THIS YEAR'S READERS
Known as one of Canada’s greatest voices, award-winning jazz vocalist Molly Johnson is a mother, singer-songwriter, artist and philanthropist who has grown to become a Canadian icon in the jazz scene worldwide. Molly’s luscious interpretations of jazz and blues standards speak to an emotional depth that few vocalists in any genre have ever reached.
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.
Sarah Keenlyside is a visual storyteller, artist and creative collaborator on projects ranging from large-scale art installations, documentary films and TV shows, community events, social media campaigns, and culinary experiences. She is also co-owner and creative director of award-winning chocolate company Chocolates X Brandon Olsen (2017 Wallpaper Magazine International Design Award winner) and newly opened Restaurant La Banane, which she founded together with her fiancé, chef Brandon Olsen.
On her own, Sarah has owned and operated her company Inkblot Media since 2005, and has produced and directed over 200 non-fiction video productions for TV, web and beyond - mainly on the subject of public art and architecture. She has filmed with many of the world's top established and emerging artists, including James Turrell, Mark DiSuvero, Vito Acconci, Douglas Coupland, Karim Rashid, José Parlá, United Visual Artists and many more. She also produced the upcoming feature documentary The Integral Man, which will premiere at Hot Docs Documentary Festival in 2017.
Sarah also creates and collaborates on large-scale, temporary public art projects. In 2012 she produced Douglas Coupland's Museum of the Rapture for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, followed by two Nuit Blanche projects of her own: lightbridge in 2013 (a 125-meter light and music installation on a pedestrian bridge in collaboration with Urban Visuals and musician John Kameel Farah), and seen, (a video work in collaboration with computer scientist Omar Khan). Most recently, Sarah recreated iconic movie character Ferris Bueller’s bedroom (with artist/filmmaker Joseph Clement) at an annual art event at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel, and later restaged it in Chicago and Niagara Falls. The room drew nearly 10,000 visitors in 9 days of being open to the public and the story went viral – it was featured on dozens of major media outlets including Good Morning America, The Today Show, CBC’s Metro Morning, CTV News, Vice, Buzzfeed and many more.
Betsy Williamson is a principal in the architectural design studio of Williamson Williamson, an office committed to using both built and unbuilt work as vehicles to explore diverse research and design agendas. Her design approach privileges contextual specificity, materials research, fabrication methods, building performance, and client-based collaboration. Through her years of experience in small award winning design firms, Betsy brings to the office her enthusiastic commitment to architectural practice and high quality design. Her work ranges from objects and installations to master plans and buildings, with a portfolio that includes numerous houses, commercial projects, and institutional work.
Williamson Williamson’s work has been published widely and has received numerous awards over the years. Notable practice-based recognition includes the Professional Prix de Rome for Architecture (2012) from the Canada Council of the Arts, the Emerging Architectural Practice Award from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (2014), the Young Architects Prize (2006) and the Emerging Voices Award (2014) from the Architecture League of New York, and selection for the 2015 Wallpaper* Architects Directory. Betsy was also named a finalist for the Architects' Journal 2015 Emerging Woman Architect of the Year Award.
Kamal Al-Solaylee is the author of the national bestselling memoir Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes which won the 2013 Toronto Book Award and was a finalist for Canada Reads and the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. His latest book, Brown, was hailed as "brilliant" by The Walrus magazine and "essential reading" by the Globe and Mail and made the shortlist of the Governor General Literary Awards in Nonfiction in 2016. He was previously a theatre critic at the Globe and Mail and has written reviews and features on arts and politics for all major Canadian publications, including Toronto Star, National Post, The Walrus, Toronto Life, Chatelaine, Quill & Quire, Literary Review of Canada and ELLE Canada. He holds a PhD in English and is an associate professor of journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto.
THE HONOURABLE Mitzie Hunter
Mitzie Hunter is the Minister of Education, and the MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood. Prior to this post, she served as the Associate Minister of Finance, responsible for pension reform.
Mitzie Hunter understands our community and the power of working together. A lifelong citybuilder, she is passionate about unlocking the city’s potential by ensuring fair and inclusive access to employment and prosperity.
As the former CEO of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance, Mitzie worked to solve some of our toughest social, economic and environmental challenges. She was also previously the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation, Vice-President with Goodwill Industries and a Regional Director at Bell Canada.
Mitzie and her family immigrated to Canada from Jamaica in 1975. She grew up in Scarborough, graduated from U of T (Scarborough Campus) with a BA, and recently completed her MBA from the Rotman School of Management.
As part of Kathleen Wynne’s team, Mitzie will bring people together to solve problems, and to create jobs and opportunity in our community.