Rehab scientist invested into Order of Canada

A man dedicated to improving the health and well-being of people with limited mobility is among 11 Toronto residents invested into the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest honours.

Geoffrey Roy Fernie’s pioneering technology and product developments have led to significant advancements in the prevention of injury and disease, particularly among older adults, the Governor General’s Office of Canada reports.

As a professor at the University of Toronto and as director of research at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Fernie has made tangible contributions to improving safety conditions, fostering independence in patients and alleviating the concerns of caregivers, it adds.

Governor General Julie Payette invested Fernie, along with another 30 members, into the Order of Canada in a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Sept. 6. Eight officers were also invested into the Order of Canada, which was created in 1967 and recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.

The following is a list of Order of Canada recipients from Toronto:


May Cohen, a pioneer in the field of women’s health in Canada, is a former family physician and professor of family medicine at McMaster University. She has championed gender-based health care and the equal participation of women physicians in medicine over six decades.

Sajeev John. A professor of physics and Canada Research Chair at the University of Toronto, he co-invented photonic crystals, which allow light to be slowed down, contained and microscopically controlled. This breakthrough has had real-world applications in optical communications, health care, renewable energy and computing.

Rose M. Patten, a senior banking executive, has served as chair of the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children. Committed to helping others succeed, she has been a role model, mentor and advocate for women in senior positions. She supports children’s health research and access to education for vulnerable populations.


Dionne Brand. An acclaimed and award-winning writer, poet and documentarist, she has explored the difficult themes of gender, race and sexuality, while shining a light on the experience of living in a post-colonial world. She’s a professor of literature at the University of Guelph.

Meredith Chilton. As an art historian and long-time curator of the Gardiner Museum, she helped to shape the institution into one of the world’s leading collections and research centres for historical ceramics. Her own studies on 18th-century European porcelain have produced authoritative texts on this art form.

Saul Feldberg. He founded The Global Group and Teknion Corporation, prominent manufacturers of office and institutional furniture known for their innovative and environmentally-conscious designs. His philanthropy has touched dozens of charities in Canada and Israel, including many of Toronto’s health, education, social and religious institutions.



Carlo Fidani. A prominent figure in Toronto’s real estate sector, he expanded his family’s construction company into one of the country’s leading industrial and commercial real estate enterprises. His many landmark donations have inspired collaboration in support of such health-related causes as research and innovation, education, treatment and the redevelopment of health-care facilities.

Curtis Harnett. A dominant cyclist of the ’80s and ’90s, he won more than 30 national titles and represented Canada at four Olympic Games, where he won three medals. As chef de mission for both the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, he led his fellow athletes with integrity, passion and vitality.

George Myhal, an investment and finance leader, is passionate about higher education. In addition to helping build and manage a prominent global asset management firm, he hosted Governing Council of the University of Toronto’s largest fundraising campaign. New generations of engineers of his alma mater have benefited from his support.

Sylvia Sweeney. Voted most valuable player at the world championships, this two-time Olympian led Canada’s national basketball team to its highest levels of achievement. She produced numerous TV programs that have given voice to the voiceless. She founded the ArtsGames, an independent global competition that will bring the world together through dance, music, literature, visual and media arts.





Top photo: Geoffrey Roy Fernie and Governor General Julie Payette. Middle photo: Payette and Saul Feldberg. Bottom photo: Sylvia Sweeney and Payette.
Photos by Sgt. Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall © OSGG, 2018.

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