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We recently mentioned Diane Clements being appointed to the Order Of Canada and now we are hearing of another great individual who is known as the “Queen of Giraffes.”

Adding to the Order Of Canada is Waterloo resident and pioneering biologist Anne Dagg for her work in the 1950ties documenting the creatures in Africa. 

This helped pave the way for others who became famous for living among wild animals, but Dagg was originally mocked and ignored.

To now be among the latest recipients of one of Canada’s highest honours stands as proof, Dagg said, that her work had an impact.

When contacted she mentioned “I’ve always worked really hard, and done new things and written books, things that have never been thought of before and it’s just so exciting to find that people are now amazed that I’ve done all that.”

Dagg is one of the 120 names that were recently announced as new additions or promotions to the Order of Canada, which include five people bestowed with the top rank of companion, 38 officers and 77 members.

Others receiving the recognized are Politicians, which include former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, hockey star Caroline Ouellette, journalist Phillip Crawley, publisher of The Globe and Mail, scientists, community advocates and philanthropists in fields ranging from autism to multiculturalism to ecology.

Her decision was to travel to Africa to observe giraffes, which is an animal that not only fascinated her, but grabbed her attention since she was a young child. 

Anne Innis Dagg at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago in 2018.

Years after her work there she earned a PHD and also published widely she was refused tenure for what many in today’s world called outlandish and the reason – because she was a woman!!!

Her contributions remained on the back-burner, but Jane Goodall went on to become an icon for her work with chimpanzees. 

Since time flies and is on the side of the one not wanting any real recognition, her contributions remained widely unknown but only until a documentary about her life was officially released last year.

She gives full credit to the film entitled “The Woman Who Loves Giraffes” that her name is now on anyone’s radar, which includes the Order of Canada Committee.

She also joins several other women being honoured for their work in science, which include Donna Strickland (2018 Nobel prize winner), Halifax Pediatrician Dr. Noni MacDonald who has played multiple roles within the World Health Organization and by no means least Dr. Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg of Winnipeg who is honoured for her work on the genetic causes of rare diseases.

She mentioned “she feels a shift over the last decade has led to women’s achievements being taken more seriously and I hope we can get more women and girls interested in this sort of thing.”

Brian Theodore McGeer credits in part another pioneering woman in science for his inclusion on this year’s list of Order recipients and to no real surprise it’s his mother.

Edith McGeer received the Order herself in 1995, along with her husband Patrick, for their achievements in neuroscience.

Tad McGeer, an aeronautical engineer, is being recognized for his achievements in unmanned aerial systems, known more commonly as drones.

He was originally from BC, but has lived in Washington state for nearly 30 years, but got into the business for a very Canadian reason – he was looking for a way to better forecast the weather.

He (Ted) now spends his time focusing on military use of the technology, with the systems he’s built in application worldwide and mentioned “If my country wants to be proud of me, that would be a great honour indeed.”

Many may not know, but sticking with the family connection it should be known that Duncan Sinclair, whose accomplishments include efforts in the late 1990s to reform the Ontario health care is among the new recipients. 

Put on your thinking caps and listed under “did you know” he’s the father of Tragically Hip bassist Gordon Sinclair, who was awarded the honour in 2017.

Canadians who have had a global impact in the arts are well-represented on Saturday’s list. Among them: director James Cameron, actor Xavier Dolan and Gilles Ste-Croix, the co-founder of Cirque du Soleil, and Brian Ahearn, a noted music producer.

Johnny Nurraq Seotaituq Issaluk’s work in the arts came after many years competing in the Arctic Winter Games. He’s played roles on stage and screen, and been an ambassador for Inuit culture at home and abroad.

Issaluk is among several leaders in Indigenous communities receiving the Order. Two others are Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams for her advocacy of Indigenous language revitalization, and John Amagoalik, known as the “Father of Nunavut” for his role in the creation of the territory.

Issaluk said he hopes being recognized with the Order will call further attention to his efforts at not just promoting his culture globally, but inspiring others to do the same.

“No matter how hard, how great, how tough, how easy, how much hate, how much love we go through — if we believe in ourselves we can accomplish anything we desire,” he said.

“As global people, we are all in this together. So let’s do it.”

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