McLaughlin was a Canadian visual artist, patron and philanthropist. She was an early Modernist Canadian painter specializing in landscapes and still life with a strong interest in design. McLaughlin appreciated depicting small "...growth, lichen, rocks and mosses; the exquisite beauty of colour and pattern delighted..."
Born in Oshawa, Ontario, October 1903, was one of five daughters to the founder of General Motors of Canada President Col. Robert Samuel McLaughlin.
She studied art at the Ontario College of Art 1926–1930 under Group of Seven member Arthur Lismer. She studied in Paris 1929, Vienna 1930 and with Hans Hofmann ca. 1947-52. McLaughlin was to become lifelong friends with McKague , in 1948 painted a water-colour depicting McLaughlin in it titled: "Isabel the Archaeologist, Cap Chat River"
She became an executive member of the Heliconian Club in Toronto. In 1933 she was a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters and served as its first woman president in 1939.
On December 1, 1987, McLaughlin made a substantial donation of art work from her own personal collection of works by other artists to The Robert McLaughlin Gallery.
During her 99 years of life McLaughlin was the subject of two authorized portrait sculptures. Following her death in November 2002, her extensive arts career archives was donated to Queen's University Archives.
It was at this same time her own art works,
of which she kept most of during her career,
became available to the public and sold to
"North America's Best Irish Band"
Margaret Anglin was born April 3, 1876, Ottawa, Ontario,At the peak of her career she was.one of the most brilliant actresses in the world, equally effective in Greek tragedies, Shakespearean plays, and contemporary dramas.
Margaret's father was T.W. Anglin, speaker of the House of Commons. Her environment and education was upper-class attending schools in Montreal, Moncton and Toronto. In her teens she went to study at a dramatic arts school in New York. to become a reader of Shakespeare. There, producer Charles Frohman heard her speak and offered her a small role in Shenandoah, a Civil War play produced in 1894. By the end of the decade she appeared on Broadway as Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac,. She starred as Ruth Jordan in The Great Divide. Thereafter success followed her on Broadway and on the road. She became best known for her roles in classic Greek tragedies and Shakesperean productions. In 1927 she insisted upon casting her actor-husband, Howard Hull, in her plays. When her request was rebuffed by producers, she countered by walking out of two major productions. For years following theatres in New York closed their doors to her but she made her comeback in 1936, in Ivor Novello's Fresh Fields. She returned to Toronto to live in 1953, marking her interest in Canadian theatre by donating a gold bracelet annually to the Earl Grey dramatic and musical competitions. She died in a nursing home in 1957. She was buried in the Anglin family plot at Mount Hope Cemetery
Born in Nova Scotia, Sarah Ann's work now spans the country ... singing, theatre, film, services and academia. Awarded the Canadian Scholarship (full tuition) and
completing a BSc. 1st-class Hons. Bio from STFXU, she
eventually returned to her life-long music/ theatre roots
and attended CCPA.
In the meantime, she began working as a shelter support worker with homeless clients, facilitating theatre of the oppressed, and crossed over into recording music and playing on both sides of the camera in film.
Having won numerous awards including a Lieutenant Governor’s Medal and an NSERC USRA, her research involving electron microscopy with co-authors Dr. J. Buckland-Nicks and Dr. G. Gibson was published in the Can. J. Zool, March 2013.
Whether it’s been stepping on stage to play a variety of leading ladies such as Dorothy Brock in “42nd Street” or Hodel in “Fiddler on the Roof”, singing in the backup choir for a Josh Groban and David Foster performance, working on industrials for Labatt’s A. Keith’s NS Brew. Tour or Island Farms Inc., hosting East Coast/Irish festivities as her character “Maritime Margaret”, or directing/ producing promotional films with a number of clean energy organizations such as The BC BioEnergy Network, the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association, etc, Sarah Ann has been gaining momentum as a multi-faceted adaptable artist that’s not afraid of a challenge.
One of her favourite projects to date is “Shhh”, a short film that she line-produced alongside directors/producers/ vfx artists Shervin Shoghian (Tron, District 9, The Chronicles of Narnia, etc) and Freddy Chavez Olmos (Elysium, Tron, District 9, Twilight, etc) in association with Heinrich Beisheim (Head of Production at Means of Production Inc.- one of Canada’s top production service companies).
After viewing the film, Director Guillermo del Toro described “Shhh” as having “strong visuals and solid atmosphere.” ”Shhh” was screened globally in over 30 international film festivals, spanning across 6 countries, including France, United States, Japan, Mexico, Spain and Canada.
