Christmas Luncheon
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 18 Dec 1997, p. 227-233
Weston, Her Honour Hilary M., Speaker
Media Type
Item Type
Seasons Greetings from the Lieutenant-Governor and Special Performance by the St. Michael's Choir School.
A new tradition begun this year. Recognizing the accomplishments of a number of outstanding Canadians: Larry Stout; Katie McLaughlin; Douglas Derry; Professor Thomas Symons; Dorene Seltzer; Ed Mirvish; Paul Henderson; Seana Massey; Terence E. Finlay; George Cooke; Fung Fai Lam; Sandra Whiting; Brent Merrill; Ralph Ellis; Gywn Wilmot; Arthur Lee.
Date of Original
18 Dec 1997
Language of Item
Copyright Statement
The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.
Empire Club of Canada
Agency street/mail address:

Fairmont Royal York Hotel

100 Front Street West, Floor H

Toronto, ON, M5J 1E3

Full Text
Her Honour Hilary M. Weston, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario
Seasons Greetings from the Lieutenant-Governor and Special Performance by the St. Michael's Choir School
Chairman: Gareth S. Seltzer, President, The Empire Club of Canada

Head Table Guests

Larry Stout, Broadcaster, CTV Television News and a Director, The Empire Club of Canada; Katie McLaughlin, Head Girl, Bishop Strachan School, Toronto; Prof. Thomas H.B. Symons, Founding President and former Chancellor, Trent University; Dorene Seltzer, Volunteer, The Art Gallery of Ontario, The Royal Ontario Museum and The Arts & Letters Club; Ed Mirvish, President and CEO, Honest Ed's Ltd.; Paul Henderson, Athletes in Action; Seana Massey, Executive Director, The African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF); The Rt. Rev. Terence E. Finlay, Bishop of Toronto, The Anglican Church of Canada; Arthur Lee, Solidwear Inc.; Gwyn Wilmot, Director, The Empire Club of Canada; Ralph Ellis, Documentary Filmmaker, President, Keg Promotions; Brent Merrill, CFO, Metro Capital Group; Sandra Whiting, Program Co-ordinator, Harbourfront and President, The Black Business and Professional People's Association; Fung Fai Lam, Vice-President, Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers; and George Cooke, First Vice-President, The Empire Club of Canada and President, Dominion of Canada General Insurance.


A new tradition has begun this year. We chose to recognise the accomplishments of a number of outstanding Canadians. In the presence of Her Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, Hilary M. Weston, I am pleased to acknowledge our very special guests at the head table for this luncheon and several charitable organisations that were specially recognised this year.

At an Empire Club meeting two weeks ago, we hosted his Excellency President Ramos of the Republic of the Philippines--and he was amused that we asked the audience not to applaud anybody at our head table--at least not until the end of the process. He said it wouldn't fly in Asia; they love to hear applause! Today, I am breaking Empire Club tradition--in part as recognition, your Honour, of the exceptional individuals who have joined us to be recognised by the Empire Club of Canada.

Larry Stout. A long-time Director of the Empire Club of Canada--who with the help of fellow Director extraordinaire, Maria Roman-Bricknell and Sam Billich essentially put this whole event together. You may recognise him as the very believable anchorman on CTV News--or perhaps from the many other reporting assignments he has had over the years. Mr. Stout, you have outdone yourself again--and on behalf of the Club and all of us here, our thanks for your terrific contribution today.

Katie McLaughlin. It is the tradition of the Empire Club that at every lunch we invite as our guest, a student who is recognised as an example to his or her peers. It is my pleasure to introduce such a student today--Katie McLaughlin, Head Girl of Bishop Strachan School in Toronto.

Douglas Derry. I am pleased to recognise a long-time supporter of the Empire Club. He was President of the Empire Club in 1983-1984, has enjoyed a distinguished career with Price Waterhouse and is the Chairman of the Empire Club Foundation which publishes the speeches of the Club--and has done since 1903. Please welcome Mr. Douglas Derry.

Professor Thomas Symons. The founding President and former Chancellor of Trent University, one outstanding academic who had the foresight to put a university in one of the most beautiful communities in Ontario--Peterborough.

Dorene Seltzer. My mother, Rae Dorene Seltzer has come to a couple of lunches this year to witness her son in action but seemed particularly moved to come today after she clearly understood that the lunch would be free. When widowed four years ago, my mother had a choice of withdrawing--or the tough task of renewing herself. Spending summers studying at Cambridge, working at several volunteer jobs at the same time and visiting friends around the world sounds like my mother has her ducks in a row, doesn't it? I love you--and enjoy your free lunch.

