A moment to celebrate with a fine Canada Dry at Windermere Manor (aka Smallman estate) on Aug. 23, 2012. Photo by Daphne Bice, Press tag for hatband finessed by Kevin Bice. No complaints about the evening or the zesty ginger ale, but if Her Majesty needs me at Buck House for an august occasion, pls. have some Vernors on hand.
The medal on a lapel, as taken fuzzily by trusty BlackBerry
There are 60,000 of the commemorative Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medals being awarded & I am happy & honoured to consider myself No. 60,000 on the depth chart.
The award “serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.” The citation about me in the booklet for last week’s ceremony (Aug. 23, 2012, Windermere Manor aka the old Smallman estate) starts thusly: “James has been a tireless promoter of the arts in London.” Fair enough. More than fair, actually, & thanks to those who nominated me & for the kind words heard that night and from friends later. Twenty-nine medals were awarded at the ceremony. There are many other Londoners honoured with the medal this year but I want to mention the names of the 28 outstanding individuals who were at the Aug. 23 ceremony.
Not all were present on Aug. 23, but family or friends were on hand to accept for those who couldn’t make it.
Here they are in alphabetical order: Mohammed Baobaid, Geoff Beasley, Henri Boyi, Mary Cahalan, Ron Calhoun, Alfredo Caxaj, Ruthe Anne Conyngham, Sandy Cooper-Ryder, Chris Dobson, Ayshi Hassan, Ashfaq (Kash) Husain, Barb Legate, Betsy Little, Jim MacKinnon, Jack Moran, Tom Partalas, Glen Pearson, Marie Peterson, Steve Ross, Steve Sauder, Bonnie Schmidt, Jack Smit, Tom Soper, Janet Stewart, Jacqueline Thompson, Maria Van Bommel, Susan Whitehead & Kate Wiggins.
Their accomplishments are diverse & remarkable & made me proud to be a Londoner.
There was a standing ovation for Marie Peterson, 98 (!). Her presence and that of Ayshi Hassan (who is going to be 91 soon, I think) seated nearby was an inspiration to all of us. Nonagenarians, we salute you.
A bow to emcee Bill Brady, matchless as always, and our co-hosts MPPs Deb Matthews & Chris Bentley. Deb told us the Queen must be v. proud of us all. A bow also to all who helped organize an informal, delightful & serious affair.
To the other Londoners and all the 59,999 other Canadians so honoured, JBNBlog bows to you. It turns out two old friends Jane Irwin and Steve Trumper, who were both doing great things when we first met way back in the 1970s & who have continued to fight the good fight, are fellow honorees. You wear it well, friends.
The “tireless” (in quotation marks because it’s so sweet an exaggeration) efforts on behalf of the arts mentioned include James’ Brand New Blog & the Reaney’s Pick video, two ways of celebrating our local artheroes which weren’t around when I first began writing as a staffer for The London Free Press in 1979. Thanks to all who have contributed to those two lfpress.com online creations.
Thanks also to my colleagues, past & present, in the Today section at The Free Press. I have had the good fortune to be honoured . . . it is your efforts that are the truly tireless ones.