The team was honored to win Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi Short at the oscar-qualifying 2012 Rhode Island International Film Festival in the U.S, Best Short Film at the 2012 Festival Internacional de Cine Puebla in Mexico, to be screened at the short film corner at Cannes International Film Festival, and to receive 5 nominations-winning Best Short Film and Best Production Design at the 2013 Leo Awards in Canada.
“Shhh” is paving the way for Canadian filmakers by being the first theatrical short released in Canada through Indiecan Entertainment, opening for “Grave Encounters 2”.
The team released the short online on vimeo in October 2013 and it was selected for vimeo staff picks on Halloween 2013. The team is currently leveraging their experience and exposure for a feature project. Sarah Ann is also currently in studio working on a Celtic EP with singer/songwriter/producer Murray Yates (Forty Foot Echo/Templar) and recently teamed up with Scoil Ghaeilge Vancouver to work on the song “Oh A Ghrá Mhín ” which will be included in the short film Madness. Madness received a $10 000 STORYHIVE grant from Telus and will be distributed on Optik Local
Sarah Ann is currently based in Vancouver BC.
Anna's first public performance brought her success t and prominence on the Irish scene in 1968 when
she sang Gleann Na Smol, in the 4th Annual Irish
National Song Contest. Invited on Hughie Greene's
ITV "Opportunity Knocks" she has gone on to win the prestigious Variety Club of Great Britain Award as best performer on television. Anna also won the C.A.M.A. Award in Ireland for the best concert and cabaret performer, in the country. A major television star, she had four series on CBC, St. John’s Newfoundland, and seven of her own television series in Ireland. She appeared on PBS TV, USA and in her own variety specials each March since 1990. She is taping shows for upcoming seasons! Radio has also been a popular medium for Anna when she presented her own weekly programme in the Maritimes.
Her seventeen albums of song and two comedy are blockbuster successes. and two released videos are distributed internationally. She iss the only woman, in the history of Irish television, to present the mammoth "live to air" New Year's Eve Special, and the only woman to present the St. Patrick's Day Special.
Each year Anna personally escorts her "Musical Tour of Ireland" and those who have enjoyed her Irish tours have said it was the "vacation of a lifetime".
Anna was born in Castleblayney, County Monaghan. She and her husband, Michael Nolan, have one son, Gerard. They received beautiful flowers and a special commemorative plaque from the tourists on their first Musical Tour of Ireland. They keep this plaque in a place of honour in their Dublin home.
CBC broadcaster, Peter Gzowski, summed it up ... three Irish emigrants to Canada, rose out of the folk music scene of the late 1960's ... Denis Ryan, Fergus O’Byrne, and Dermot O’Reill... and took the stage in 1971 as Ryan’s Fancy.
They moved from Toronto to attend university at St. John’s, Newfoundland. Thought they might pay their way through university, but they became regulars and, having met CBC TV producer Jack Kellum, the trio became stars of there own national TV series and live shows across Atlantic Canada's rich cultural and musical heritage.
FERGUS O'BYRNE The founding member of Ryan's Fancy was born in Dublin, Ireland, immigrated to Canada in 1967. He graduated from Memorial U. in 1968 with a degree in Educatio. He developed and produced a programme of songs, stories and slides exploring the connection between Ireland and Newfoundland and tours the program in schools throughout the Atlantic Provinces. He plays banjo, guitar, concertina and bodhran. He teaches bodhran and banjo.
Feb. 2004, Fergus, as part of Ryan’s Fancy, was awarded the ECMA Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award which recognizes an individual or group who has had a profound & lasting effect on the Atlantic Canadian music industry.
DENIS RYAN makes his home in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He works in the investment business and is involved with numerous community projects including serving as the national chairman of the fundraising committee of the D'Arcy McGee Chair of Irish Studies at St. Mary's University. In 1994 he received an Honarary degree, Doctor of Letters, from St. Mary's University in Halifax. Denis is also the founder of NovaScotian Crystal, located on the Halifax waterfront. It is the only mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal company in North America.. He is still involved with music, CBC TV shows and hosting charitable events.
DERMOT O'REILLY continued to perform as a solo artist in clubs and concerts. He also developed an audiovisual production for presentation to junior and senior high school students. After traveling for a number of years, Dermot turned to Video and Television Production through his company Piperstock Productions Limited and, in 1993, he set up a sound recording facility for local artists. In 2007 Dermot passed away, leaving us with his wonderful music and memories.
In 1983 after many successful recordings and
a long run on television the three decided to
disband in favour of individual pursuits but
their effect on the Atlantic Canadian music
scene resounds strong to this day. In the popularity of East Coast music the voice of
Ryans Fancy plays on.
