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The 2009 Ontario Senior Achievement Award Recipients

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The 2009 Ontario Senior Achievement Award Recipients

Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility

The recipients of the 2009 Ontario Senior Achievement Award are:


Dr. Reza Barahni of Richmond Hill has long been an advocate for freedom of speech and human rights. As president of PEN Canada he carried the torch for freedom of speech - not only in Canada but around the world.

Mathilda Bigio of Toronto is a highly regarded volunteer at the Baycrest Geriatric Health Centre's Palliative Care program and in her community. Mathilda's compassionate care and support improves the quality of life for patients and for their families.

Shirley Brazer of Toronto has been a volunteer with the Baycrest Centre Support Program since 1977. Shirley has a genuine interest and passion for enhancing the independence and quality of life for seniors and stops at nothing to ensure the needs of her clients are met.

Ken Corner of Whitby is a professional, caring individual who has always worked to serve his community. He dedicates his retirement time to improving the quality of life for all residents in the community, especially persons with disabilities and seniors.

Yvonne Coveney-Boyd of Peterborough is best known for her tireless efforts in the Communities in Bloom annual program.  Yvonne, through personal drive and determination has contributed greatly to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and community participation that makes Peterborough a great place to live.

Joan Driver of Kitchener has been a volunteer in her community for 43 years. She has for the past 13 years, since retirement, continued her volunteerism in elementary schools. She is an exceptional volunteer and remarkable person who has demonstrated a dedication, passion and heart for children.

Margaret Gander of Terrace Bay is an active member of the Terrace Bay Superior Seniors. She is a member of the activity centre fundraising committee, coordinator of the North Shore satellite food bank, the driving force behind the local cancer society and a  volunteer with the McCausland Hospital palliative care team.

Dorthy Gray of Toronto has been a dedicated volunteer with the Toronto Police Services and other various organizations for more than 20 years, including the Crime Prevention Association of Toronto, the West Toronto Neighbourhood Watch and the Rotary Club of Parkdale - High Park.

Dr. Ron Harris of Brampton, founder of the Canadian Institute of Homeopathic Medicine has served the elderly, sick, blind, poor and disabled around the world and has served as President of Club 55, a club for culturally and socially isolated senior. He is also an advocate for those in need and a champion of students and learning.

Pam Hitchcock of Toronto was instrumental in 1992, as coordinator of the Seniors Educational program at Ryerson, in developing the ACT II STUDIO - a theatre studio and creative drama centre for adults 50 plus. Since retirement Pam continues to volunteer in helping to make the studio grow.  She has served as president and continues to be the studio's most ardent ambassador.

Dr. Charles Johnston of Ancaster is an accomplished academic, teacher, friend and supporter of education and helping to keep history alive. Since retirement from McMaster University in 1988 he continued to research and write, including, the biographies of all those who appear on McMaster's Honour Roll of the twentieth-century war dead.

Elizabeth LeGeyt of Greely is the Ottawa Citizen's Birds columnist. At age 95 she is among the most extraordinary skilled columnists and reporters at the paper. Her weekly column has been running for more than 35 years. Elizabeth inspires her fellow journalists with her commitment and versatility and is known for being an outspoken advocacy for the natural world.

Velma Orok of Toronto has been instrumental in the success of the resident -run program 'Let's Discuss It' at the Christie Gardens Apartments and Care complex. By providing a variety of speakers from the community such as medical experts, politicians, writers, musicians and others, the program meets the intellectual needs of the residents and enriches their quality of life. 

Mona Piper of Toronto has served as a crossing guard for more than 36 years. She has assisted approximately four generations of children. Mona has been recognized by the local schools, the Toronto Police Services and has been featured in many media articles and a television commercial. Mona is also very active in the Crossing Guards Association.

Ron Shannon of Prescott unselfishly volunteered his time, energy and expertise in restructuring and restoring cemeteries in Augusta Township including Carpenter Cemetery following serious vandalism, and at Read's Cemetery where he cleaned and restored markers dating back as far as 1800.

Gaëtan Simard of Cornwall is a retired school teacher who continues to work to inspire the members of the community to give the best of themselves to the youth of Cornwall.  He is an exceptional role model for those who work with youth of the community.

David Tomlinson of Aurora is a renowned Landscape Architect who after retirement has continued to advocate for better environmental stewardship. He has received many awards for his expertise in environmental stewardship, landscape design ad urban planning. He spends his own personal time teaching others in the community his trade and also provides workshops to children.

Vince Thomson of Richmond Hill is a retired teacher who believes in the power of education. Since his retirement he created a bursary single-handedly in 1998, and without great personal means. It has now reached more than $500,000 with the ability to grant at least 10 bursaries each year indefinitely to those students who need financial assistance.

Betty Webster of Dundas is a professional arts administrator who has ensured that Ontario and Canadian arts organizations have been exposed to the most advanced arts expertise available in Canada and abroad. For 20 years after her 65th birthday, Betty has demonstrated a tireless commitment to musicians, orchestras and festivals. She is a former executive Director of Orchestras Canada.

Lloyd Wright of Trenton is a Second World War Flying officer and has dedicated over 12 years of his life to the restoration of the Halifax NA 337 aircraft for the National Air Force Museum of Canada. He recognizes this as a tribute to all who knew the 'Hali' and as a lasting legacy to over 50,000 Canadians who served in Bomber Command and the 9,919 whose lives were lost.


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