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Olympians, artists, and ‘The Doctors’ among 103 added to Order of Canada

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Jordan Press, The Canadian Press


Published Thursday, December 27, 2018 6:08AM EST


Last Updated Thursday, December 27, 2018 11:54AM EST

OTTAWA — When Beckie Scott left behind her competitive cross-country ski career in 2006, the Olympic gold medallist didn’t foresee the path she would take next.

A dozen years later, Scott has become a leading international voice to root out doping in sports and heads a charity that runs programs for Indigenous youth to use sports and play to improve social and economic outcomes.

For that work, Scott is among the 103 newest appointments to the Order of Canada, the cornerstone of the Canadian honours system whose ranks are now closing in on 7,000 members.

“I ended up reflecting on this quite a bit and dedicating it to my dad, who was an immigrant himself, but really one of the more proud Canadians that I can think of,” Scott said.

“He would have been incredibly moved and emotional to know I was getting this.”

Scott made a name for herself in 2002 when she captured Olympic gold in Salt Lake City. When she retired from competition following a silver medal win at the 2006 Turin Olympics, she didn’t set out with any political ambitions.

“Once I had stuck my foot in that arena, I realized the importance of people in that world and … the value of people who could advocate on behalf of clean sport,” she said.

“I stayed and have tried my best for many years to be an advocate for that because I care very deeply about it.”

The list of new appointments being unveiled this morning by Rideau Hall includes former politicians, such as one-time New Brunswick premier Camille Henri Theriault and Frank Lewis, who served as P.E.I.’s lieutenant-governor.

There are researchers like Geoffrey Hinton, a world expert in artificial intelligence; journalists like Lyse Doucet of the BBC; and trailblazers in sport like Rhona and Rhoda Wurtele, the twin sisters who comprised the Canadian alpine ski team at the 1948 Olympics.

Greg Zeschuk and his friend Ray Muzyka took a winding path to the Order of Canada. It started in medical school in the 1980s when the two became friends, and grew as they combined their mutual interest in software development to create the Edmonton-based firm BioWare in 1995.

Eventually, the two gave up family medicine for gaming, and after 17 years, BioWare as grown into a leader in role-playing games and won industry accolades for the two men, known as “The Doctors.”

Zeschuk now runs breweries and a restaurant in Edmonton that focuses on hosting charitable events. Muzyka heads ThresholdImpact, a firm he founded to help mentor socially-conscious entrepreneurs hoping to grow their businesses.

Both men said they have no plans to rest on their laurels in light of the new honour.

“I find it in a way sort of motivating in that OK … now, I’ve got to do more,” said Zeschuk.

Muzyka joked in a recent interview that he’s still not sure what he’s going to do when he grows up.

“I hope I continue to figure out something interesting to do. I like learning, I like helping people — those are common themes,” he said.

Helping people is also a theme in the work of painter Maxine Noel. The Indigenous artist has tried to use her work to help raise awareness about issues facing Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Her painting called “Not Forgotten,” which recognizes the lives of Indigenous women and girls, hangs in the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que.

Noel’s art helped her survive her time at a residential school, and stayed with her when she was a legal secretary for Bay Street lawyers in Toronto. But about 40 years ago, she dedicated herself to art full-time.

All these years later, Noel said she sees herself as an activist first, and her art as a vehicle for her advocacy.

“When I speak to children or students, quite often I tell them that one day, one of you — or many of you — will become very well-known in the world, and at that time you can help make major change. I live on that (and) work on that,” Noel said.

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LIFESTYLES

Nobody would give this teen with autism a job, so he started a business

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A 17-year-old Australian teen with autism started his own business cleaning garbage bins after he was rejected for other jobs.

“I searched and applied for jobs for two years and did not get one interview,” Clay Lewis told CTV News Channel from his home in Brisbane, Australia.

As of January, his business, Clay’s Bin Cleaning, has made more than AUS$6,000 and has roughly 70 clients.

He charges AUS$10 for the first bin and AUS$5 for each additional bin. He regularly offers free bin cleaning to local charities.

“I’m very proud of him,” his mother Laura Lewis told CTV News Channel. “I knew that he could do it.”