Ed Mirvish. I have had the good fortune to meet Mr. Mirvish on many occasions, most recently on the occasion of the Queen's visit to Toronto. He said to me then that while he was honoured to have been decorated by the Queen, when he got home he still had to take the garbage out. Nearly 30 years ago when he opened Ed's Warehouse, he hired the fanciest chefs to make roast beef and after watching them for a while he figured he was paying them way too much. So he went to the gentleman who ran the parking lot and said: "Come on in, watch these guys and if you think you can do the cooking I'll get rid of the fancy boys and you can be the chef." Nearly 30 years later, the same former parking lot manager is the chef and the food is as good as ever. Please give a warm welcome to Mr. Ed Mirvish--a shy, outgoing ballroom-dancing businessman extraordinaire.

Paul Henderson. Just over 25 years ago, Mr. Henderson scored the goal against the Russians which was heard around the world. Now he is dedicated to excellence in public service and to Christian ministry in sports. Please welcome Paul Henderson. Mr. Henderson was last seen at the Empire Club head table when we hosted the Rev. Billy Graham. At that lunch, Mr. Graham collapsed mid speech and that was the end of the luncheon. You might be wondering why we haven't asked him back for a while. In the presence of the Bishop, we figured we were safe today.

Seana Massey. Ms. Massey is Executive Director of the African Medical and Research Foundation. I first met Seana over breakfast a couple of months ago and it took her about 45 seconds to ask me for money. AMREF, as the organisation is called, is an organisation that has been working to improve health care in East and Southern Africa for 40 years--and whose work includes the famous Flying Doctors Service. Literature regarding this amazing organisation is on many of the tables, and I encourage you to support this organisation.

Terence E. Finlay. The Empire Club Honorary Chaplain, the Bishop of Toronto, the Anglican Church of Canada. We are delighted that you have joined us as Honorary Chaplain, Bishop. As Don Mattingly once said: "Your reputation proceeded you before you got here."

George Cooke. Mr. Cooke is First Vice-President, The Empire Club of Canada and President of the Dominion of Canada General Insurance. Mr. Cooke is accomplished at so many things--and does them so well. He defines the adage: Give a busy man something to do and it gets done. We are delighted you are here today Mr. Cooke--and thank you to Dominion of Canada General Insurance for their very generous sponsorship of the head table today.

Fung Fai Lam. Retired executive of Sony Canada. Mr. Lam is also Vice-President, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and a life-long servant to the St. Johns Ambulance. We thank you for joining us today.

Sandra Whiting. President, the Black Business and Professional Peoples Association and Program Co-ordinator for Harbourfront. You have had a tough job but let me say on behalf of all of us here: The harbourfront is a jewel in this city and we are delighted to recognise today the fine work you do and thank you for joining us today.

Brent Merrill. Many of you will recall an horrific crash between a fire truck and a Brink's truck in downtown Toronto this past summer. Mr. Merrill risked his life and rescued two firemen only moments before the vehicles were completely engulfed by flames. You are an example to all of us, and I am pleased that you could join us today.

Ralph Ellis. I am very pleased to introduce to you somebody whom you may not recognise but whose work you would certainly know. Mr. Ralph Ellis has been making documentary films related to nature for years and in addition to running his own production firm, Keg Productions, is perhaps best known for his acclaimed series "Adventures in Rainbow Country."

Gywn Wilmot. I am very pleased to introduce to you an individual who joins us in her first appearance as a Director of the Empire Club of Canada. I asked Mrs. Wilmot this morning how she would like to be introduced, and she quietly said that it was difficult to say things about yourself. Gywn Wilmot has served our community--nationally and locally-well--as a Director of the national YWCA, as a Director of the Big Sisters organisation, a past Director of Bishop Strachan School and has been associated with the Lieutenant-Governor's Office since 1983. Mrs. Wilmot was appointed Lady in Waiting to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 1983, and was made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order. We welcome you to your first event as a Director of the Empire Club of Canada.

