Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Order of Manitoba grows stronger

Simmons, Chipman among recipients

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It was a moment of pure joy for world-famous children's entertainer Al Simmons. So, when he was invested with the Order of Manitoba on Thursday, he jumped up and clicked his heels together.

"I couldn't help myself," he said after the ceremony. "I heard the applause and I leapt in the air."

Simmons was among 14 Manitobans invested with the province's highest honour by Lt.-Gov. Philip Lee.

Manitobans and children worldwide have grown up with Simmons' music and comedy with such favourites as his CD Celery Stalks at Midnight and the music video I Collect Rocks.

"To say I'm honoured is an understatement," he said, "Travelling the world, making people laugh for 42 years doesn't seem like a chore."

While Simmons was honoured for his role in entertaining Manitoba's youth, the same honour was bestowed to someone responsible for entertaining a new generation of Manitobans. Mark Chipman, chairman of True North Sports & Entertainment, was honoured for his campaign to bring the NHL back to Winnipeg and for championing hockey in the province.

"The emotion is one of pure humility, to be included in this group that has achieved so much," said Chipman. "I don't feel like you can put the business of hockey in the same category."

The other honours covered diverse fields from human rights to labour rights and education.

"They have cared for our mental, physical and spiritual health and worked toward a better economy," Lee told Order of Manitoba recipients. "They effected change by getting down to work and setting an example."

Bob Silver, who was honoured for business contributions locally and internationally, said for him, working for Manitoba doesn't stop with being invested with the Order.

"(Winnipeg) has done a lot and there's so much more to get done to be the community we want to be," said Silver, the co-owner of Glove Works Ltd., the Warehouse One and Urban Barn retail chains as well as a co-owner of many publications, including the Free Press and the Brandon Sun.

Simmons said he can't afford to slack off on stage after receiving such an honour.

"I'll have to work harder now," he said with a laugh.

The Order of Manitoba was established in 1999 to recognize Manitobans whose demonstrated excellence and achievement have benefited the social, cultural and economic well-being of the province.

The recipients

Mark Chipman -- Governor of the Winnipeg Jets and chairman of True North Sports & Entertainment; led the campaign to bring the Jets home.

Pauline Clarke -- Chief superintendent of the Winnipeg School Division. She gained acclaim for her work in inner-city education.

James Coyne -- Second governor of the Bank of Canada from 1955-1961; promoted autonomy of the central bank, a principle recognized worldwide.

Darlene Dziewit -- Former president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour; worked for 40 years for union members and women.

Len Flett -- Former vice-president of the North West Company, who worked to create economic and employment opportunities for First Nations people.

Étienne Gaboury -- Architect, known for Winnipeg landmarks such as the Royal Canadian Mint, the new St. Boniface Cathedral and was lead designer for Esplanade Riel.

Crystal Kolt -- Musical director of the Flin Flon Community Choir, who has been a major force in developing arts in northern Manitoba.

Art Miki -- Leader in the Japanese Canadian community; played important role in the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement, which acknowledged the unjust treatment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War.

Randy Moffat -- Former CEO of Moffat Communications Ltd. and philanthropist; donated $100 million to the Winnipeg Foundation in 2001.

Dr. Brian Postl -- Founding president and former CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority; promoted excellence in health care in Manitoba and across Canada.

Bob Silver -- Co-owner of Glove Works Ltd., the Warehouse One and Urban Barn retail chains; the Brandon Sun, the Canstar weeklies and the Winnipeg Free Press; made contributions to the business sector across the country and internationally.

Al Simmons -- Internationally celebrated family entertainer, known for giving his time and talent to support educational and charitable groups.

Leslie Spillett -- Longtime advocate for Winnipeg's inner city and aboriginal community; championed causes such as education, social justice and human rights.

Deborah Thorlakson -- Volunteered for countless organizations in Winnipeg; contributions include past chairwoman of the Health Sciences Foundation, as well as leadership roles with the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 13, 2012 A4

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