John Irving was born in Exeter, New Hampshire. His first novel was published when he was twenty-six. He competed as a wrestler for twenty years, and coached wrestling until he was forty-seven. He is a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Mr. Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times—winning once, in 1980, for his novel The World According to Garp. In 2000, Mr. Irving won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules.
John Irving co-owns the theatrical rights to The World According to Garp with Warner Brothers. He has written an adaptation of Garp as a teleplay—a miniseries in five episodes. He and Warner Brothers are currently in the process of finding a production and distribution partner for the Garp miniseries. Mr. Irving, who lives in Toronto, is also at work on his fifteenth novel—a ghost story called Darkness as a Bride.
Natalie Panek's love of space and aviation led her to obtain a private pilot's license, design and drive a solar-powered car across North America, and build space robotics. She has participated in internships at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center and at NASA's Ames Research Center, where she worked on a mission to Mars. With degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering, Panek has contributed to a number of space projects, including MDA's satellite servicing initiative and ESA's 2020 ExoMars rover program. She currently works in Mission Systems at MDA's robotics and automation division, on Canadian space robotics and other space exploration programs.
Panek founded her website, thePanekRoom, to encourage women to pursue challenging careers in nontraditional fields and explore the outdoors. She was featured on the editorial site "Women You Should Know" as a STEM Rock Star who is revolutionizing how we think about women in tech, and Canada's Financial Post describes Panek as "a vocal advocate for women in technology."
Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler
Grand Chief Fiddler was born in Sioux Lookout and raised in Muskrat Dam First Nation. He studied Business Management at the University of Lethbridge and served in several leadership roles in his community before being elected to the NAN Executive Council.
Elected Grand Chief in 2015, he is responsible for implementing mandates from Chiefs of 49 First Nations across Northern Ontario, including 34 remote communities.
In 2016 he was conferred with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for championing social justice and leading the way for First Nation rights and reforms on issues including as police services, clean water, housing and health services.
His dedication to achieving economic and social equality for NAN’s 49 First Nation communities has earned him the respect of leaders of Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities across Canada.
He attributes his successful career to the loving support of his wife Tesa and daughters Lynette and Allison.
Born and raised in Toronto, a city where cultures of the world come together, Kardinal Offishall's moniker of "Mr. International" is as fitting as it is catchy. With his notable twist of hip-hop music, spirited stage performances and captivating persona he stands out on a world stage.
Incredibly original and widely received, Offishall has trekked across the globe performing in some of the most acclaimed stadiums, arenas and festivals where he, without fail, exhilarates fans with one-of-a-kind musically vivacious mash-up performances. From Prince's Trust Fashion/Rock show that was broadcast to over 400 million viewers in over 70 countries worldwide, to performing multiple times at the MMVA's, Offishall has become a notable figure amongst the top ranking in the music industry.
From his earlier onsets in Toronto's underground hip-hop scene in the 1990's, Offishall trademarked his signature tongue-in-cheek rhymes that garnered him a following in the already established hip-hop musical arena. Entwining patois and a dancehall style with singles like "Bakardi Slang", "Ol Time Killin" and "Maxine", Offishall had fans quickly clinging to the likes of his songwriting and distinctive hip-hop style that, today, has earned him musical success and rap respectability across the continents.
As a four-time MMVA and Juno Award winner with multiple ASCAP and Socan awards, it's no doubt that Offishall is one of the hardest working artists in the business who continues to deliver hits with endless collaborations on his discography.
Christina Zeidler is an artist, filmmaker, curator, community activist, entrepreneur, developer and chief alchemist of The Gladstone Hotel where she founded the iconic art show, Come Up to My Room. Her first feature film “Portrait of a Serial Monogamist”, is a lesbian romantic comedy about coming of middle age and was released theatrically in Canada and the US. She has over thirty short film and video titles in distribution. Her visual art and design work has shown at IIDEX, the bulthaup showroom, the Textile Museum of Canada and universities across Canada (including a feature show at OCAD for Nuit Blanche). Zeidler is one half of the euro-electronica-pop-diva sensation “ina unt ina” and part of the high concept art band “Mintz”.
Elicser Elliott explores narrative structures, new surfaces, and new sensations, through the lens of more than a decade spent in the global aerosol art community. A distinctive character based practice, the work of Elicser is highly visible in major cities from Toronto to South America to South Africa. His work was recently featured at the Institute for Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum.
The graffiti debate rages in a city where the creative talent born from the alleys and walls of the urban infrastructure is flourishing. Known for his intuitive ability to capture the essence of a subject. Elicser Elliott leads the charge in the character-based movement in Toronto.