Arthur Lee. Lt. Col. John McCrae, a medical doctor, was the author of "in Flanders Fields." He wrote the poem after the first German gas attacks in 1915. A Canadian, he is buried along the coastal road near Boulogne, France where he died on January 8th, 1918--a victim of pneumonia. In Flander's Fields you are reminded of the tragedy of war--but what reminds us of this remarkable Canadian who penned this incredible poem? One extraordinary symbol of this man is his medals which were recently auctioned off to the highest bidder. Mr. Arthur Lee showed up at the auction not even knowing of John McCrae. He read the story in material handed out at the auction and knew that the medals had to stay in Canada and bought them. Your Honour, ladies and gentleman, please welcome Mr. Arthur Lee of Solidwear Inc.

We also recognise the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. You will have seen the booth coming in. The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation's sole mandate is to raise money in support of breast cancer research, education, diagnosis and treatment. It has been estimated that approximately 18,400 Canadian women will develop breast cancer in 1997. This means that one in nine Canadian women can expect to develop breast cancer during her lifetime. Research conducted on breast cancer expands our knowledge of all types of cancer. Please take a moment to visit the booth on the way out and I would like to introduce to you the Ontario Funds Development Manager of the Foundation, Erin McBride.

Introduction by Gareth Seltzer

I am delighted now to introduce to you Ontario's 26th Lieutenant-Governor since Confederation. Her Honour, Hilary M. Weston, has included as part of her mandate the celebration of volunteerism and it is in that spirit that we are gathered here today and in such good company--and I mean, all of you. Her Honour's efforts in support of women's issues, education, and community issues long precedes her appointment as Lieutenant-Governor. It is our honour that you grace us today and I ask you now to bring greetings from the Queen.

Lieutenant-Governor Weston

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure for me to be with you today as Honorary Vice-President of the Empire Club of Canada. At this time last year, I was looking forward with excitement, and not a little trepidation, to taking on the duties of Lieutenant-Governor.

Since January I have travelled to places I have never explored before. I have been inspired by the goodness and spirit of people I have met, both young and old, who have given unselfishly of themselves to others as the unsung heroes of our communities.

Everywhere I go I am greeted with a respect for my office which tells me that, even as we move confidently towards a new millennium, there remains a deep fondness for the traditions that connect us to the past. The Empire Club is such a tradition, celebrating as it will in 1998, 95 years in existence. Today we are also in the company of some of those unseen heroes, although neither Brent Merrill nor Arthur Lee may consider themselves such. However, these men are indeed heroes and they honour us with their presence. Courage comes in many forms. I would like to take the opportunity to applaud as heroes doctors who work with AMREF in primitive conditions, organisations such as the Daily Bread Food Bank for providing food to people who need it and to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation for its tireless efforts in helping so many. I congratulate the Empire Club on its decision to highlight these issues at this year's Christmas luncheon.

As we prepare for the joy of celebrating Christmas with our families and friends, it is right and proper that we remember those who are less fortunate. For all the gloomy critics who claim that Christmas is nothing more than a commercial bonanza--an extravaganza of spending, eating and drinking--it is a fact that this is the time of year when we remember those whom we have loved and lost and when we renew old friendships and open our hearts to those in need.

There is a Chinese proverb which tells us that, to gain happiness for a day, go fishing; to gain happiness for a year, inherit a fortune; but to gain happiness for a lifetime, we should help someone else.

Christmas is a good time to start laying in that lifetime store of happiness. Who among us does not look forward to a New Year, with its limitless opportunities to make things better, to do things differently, to make the changes we have been contemplating--to our lives, our careers or our waistlines?

It is my pleasure as her Majesty's Representative in the province of Ontario to bring to you all greetings and salutations at this happy time. Merry Christmas.

Thank you.

Gareth Seltzer

Thank you Your Honour and again our thanks for the exceptional example you set for us all.

I now have the privilege of introducing to you the St. Michael's Choir School.

The appreciation of the meeting was expressed by Larry Stout, Broadcaster, CTV Television News and a Director, The Empire Club of Canada.

Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.


Christmas Luncheon

Seasons Greetings from the Lieutenant-Governor and Special Performance by the St. Michael's Choir School.
A new tradition begun this year. Recognizing the accomplishments of a number of outstanding Canadians: Larry Stout; Katie McLaughlin; Douglas Derry; Professor Thomas Symons; Dorene Seltzer; Ed Mirvish; Paul Henderson; Seana Massey; Terence E. Finlay; George Cooke; Fung Fai Lam; Sandra Whiting; Brent Merrill; Ralph Ellis; Gywn Wilmot; Arthur Lee.