She added that employers were unable to “see past their own judgments” and made “unfair assumptions” about Clay’s competency because of his disability.

Clay said that he is looking forward to attending his high school prom and may put some of his earnings toward funding a trip to Abu Dhabi to watch his first Formula 1 race.

Lewis said that Clay’s story has given hope to a lot of people, particularly parents of children with autism.

“All Clay is doing is living a 17-year-old’s ordinary life: working, going to school, having a girlfriend and hanging out with friends,” she said.

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Meet Jelly Bean, the deaf canine contender for World’s Most Amazing Dog title

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CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV London’s Sacha Long


Published Friday, February 22, 2019 7:50PM EST

A deaf Ontario dog is in the semi-finals of the World’s Most Amazing Dog competition, an interactive Facebook Watch show where dogs compete for a US$100,000 prize.

Jelly Bean, a three-year-old Australian cattle dog who lives in London, Ont., can catch and pass a ball with his front paws and jump on a stranger’s back. He follows the instructions of his handler, Melissa Mellitt, by sight because cannot hear.

“He is so highly intelligent,” Mellitt told CTV London. “He has no idea that he’s deaf. He doesn’t care. He’s just as happy as any other dog.”

Mellitt adopted Jelly Bean from the Deaf Dog Rescue of America when he was five months old. He has since gone on to travel across Canada as a professional stunt dog and works with Mellitt as an assistant to help rehabilitate fearful dogs.

“We knew that he had this potential,” she said. “This is exactly what I knew he was going to be.”

Mellitt hopes that Jelly Bean’s performance in the competition will help shatter some of the stigma around deaf dogs, who are often believed to be ill tempered and incapable of being trained. Mellitt said breeders euthanize many of them at birth, but she believes that Jelly Bean’s inability to hear is his “cool factor.”

If Jelly Bean wins the competition, Mellitt said that she plans to give half of the winnings to the Deaf Dog Rescue of America.

Viewers of the World’s Most Amazing Dogs competition get to vote on who should move to the finals.

“I think he could go all the way,” Mellitt said.

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Funeral held for sailor in V-J Day Times Square kiss photo

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NEWPORT, R.I. — The sailor photographed kissing a woman in Times Square at the end of World War II was mourned Friday at a funeral in Rhode Island.

George Mendonsa’s funeral was held at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, and he was buried at St. Columba Cemetery in Middletown.

Mendonsa died Sunday after he fell and had a seizure at an assisted living facility, his daughter said. He was 95 and leaves behind his wife of 72 years.

Mendonsa kissed Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant in a nurse’s uniform, on Aug. 14, 1945, known as V-J Day, the day Japan surrendered.

The two had never met.

Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photo of the kiss became one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century. First published in Life magazine, it’s called “V-J Day in Times Square,” but is known to most as “The Kiss.”

Another photographer, Victor Jorgensen, who was in the Navy, also captured the moment in a similar photo. The moment has been shared widely and is often seen on posters.

Several people later claimed to be the kissing couple, and it was years before Mendonsa and Friedman were confirmed to be the couple.

Mendonsa enlisted in the Navy in 1942, after high school. He served on a destroyer during the war.

Mendonsa was on leave when the end of the war was announced. When he was honoured at the Rhode Island State House in 2015, Mendonsa said Friedman reminded him of nurses on a hospital ship that he saw care for wounded sailors.

On Monday, a statue depicting the kiss in Sarasota, Florida, was vandalized. The phrase “.MeToo” was spray-painted on the leg of the statue.

Friedman said in a 2005 interview with the Veterans History Project that it wasn’t her choice to be kissed.

“The guy just came over and kissed or grabbed,” she told the Library of Congress.

She added, “It was just somebody really celebrating. But it wasn’t a romantic event.”

Friedman fled Austria during the war as a 15-year-old girl. She died in 2016 at age 92 at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia, from complications of old age.

After the war, Mendonsa became a commercial fisherman, like his father, and worked until he was 82. He died two days before his 96th birthday.

Survivors include his wife, Rita; and his children, Ronald Mendonsa and Sharon Molleur, and their families.

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