September 29, 2023


Arts Eternal

Tantoo Cardinal, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine O’Hara receive their Governor General’s awards

Actors Tantoo Cardinal, Ryan Reynolds and Catherine O’Hara were among the laureates who received their Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards after a nearly two-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The awards show, which was broadcast Friday on CBC, featured recorded segments and performances from across the country.

Cardinal, one of the most recognizable Indigenous actors in Canada, was among the winners of a lifetime artistic achievement award. Her resumé, which spans decades, includes roles in such films as Dances with WolvesLegends of the Fall and Smoke Signals, as well as television roles on North of 60, Moccasin Flats and Stumptown.

Comedic icon O’Hara also received a lifetime artistic achievement award. A member of the original cast of SCTV, O’Hara’s film credits include Home Alone and Beetlejuice — but many fans will likely cite her award-winning role of Moira Rose on Schitt’s Creek as a favourite.

In a recorded segment, Canadian actor and musician Noah Reid sang a tribute to the Toronto-born actor — featuring several wig changes in a nod to her Schitt’s Creek character. Reid, who appeared on the show as Patrick Brewer, performed A Case of You by Joni Mitchell.

Reynolds, the star of Deadpool whose other credits include Van WilderThe Proposal and Pokémon Detective Pikachu, received the National Arts Centre Award. Musician Steven Page performed in a recorded tribute to the Vancouver-born actor, which also noted his charitable work.

“Well, I guess I made it,” a teary Reynolds said after watching the performance.

Other lifetime artistic achievement winners include Vancouver-born composer Alexina Louie, who has written for the stage and screen, and Quebec-based Innu singer-songwriter Florent Vollant, who has worked extensively with Indigenous musicians.

The lifetime artistic achievement list was rounded out by Montreal-based dancer-choreographer Zab Maboungou, who pioneered a contemporary movement technique that draws on the rhythms of traditional Central African music and dance.

The recipient of the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for voluntarism in the performing arts was ballroom dancer and human resources consultant Lynda Hamilton of British Columbia.

Created in 1992, the awards are presented annually to “Canadians whose accomplishments have inspired and enriched the cultural life of our country,” according to a news release. Nominations are submitted by members of the public.

This cohort of laureates was initially announced in February 2020, but the ceremony was delayed due to the pandemic.