Kate and Anna McGarrickle
Order of Canada
Governor General's Performing Arts Award
Lifetime Achievement Award
Born in Dublin, Ireland, 1924, Byrne studied at
Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design, training in
the Bauhaus tradition combining crafts and fine arts.
In 1956 he emigrated to Canada with his family and moved North in the early 1970s when he was hired to work for the North West Territories' Housing corporation in Inuvik. A certified Yukon Pioneer, in 1975 while working for the government of The NorthWest Territories he decided to change the drab appearance of the town of Inuvik by having the buildings painted bold, vivid colors. This colourful act has become the town’s signature tourist attraction that continues to this day.
While living in Inuvik in 1977, Tom brought Irish Theatre to the Yukon and formed The Arctic Circle Theatre Group which was a group of people with enthusiasm but no experience. They entered a play called ‘Riders to the Sea’ in the National Drama Festival which was held in Dawson City, Yukon. The production won every award in the festival and he won Best Director. He is a Life member of the Equity, BC Performers and Actra. He is also a Life member of Equity, BC Performers and Actra.
in 1979 Tom brought the amateur theatre troop he had started to the Klondike’s Break-up Drama Festival. While in town he recited a bit of Robert Service and was asked if he would consider reciting regularly at the cabin during the summer seasons. He researched the life and times of Service and wrote a show called ‘The Robert Service Show’ which is now world famous and has been seen by tens of thousands of people from all around the world. This he did with his usual passion and flair, keeping alive the works of the famous poet and bringing thousands of tourists to Dawson City to see his show. Robert Service’s daughter said that she is forever grateful to him for breathing new life into her fathers work and keeping it alive. Byrne has been written up in many newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, The Los Angelus Times, The Globe and Mail in Toronto and The Edmonton Journal and The National Geographic Magazine. Plus papers in Africa and Australia. “The Robert Service Show”, as it became known, became nearly as well known as the poet he set out to honour as it ran at the cabin for the next 28 years, with one season’s absence to stage it in Vancouver during Expo 86.
Tom contributed greatly to the arts in Vancouver and the Yukon and has instigated many cultural experiences for the Irish community. He became popular as an actor with the world famous Beachombers series produced on the Sunshine Coast Gibsons, B.C.
Byrne has been called a ‘National treasure” and a Canadian Legend”. He is a professional actor, author, peacemaker, producer and director. He was on the board of the BC drama association and one of those responsible in having the Vancouver Playhouse built; a founding member of the Arts Club Theatre and The Emerald Players (Now Stage Erin) which won numerous awards and Tom won Best Actor, Best Director many times and best original play-write.
Tom hasn’t done a regular show for some time, but he celebrated his 90th in 2014 and still recites Service at the drop of a hat and has the verses by heart.
Robert Gordon 'Red' Robinson
Order of British Columbia for service to music & charity
Great Canadian Gaming Corporation opened the 1100-seat Red Robinson Show Theatre at Coquitlam’s Boulevard Casino in September 2006.
Doris McCarthy was born July 7, 1910, in
Calgary, Alberta. She lived her youth in the Beach area of Toronto. In 1926 she earned a scholarship to the Ontario College of Art (OCA) where she was mentored by some of the premier Canadian artists of the early twentieth century. She established her position as one of Toronto’s major emerging artists and wth memberships in the Royal Canadian Academy of Artists (1951) and the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour (1951}, and for which she served as President from 1956 to 1958, her receipt of five Honorary Doctorates from five different Canadian Universities from 1995 to 2002, and her induction into the Order of Ontario (1992) and the Order of Canada (1986), her place in the canon of great Canadian artists has been solidified. McCarthy was a lifelong learner and graduated from the University of Toronto Scarborough in 1989 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree. The Doris McCarthy Gallery opened at the University of Toronto Scarborough in 2004,
Though immersed in the dedicated pursuit of her creative passion, Doris McCarthy always made time for other people. She was often surrounded by close family and friends, and shared her zest for life, painting and effervescent conversation. Doris’s sense of adventure and her compassionate encouragement of others created a personal aura dating back to her days as a Canadian Girls in Training camp counsellor, to her forty years of teaching art at Toronto’s Central Technical School (1932–1972), and continuing throughout her lifelong journey. Yet, mirrored in her amiable sociability was also a great appreciation of solitude, most often in the form of the northern Ontario wilderness. Some of her early painting trips involved adventures in Muskoka, Haliburton, Georgian Bay and the Arctic with groups of other devoted artists. McCarthy travelled five continents to paint and to explore, but it has always been Canada that figured most splendidly and most often in her work and in her affections.
