lives of many while strengthening ties in our local communities.
James Wai-Hing Hui
Mr. Hui has been an extraordinary leader in founding and initiating service organizations including the Outreach Senior Caring Program, the Hong Kong Tourists Industry (Toronto) and English as a Second Language and Citizenship classes for his community. Soon approaching his 100th birthday, Mr. Hui still continues to work tirelessly to ensure seniors in his community receive important services.
Jim has volunteered for local organizations for over 40 years. A few of his volunteer activities include delivering meals for Meals on Wheels , helping in Don Valley Jr. High School’s library for 10 years, and participating in committee work at the North York YMCA.
As the former President of the Islamic Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat (ISIJ) of Toronto, Razak assisted in the development of a new multi-purpose community centre and mosque that is now the home to one of Ontario’s top schools. Razak is also President of NASIMCO, an organization that supports community development both locally and internationally.
After immigrating to Canada in 1981, Hamida became Property Manager of Ja`Fari Islamic Housing Corporation in Richmond Hill. For over 18 years, Hamida has been able to secure funding and implement important programs to better serve the residents of a Crescent Village, with a focus on women fleeing domestic violence, youth and seniors.
Rosemary founded 3 non-profit organizations: CIVICYork services, Aurora Community Fund, and York Region Community Foundation. Through CIVICYork, Rosemary has established an online hub for residents to connect with important programs and services. Rosemary was also recently appointed to Canada’s Volunteer Awards Advisory Committee.
Recipients of the Canada 150 Citizenship Award for Thought Leadership have exemplified outstanding commitment to innovative thinking and contributed their skills to further the intellectual capital of Canada.
Howard was a post-secondary teacher for 48 years at Seneca College. His princal interest is the theory and practice of democracy, as it relates to education. Howard published over 400 articles in peer-reviewed journals, presented over 100 academic papers at professional conferences and published 8 high school text books in Canadian studies.
Sean Cisterna is an award-winning film director from Oak Ridges. His films have been screened at festivals around the world. Sean directed the critically acclaimed youth cancer drama Kiss and Cry (2017), starring Sarah Fisher and Chantal Kreviazuk. Sean always incorporates local actors, crew, businesses and locations into his productions.
Olivia has competed in debating and public speaking events around the world. She is a World Champion in both debating and public speaking. Most recently, Olivia took 1st place at the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships.
Robin Morrison-Claus & Stephen Lanning
Robin, teacher-librarian and Stephen, science and phys-ed teacher at Regency Acres Public School, created a classroom sized Makerspace as part of the library to encourage their students to incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) initiatives into their daily learning. The space provides STEAM learning opportunities that allows students to explore their critical thinking skills, and introduces them to real world problem solving scenarios.
It was a privliege to recognize these constituents during Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. Many thanks to all award recipients for the wonderful work they do in our community and a special thanks to the family, friends, and loved ones of the award recipients because without you,
their dreams would not have become realities.