The Hon. Hilary M. Weston Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario
Seasons Greetings from The Hon. Hilary Weston and Special Performance by the Mendelssohn Youth Choir
Chairman: Catherine Steele
President, The Empire Club of Canada
Head Table Guests
Douglas L. Derry, FCA, Corporate Director, Poplar Lane Holdings, Chairman, The Empire Club Foundation and Past President, The Empire Club of Canada; The Rt. Reverend Ann Tottenham, Bishop of the Area of Credit Valley and Archbishop, Anglican Diocese of Toronto; Jonathan Grover, OAC Student, University of Toronto Schools and Volunteer, Dept. of Genetics and Genomic Biology, The Hospital for Sick Children; Mike `Pinball' Clemons, Ph.D., Coach and Former Star, The Toronto Argonaut Football Club; Carl Mason, Knight of The Order of St. John, St. John Ambulance; Liane Niles, Spouse of Reverend Dr. John Niles, Winner of the First Empire Club of Canada ""Recognition"" Award; Mike Bullard, Comedian, Star of CTV and The Comedy Network's ""Open Mike with Mike Bullard""; The Most Reverend Terence E. Finlay, Archbishop of the
Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario, The Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop of The Diocese of Toronto Anglican Church and Honorary Chaplain, The Empire Club of Canada; David A. Edmison, Senior Partner, Martin Lucas & Seagram and Past President, The Empire Club of Canada; Brian Feeney, President, ORVA Space Corporation and Team Leader, The da Vinci Project; Col. Des Deslauriers, Commander, 32 Brigade; David Mirvish, Co-Founder, Mirvish Productions; Gwyne Willmot, LVO, AdeC, Director, The Empire Club of Canada; Al Waxman, Actor, Director and Star of ""King of Kensington"" and ""Cagney & Lacey""; Jack Nederpelt, Managing Director, Heidrick & Struggles; and Reverend Dr. John Niles, Pastor, Victoria Park United Church and Winner of the First Empire Club of Canada ""Recognition"" Award.
Introduction by Catherine Steele
It is now my pleasure to call upon Her Honour Hilary Weston, the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario. And let me just say how thrilled we are that you are able to join us today. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Lieutenant-Governor Hilary Weston.
As Honorary Vice-President of The Empire Club of Canada, I am delighted to join you again for your annual Christmas luncheon. For one who normally eats lunch on the go, the pleasure of a leisurely midday meal seems to come, like Santa, but once a year!
I find myself in the company of a distinguished and eclectic group of guests. What a delight it is to be seated with such colourful personalities as comedian Mike Bullard (for whom, I assure you, this mike is not open) and football coach ""Pinball"" Clemons (whose Argonauts still seek a golden fleece in the guise of a Grey Cup).
And I look forward to hearing the Mendelssohn Youth Choir, since it is always a great pleasure to see talented young people doing something that they really enjoy.
You may recall that this time last year, we were awaiting the much-ballyhooed Y2K with a mixture of apprehension and enthusiasm. Happily, the world did not come to an end, and a grand New Year's celebration was followed by business as usual for most people around the world.
Yet the ""odometer year,"" when all the numbers on the metre flipped over at the same time, did prompt many people to make once-in-a-lifetime resolutions: to take a long-desired trip around the world, change careers, or start a new dot-com.
Many of us in public life began millennium initiatives designed to mark this extraordinary year in special ways. And I was no different. This year, we launched the Lieutenant-Governor's Community Volunteer Award for Students, to honour exemplary students from 1,100 secondary schools.
I am delighted to say that a great many young people qualified for the award--delighted, but not surprised--because over the past four years, I have had the pleasure of meeting literally thousands of young people who make me very hopeful for the future of Ontario and Canada. This feeling grows even stronger with each letter I receive from a Volunteer Award winner.
Their diverse volunteer activities not only help their communities but also make them caring and responsible young citizens. As one young man wrote, ""Volunteering has given me a spectrum of valuable experiences that no school curriculum can offer."" Often these formative lessons shape a lifelong pattern of giving.
These mature young people seldom seek praise for what they give. Another student wrote to me and said, ""I was not expecting any recognition ... I volunteer to help others, not to receive praise."" And yet by validating their efforts, we bring attention to the positive qualities young people possess, despite perceptions to the contrary.
Another young woman noted that the awards are ""sending a wonderful message to our province that young people are capable of being and doing good."" And to show how much this message needs to be heard, she added, ""You know, there have been a few times when stores would not serve me because I am a young person. Thank you,"" she said, ""for believing in us: it means a lot."" By recognising young volunteers, I hope to encourage others to follow in their footsteps. The hundreds of students who received the inaugural award this year, and those who will follow them, show just how much young Ontarians can do. What, you may ask, makes these young people such a driving force?
I believe that the philosopher Aristotle gave us a clue in his book on ethics, when he described young people as follows: ""Their hopeful disposition makes them think themselves equal to great things, and that means having exalted notions... Their lives are regulated more by moral feeling than by reasoning... They overdo everything: they love too much... and the same with everything else.""
They sound like pretty amazing human beings to me! Because I have seen during my term of office that most young Ontarians do indeed think themselves equal to great things. And it is our good fortune that these ""great things"" often change our schools and our communities for the better.
In this season of goodwill, as we reflect upon the many blessings of living in ""the best country in the world,"" I believe we can confidently add to our list these wonderful young people.
On this festive occasion, I bring you my greetings, and very best wishes for a happy holiday and a New Year filled with peace and joy.
I would now like to call upon David Edmison, Past President of The Empire Club of Canada. David will present the first-ever Empire Club of Canada Community Service Award. We'd like to acknowledge the sponsor of our award, R. Doreen Seltzer. The award will be presented by Her Honour.
Thank you David.
It is now my pleasure to welcome the Mendelssohn Youth Choir. Founded in 1977, the choir is comprised of young adult singers between the ages of 15 and 23. Today they will be performing under the direction of renowned John Rutter.
Please welcome the Mendelssohn Youth Choir.
The appreciation of the meeting was expressed by David A. Edmison, Senior Partner, Martin Lucas & Seagram and Past President, The Empire Club of Canada.