She passed away peacefully on the morning of November 25, 2010. She was and will be an inspiration to artists who recognize her powerful interpretation of Canada’s rugged landscape. From her memoir My Life, Doris McCarthy reflects upon her personal journey: “So here I am, content to enjoy every day as it comes, and wise enough to thank God for his mercies and rejoice in them. My only regrets are my economies (never my extravagances) – particularly those of spirit and love.”
From County Tipperary to Canada; from an Irish pub an Academy Award winning movie: The Mahones have come a long way in 25 years. Heralded as pioneers of the Irish punk scene, and internationally recognized as one of the best and hardest working punk outfits around, The Mahones formed on St. Patrick's Day in 1990, and have been working on their own brand of Irish punk ever since. With a working class ethic and a love of classic punk, Dublin-born Finny McConnell formed the band to combine his love of punk rock with his Irish culture. Alongside McConnell are Katie Kaboom, Michael O’Grady, Sean Winter, Sean "Riot" Ryan, and Scruffy Wallace (formerly of Dropkick Murphys).
The band's cited influences included The Clash, The Pogues, The Who, The Waterboys and Hüsker Dü. The group's lineup has changed a number of times, with McConnell and Williams as the main constant members. Pogues members Terry Woods and Phil Chevron joined the band on tour in 2003.
The Mahones have shared stages and toured around the world with legends such as The Dropkick Murphys, Stiff Little Fingers, Shane MacGowan and The Popes, Billy Bragg The Tragically Hip, Sinead O'Connor, The Dubliners, Christy Moore, The Band and Van Morrison. More recently, Scuffy Wallace of The Dropkick Murphys joined The Mahones onstage for a few shows as Tin Whistle player in Toronto and Montreal during a Canadian tour.
Over the years, The Mahones' music has appeared in several major International Hollywood film releases. Recently, their song "Paint The Town Red 2010" was featured in the climactic final fight scene of the 2 x Academy Award/ 2 x Golden Globe winning film "The Fighter" (2010). The Mahones also co-wrote and recorded the title track for the Hollywood movie "Celtic Pride" (Wally High/The Mahones) which was composed specifically for the film. The song 100 Bucks was also featured in the movie " Dog Park ", featuring stars from Kids in the Hall. The Mahones' song 'A Little Bit of Love' is in the new film Ecstasy, based on Irvine Welsh's (Trainspotting) critically acclaimed book.
In 1999, bassist Joe Chithalen died in Amsterdam shortly after a concert. He had accidentally ingested food containing peanuts, to which he was allergic. The Joe Chithalen Memorial Musical Instrument Library, Joe's M.I.L.L., was established in Kingston soon after by Wally High.
Margaret Mary Anglin
Isabel Grace McLaughlin
Order of Ontario. Order of Canada
La Bolduc (née Mary-Rose-Anne Travers)
singer, songwriter, harmonica player 'violoneuse'ary
Fiddle player. Stepdancer. Singer. Composer
Red Robinson is proud of his family history from
County Derry in Ireland..His maternal grandfather (surname Surgenor) came to British Columbia in the late 1800’s and was a pioneer engineer on Vancouver Island railroad.
Red was there at the beginning of Rock’n’Roll spinning the hits on Vancouver’s CJOR
in 1954 while still in high school. He was the first DJ to play rock’n’roll music on a regular
basis in Canada. In 1957, he jumped to Vancouver's Top 40 giant CKWX, where he met Buddy Holly and Elvis and was MC for Elvis’ appearance.
A move to Portland’s KGW in 1959 gave Red experience in a brand new rock’n’roll medium - TV. After a stint in the US Army, Red returned to CKWX in 1961. The next year
he was hired as Programme Director at Top 40 newcomer C-FUN, and he turned it into
a rock’n’roll powerhouse. In 1964, he introduced The Beatles on the same stage where Elvis had appeared seven years earlier.
As host of CBC-TV‘s Let’s Go from 1963-1966, Red introduced some of Canada’s best-known rockers, including Randy Bachman, Terry Jacks, The Collectors and many more.
In 1968, Red returned to CJOR, where it all began, as Operations Manager.
Red entered the advertising business in 1969 when he founded Trend Advertising
(later Palmer Jarvis Advertising). Trend’s first client was McDonald’s. Red was their first
agent and first to appear in a McDonald’s TV commercial.
In 1971 history repeated itself - Red returned to CKWX.to host Trivia Challenge, another coast-to-coast series for CBC-TV in 1979-80. A group of contestants was so inspired by
the concept they created Trivial Pursuit.
Red hosted mornings on CKWX until 1983, and went “network” with Reunion, a cross-Canada oldies show that ran from 1985-1993.
As part of EXPO '86 he presented The Legends Of Rock’n’Roll featuring 40 acts including Ray Charles, Roy Orbison, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Righteous Brothers.
Another advertising venture, Vrlak Robinson Advertising, merged with Hayhurst Communications in 1987 to form one of Vancouver’s largest advertising agencies.
Returning to TV in 1989, hosting the long-running Red’s Classic Theatre on Bellingham’s KVOS-TV until 2001. In 1993 he built a top-rated morning show on 650 CISL /Vancouver.
He was elected into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame as part of a group of pioneer deejays in 1994, the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1997, and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2000. He “retired” from radio in 2001broadcasting his show only Sundays on 650 CISL.
In his honour, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation opened the 1100-seat Red Robinson Show Theatre at Coquitlam’s Boulevard Casino in September 2006. In October 2007, Red moved to the FM dial for the first time at 1049funfm. In 2008, the Vancouver Music Industry presented Red with the Bruce Allen/Sam Feldman Legend Award for his support of the local music industry. Red was honoured in 2009 by the Royal British Columbia Museum as one of 132 influential British Columbians included in a giant collage known as The Party. In August 2011, Red Rock Diner returned home to AM650.
In June 2012 Red was awarded an honorary doctorate
by the University Of The Fraser Valley for his pioneering
contribution to the Canadian music industry and his
His early radio days were the subject of Dean Regan's
hit musical 'Red Rock Diner' which ran summer 2015
at Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre and theatres throughout
Red Robinson with Elvis Presley before his concert at Empire Stadium .Aug. 31, 1957.
Doris Jean McCarthy
Order of Ontario Order of Canda
Pioneered the genre and became one of North America's most successful Punk Rock groups.
A successful singer-songwriter, actress, model, and television host, Beverley Mahood is a dynamic entertainer, highly recognized, musically, for several solo albums and for the female country trio, "Lace". Since 2010 she has reached international audiences through her work on TV, as the host of the family series, "Pick a Puppy".
Beverley's musical past includes several albums, Girl Out of the Ordinary (1998), Moody Blue (2004), Unmistakable (2009), a couple of very successful Christmas albums and a partnership with David Foster on the female trio, Lace (1999), each album as diverse and acclaimed as the entertainer herself. In the last few years Beverley has frequented the charts with hit singles, Hope and Gasoline, Sunday I'm and Angel, I Can't Outrun You and Atmosphere all leading to her next release, "Better" which will be released in early 2017.
Beverley is both q productive and highly recognized songwriter. Her performances have included tours with George Strait, Tim McGraw, Kenny Rogers, plus some interesting exclusive performances. Over the past few years she has performed for the G8, World Leaders (2010), the American/Canadian Military in Afghanistan (2004, 2010, 2011), the Royal Family (2012) and on Beijing, China, Television for an Aids Awareness program reaching 100 million people. In 2010 she was a celebrated guest at the G20 Canadian Woman of Distinction luncheon.
She took a lead role in the 2014 TV-movie, "Changing Seasons", hosting numerous TV shows for CMT and a year with City-TV's Breakfast Televison.
With a passion for community that rivals her love of music, Beverley is a devoted supporter of charitable endeavors with a focus on children. "As artists, we have the privilege of a voice and a stage. We have a responsibility to use that privilege so those without can be heard. Children need that voice." She is the spokesperson for the Pink Mitten Campaign (Cancer Research) 2016 marks Beverley's 20th year with Saskatchewan's, CTV‐Telemiracle and Canada's Food Banks. "I am very grateful to have worked beside people like Bob McGrath, the Kinsmen Foundation and the Huron Carole's, Tom Jackson since I began my career … magical!" Beverley was recognized for her philanthropic work, with the, "CCMA - 2014, Slaight Music Humanitarian Award". "Born in Belfast, living between Ontario and Nashville, Beverley is a proud Canadian … "I can't wink, I can't whistle … but I love my hockey"
CAMA Award Winner, best female performer in Ireland.
West Coast Canadian touring musician,
Jocelyn is an award-nominated musician,
stepdancer, singer and composer.
With grace and passion she delivers an exciting and uplifting performance of original and traditional music, inspired by her heritage and the Celtic and folk music cultures of Canada, Scotland, Ireland, France, Spain, and Scandinavia.
With her band, Jocelyn has ignited stages across Canada, and in the U.S., the U.K., and Europe. She has performed on national television and radio, and shared the stage with world-renowned artists The Battlefield Band (Scotland), The Chieftains (Ireland), and Carlos Nuñez (Spain).
Her debut album received multiple award nominations, and her latest album, Caravan, was nominated for “World Artist of the Year” at the 2017
Western Canadian Music Awards and at the 2016 Canadian Folk Music awards.
Quotes: “Blowing the crowd away with her make-it-look-easy command of the fiddle and guitar, and exceptional vocal quality.” - Tahoe Onstage, USA "A top-
notch musician, and major emerging talent." - FolkWorld Magazine, Germany"
Exceptionally enjoyable." - The Living Tradition, UK
Celebrating Irish-Canadian stars of contemporary live, recorded and broadcast theatre and music.
Arts & Entertainment
Anna and Kate McGarrigle were born in Montreal of mixed Irish- and French-Canadian background, but lived their childhood in the Laurentian Mountains village of Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts, northwest of Montreal, where they learned piano from village nuns.
In the 1960s, in Montreal, while Kate was studying engineering at McGill University and Anna art at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal, they began performing in public and writing their own songs into the 21st century.
They were appointed Members of the Order of Canada in 1993 and received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award in 2004. On November 22, 2006, they received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2006 SOCAN Awards in Toronto.
Anna (born 1944) is married to Canadian journalist and author Dane Lanken. The couple have two children, Lily and Sylvan. Kate, born 1946, died in January 2010, was married to singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III. Their children are Rufus and Martha.
Anna at Cliffs of Moher
Sarah Ann Chisholm
Singer, Actor, Producer
Tenor. Actor. Conservator Toronto 2017 Irish Person of the Year
Norita Fleming (nee O’Donoghue) is the third of eight
children born in Freemount County Cork, Ireland, to school
teachers William and Maureen O’Donoghue. She began
her education being taught by both of her parents before moving on to Secondary at Loreto Convent Boarding School. Her chosen college education was Saint Mary’s College of Catering and Domestic Science in Dublin. She was only 20 years of age when she took the breave step to set out on her own, to emigrate to Canada.
In 1968, Norita met her husband Bill Fleming at the Maple Leaf Ballroom. They returned to Ireland in 1970 for their wedding celebration with family fathered around. Today they have 4 children, 8 grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Norita has given of herself very generously in voluntary community service: County Cork Association of Ontario; Member of the Action Grosse Ile Committee and Petition Grosse Ile to lobby for the acknowledgment of the Irishness at Grosse Ile, Quebec; Co- Chair of the 1997 Famine Walk; St. Cecilia’s Church Toronto St. Patrick’s Day Mass committee; Chair of Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann, Langan Gorman Branch for 3 years; Member of the Irish Choral Society of Canada; a Founding member of the Toronto Traditional Irish Music School; Chair of Rose of the Toronto Rose of Tralee for 3 years; President of the Irish Cultural Society of Toronto for 5 years from 2007 to 2012; The Mass of Memory. Chair since 2011; directed and staged 4 “An Samhain” concert with proceeds going to the St. Paul’s Breakfast Club.
Founder and Chairperson of St. Paul’s Toronto School of Irish Music now in its 10th year, in the Cork town area of Regent Park, Toronto
Alongside all of that generous community work, ,Norita has established and run her own catering business for 25 years. Today, she and her husband Bill operate Norita’s Bed and Breakfast widely assured it’s ‘the best of Irish and Scottish Hospitality’ in the Toronto area!
Certified Yukon Pioneer
Founder of the Arctic Circle Theatre Group Interanationally known for the Robert Service Show
Singer-Songwriter. Celebrated guest at the G20 Canadian Woman of Distinction luncheon
Host of 'Pick a Puppy'.
3X Juno Award Winner
Toronto's Irish Person of the Year 2011
Founder and Chair of St. Paul’s Toronto School of Irish Music Volunteer and Business Entrepreneur
Mary was born 4 June, 1894, and learned
the harsh realities of poverty growing up in
the Gaspé region, where unemployment
was common. Irish on her father's side, French Canadian on her mother's. She was a sturdy, curious and lively child who attended school only briefly. Fluently bilingual, she learned how to sing as well as play the accordion, fiddle and harmonica to brighten the evenings spent with neighbours. She usually played Irish reels, which she intertwined with "turlutes." Acadian mouth music. Without knowing it, young Mary Travers was laying the foundations of the Quebec "chanson."
At 13 years of age, in 1907, Mary she for Montreal in order to relieve the financial burden on her family. The shock of 20th C Montreal would become a song - The countryside, I left, To Montreal I did go. I tell you, it wasn't long. Before I met a fine young beau.
She worked as a housekeeper, then as a labourer in a textile mill retaining her strong will to succeed and cheerful disposition, winning the admiration of Edouard Bolduc. They married in 1914, struggled to raise a family in a 4-room cold-water flat, fighting against poverty and infections that claimed young lives. Trying to stay one step ahead of disaster they moved every two years. Their life began to stabilize in 1924 and the four surviving children grew up in a typical French Canadian home.
One day, when Edouard once again faced unemployment, Mary seized on the opportunity to replace a fiddle player in the "Veillées de Bon Vieux Temps," a popular folklore show. The audience liked her jigs on the fiddle, jew's-harp and spoons, and one evening, when she ventured to sing a refrain in her clear voice, there were calls for an encore!
Through the generosity of fellow musicians, Mary Bolduc quickly learned her trade and began to compose melodies. Radio broadcasts spread her reputation. The budding author-composer had never dared dream of a career when, in 1929, the head of Starr records offered her a contract for five "78" records. Then, on October 29, the New York Stock Market Crash set off the Great Depression. As grinding poverty again entered her life, Mary wrote new songs with simple and direct lyrics that spoke to the common people.
Her first big hit, La Cuisinière (The Cook), charmed the mothers of large families and the factory workers who still preferred humour and hope to the fatalism of other singers. By 1930, she was expected to produce one record a month. Her on-stage appearances increased and as the unemployment rate rose, she became a voice of courage. She spoke directly to the audience, with whom she directly identified:
The time will come, the time will come, but we can't lose hope.
She described the changing world: the new R-100 dirigible, the Dionne quintuplets, the Lindberg baby kidnapping, the New Deal and Hitler. With growing assurance, she took on the governments of Quebec and Canada, denounced poverty and unemployment, and advocated respect for tradition and work. Her stance on the status of women, however, was more traditional. Independent herself, she demanded more freedom for all women, but added:
For a household to get along, Requires a lot prudence. Let the wife wear the dress. And the man, the pants.
The songs broadcast from Montreal generated such a demand that Mary and her troupe of entertainers began regular tours of Quebec and New England. During one of these, in June 1937, she was involved in a serious traffic accident. When the doctor examined her injuries, he discovered a cancerous tumour. In the middle of this ultimate test, she wrote The Sufferings from My Accident.
In 1941, the final curtain came down on the singer
who sung to theunderprivileged of her day.
Today her songs reach a new audience
new struggles .. 'but we can't lose hope'
Jim Byrnes was born September 22, 1948, in St. Louis, Missouri – that’s blues country. He grew up on the city’s north side, getting involved both in the Civil Rights Movement (as much as his parents would allow) and falling in love with the city's blues scene. A neighbourhood bar had Ike and Tina Turner as the house band. Jim and his buddy sat in, “We never had any problems. We were too naïve, and had too much respect for the music and culture,” said Jim. By age thirteen, he was singing and playing blues guitar – soon with a virtual Who’s Who - Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker … During the height of the Vietnam War (1955-75) Jim was drafted and spent 13 months overseas. Despite being vehemently anti- war, he was assigned to an army recruitment centre.. "That was really not a good idea. Jim wasn't about encouraging other young men to go off to war," his wife, Robyn Post said. With a potential second stint overseas looming, Byrnes left the US for Canada, settling on Vancouver Island. "He had a dog. He was living off clams and brown rice in a shack.”
His life changed forever one night in 1972. He got out on the Malahat Hwy. to help a friend whose car had broken down. He was hit by a truck. He woke up in Nanaimo Hospital the following morning to be told “You've been in a very serious accident, and we had to amputate both your legs."
After years of drifting, struggling with the prostheses, working odd jobs and playing music Jim moved to Vancouver. In 1981 he put together a band that, in ’86, played 300 nights. His fame as an actor grew from his TV and movie roles, highlights including television’s Wiseguy and Highlander series, and his national variety show ‘The Jim Byrnes Show’.
Jim’s first love was always the blues. His evocative, smoky vocals are his signature. In 1981 he released Burnin’, followed in 1987 with I’ve Turned My Nights into Days and 1995’s Juno-Award winning That River.
He began collaborating with Steve Dawson, one of North America's most critically proclaimed roots music producers and created five outstanding albums in six years. 2004’s Fresh Horses and 2006’s gospel tinged Juno Award winning House Of Refuge set new standards. My Walking Stick was the 2009 release as they continued to explore gospel, blues, rockabilly, and country genres, pulling it all together in an original way. Everywhere West was a salute to Jim’s origins and influences.
In 2012, Jim recorded I Hear The Wind in the Wires, an album of songs from the golden age of country music that he had listened to most of his life. In 2014 Jim and Steve collaborated to celebrate the 250th anniversary of St. Louis Missouri. Childhood memories and versions of songs he grew up with made St. Louis Blues his most personal and, many would say, his best record yet.
A long list of career highlights back up the word that Jim Byrnes is a living musical treasure:
1995 Inducted BC Entertainment Hall of Fame, Juno Award winner (Blues/ Gospel Album of the Year- That River); 2003 Heart Award- BC Variety Club 2004 Juno Award nominee (Fresh Horses), Western Canadian Music Awards 2-time nominee for Fresh Horses; 2005 Maple Blues Awards 3-time nominee for Fresh Horses
2006 Champion for Kids Award — St. Louis Variety Club; Leo Award nominee for music video (Just a Pilgrim); Maple Blues Awards 2-time winner (Best Male Vocalist — House of Refuge); Maple Blues Awards 2-time winner (Recording of the Year — House of Refuge); Canadian Folk Music Award winner (Producer / Steve Dawson — House of Refuge); Canadian Folk Music Award winner (Best Contemporary Singer — House of Refuge); Juno Award winner (Blues Album of the Year — House of Refuge), 2010 Western Canadian Music Awards Winner (Album of the Year — My Walking Stick)
2011 Western Canadian Music Awards nominee (Blues Album of the Year - Everywhere West); Juno winner (Blues Album of the Year — Everywhere West)
2014 Maple Blues Awards (Best Male Vocalist — I Hear The Wind in the Wires)
The war, the accident - the hard times eclipsed by his marriage, a daughter, three Juno awards and a successful music career. His daughter Caitlin says it's his authenticity that defines Jim Byrnes, "He wears his heart on his sleeve, for better or for worse. I think it's the Irish way."
Born at home in Drimnagh,
Ireland, June, 5,1944, Colm was one of ten children whose parents were both skilled musicians – his mother was a singer and involved with amateur dramatics, whilst the banjo and mandolin were part of his father’s repertoire. Colm was working with his father, an asphalt contractor, and playing in bands part-time when, at 16 years of age, he went on a tour to the US. Shortly after his return he left the family business to become a full-time professional musician.
Colm and Deirdre, whom he describes as a source of constant and essential support, married in 1970. They began their married life in Bray passing on family traditions to their four children: Judith is now a curator, Simon and Sarah are graphic designers and Aaron is a singer/songwriter. Early in his music career, Wilkinson insisted that Deirdre and the children accompany him on tour to avoid familial separation.
In 1972, Wilkinson was cast as Judas Iscariot in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar. The role launched his fame and in 1985 he would once again collaborate with Webber in The Phantom of the Opera. Colm moved with his family to Canada as he began the four-and-a-half-year run as title character of Phantom, originating the role in Canada.
In 1976, Colm launched his solo career as singer-songwriter. By 1977 he was back in Ireland (where he was known as C.T. Wilkinson) for the launch of his own album which held Number One on the charts for 8 weeks. His next step was to prepare for vocal competitions. This led to his representing Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest, 1978, winning fifth place with Born to Sing.
Colm released several albums, including Child of Destiny with Tommy TC Doherty, and starred in ground-breaking musicals including Voices: Joan of Arc at the Olympia, Dublin, in 1984. He was offered a reprise of Phantom in the West End London but chose instead to play Jean Valjean in Les Misérables. The London production opened in October 1985, and transferred to Broadway in March 1987. The awards poured in when the American Actors' Equity Association took a turn-around and allowed Wilkinson to play the role when producer Cameron Mackintosh refused to open the show without Wilkinson. Colm received the Helen Hayes Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, and the Theatre World Award for his performance and was nominated for the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Best Actor in a Musical.
In 2002, he released the album titled "Some of My Best Friends Are Songs" in which he and his son Aaron cover the Cat Stevens song, Father and Son. His support of PBS listener-supported television brought him an hour-long programme during the tenth anniversary of the production of Les Misérables, brought him an hour-long program on which he performed songs including selections from the album and a powerful rendition of "Gethsemane", from Jesus Christ Superstar, a song that Wilkinson admitted he had wanted to perform for 23 years
Colm Wilkinson became a Canadian citizen in 2000).
October–November 2007, he undertook a cross-Canada concert tour, covered by the solo album, "Broadway and Beyond: The Concert Songs" released in 2010.
Wilkinson is a Founding Artist of Theatre 20, a musical theatre company in Toronto formed by artists in 2009. He was voted one of the five greatest singers ever in a Rolling Stone Magazine readers' poll. A soft-spoken man, he is noted for maintaining a powerful singing voice into his late 60s. He has attributed his longevity to avoiding coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, and dairy products whilst ensuring proper sleep, diet, and exercise.
In October 2012 Colm Wilkinson was awarded the Honourary Degree of Doctor of Laws from Ryerson University in Toronto.