2023 Business / Arts Award Recipients

2023 Edmund C. Bovey Award Recipient

Pierre Lassonde O.C. G.O.Q.

The Edmund C. Bovey Award celebrates a leader who has demonstrated a lifetime of significant philanthropy and/or volunteer leadership in arts. 

In recognition of his transformative philanthropy, Pierre Lassonde is being honoured as the 2023 Edmund C. Bovey Award recipient. His philanthropic endeavours have had profound and enduring impacts on the arts and education across Canada and the USA.

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During his tenure as Chair of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) from 2005-2016, Mr. Lassonde spearheaded a groundbreaking $110 million fundraising campaign. Thanks to his leadership and generous contributions, including $10 million in funding and $5 million worth of art, the Pierre Lassonde Pavilion now proudly stands as a stunning testament to Canadian art. This architectural gem helped revitalize the institution and received several awards for its design excellence.

“Mr. Lassonde has since confirmed his ongoing support for future MNBAQ projects.” shared John R. Porter, art historian and former Executive Director of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. “This is undoubtedly his most spectacular commitment to Quebec City, particularly as he has inspired several donors who have worked wonders for the benefit of one of our greatest cultural institutions.”

As Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts from 2015 to 2020, Mr. Lassonde brought about transformative changes. Through his visionary approach and diligent efforts, the Canada Council experienced a profound renewal, resulting in a remarkable doubling of the budget to $360 million by 2021.

In June 2022, the Pierre Lassonde Family Foundation announced a visionary $25 million donation to the City of Toronto to create a new waterfront public art trail. This donation is the single largest arts-related gift the City has ever received.

“Mr. Lassonde cares deeply about the well-being of the community,” said Christiane Germain, Chair of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. “His actions reflect his pride in Québec City and his deep attachment to his fellow citizens. This affection extends to the entire Canadian cultural community, which has led him to make significant and visible contributions to the development of the arts and cultural sector in Canada.”

Mr. Lassonde’s extensive contributions to the education sector have led to the creation of reputable programs across Canada and the United States. Notable among these are the Pierre Lassonde School of Fine Arts at Mount Allison University, the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University in Toronto, the Lassonde Mining Engineering program at the University of Toronto, and the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and Studios at the University of Utah, with numerous scholarships at Canadian universities.

In recognition of his outstanding contributions, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2002 and promoted to Officer in 2022. He was also appointed as a Grand Officier de l’Ordre national du Québec in 2019.

Edmund C. Bovey Award Partner

2023 Peter Herrndorf Arts Leadership Award Recipient

Dr. Stephen Borys O.M.

The Peter Herrndorf Arts Leadership Award celebrates an arts leader who has spent a lifetime dedicated to building partnerships and fostering the arts in Canada. We are delighted to recognize Dr. Stephen Borys as this year’s recipient.

In his role as Director and CEO of the Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq, Dr. Stephen Borys spearheaded the Qaumajuq building project from inception to reality, leading the $75 million capital and endowment campaign, the architectural program and construction phase of Canada’s new Inuit art centre. Under his leadership, WAG-Qaumajuq has significantly elevated its role and profile in Canada and abroad with particular attention to Indigenous art and artmaking.

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“A fierce believer in the power of art to build understanding, Dr. Borys gathered a community of artists, Indigenous advisors, partners, and stakeholders to envision and realize Qaumajuq, where all are welcome and where everyone’s stories are told and heard in a spirit of reconciliation”, describes Catherine Maksymiuk, Head of Engagement & Advancement, Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq.

Qaumajuq, meaning “it is bright, it is lit” in Inuktitut, opened its doors in March 2021. It is home to the world’s largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art. The new centre is uniquely designed to share space with the Winnipeg Art Gallery, creating a vibrant 185,000-square-foot cultural campus in the heart of downtown Winnipeg.

At the core of Dr. Borys’ directorship is the goal of advancing a meaningful dialogue with the public and creating a welcoming and inclusive forum where art and culture take center stage with audiences and stakeholders.

“Dr. Borys has courageously led the WAG in a bold new direction, implementing numerous and permanent changes to the institution on many levels”, shares Dr. Heather Igloliorte, Tier 1 University Research Chair in Circumpolar Indigenous Arts at Concordia University. “He maintains a respectful, ongoing dialogue with the Indigenous Advisory Circle and together, we are reimagining not only what the museum looks like, or how the collection is stored and displayed. We are also thinking through the governance of the institution itself: the mission, the hiring practices, the staffing, and how museum education can be improved for all audiences.”

Inspired to reconsider the template for the museum in the 21st century, Borys sees the function and purpose of the “new museum” as far exceeding its physical structure, with a focus on dialogue, exploration, belonging, and reconciliation – at all points using art to make a difference for the better in the community.

Beyond his work at WAG-Qaumajuq, Dr. Borys is an adjunct professor at the University of Winnipeg’s Cultural Studies and Business Administration Departments. He actively volunteers on national and international arts and culture committees including as a previous board chair of the Canadian Art Museum Directors Organization (CAMDO), board director of the Canadian Museum Association (CMA) and Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD). Notably, he played a vital role in guiding the Canadian Museum Association’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #67 and served as Co-Chair of the CMA’s Museum and Indigenous Issues Council.

Peter Herrndorf Arts Leadership Award Partner

2023 Arnold Edinborough Award Recipient

Owais Lightwala

In recognition of his remarkable achievements as a champion of partnerships, innovation and inclusion in the arts, we are thrilled to name Owais Lightwala as the 2023 Arnold Edinborough Award recipient.

Owais Lightwala is a professor, entrepreneur and optimist. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Creative School at Toronto Metropolitan University, where his teaching and research focus on entrepreneurship, leadership, and innovation in creative industries.

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“Owais was invited to join the faculty for several reasons: his passion and energy for the arts, his ability to envision a changed and radical landscape for Performance, and his ability to see himself inside of that change”, says Dr. Caroline O’Brien, Associate Professor and Chair, Performance at The Creative School.

“So often the engines behind change go quietly unnoticed” shares Weyni Mengesha, Artistic Director, Soulpepper Theatre Compay. “Owais has been, and continues to be, an incredible force for positive change in our sector. I know so many artists whose careers have launched because of his dedication to advocacy work, and the programs he has designed.”

He is the co-founder and CEO of Sai, a tech startup that is working to revolutionize the way that creatives manage their money. Prior to that, he spent eight years as the first Managing Director for Why Not Theatre, co-leading the establishment of one of Canada’s most dynamic new arts organizations and producing industry-changing projects like RISER and The Mahabharata.

He is sought after as a bold strategic voice by culture sector institutions including the National Arts Centre, Canada Council for the Arts, and Canadian Heritage. He has served on many nonprofit boards, including TO Live, Mass Culture, AMY Project, and Art Ignite.

2023 Corporate Champion of the Arts Award Recipient

Power Corporation of Canada

The Corporate Champion of the Arts Award recognizes a business that has strengthened arts and culture in Canada through its long-standing support of and commitment to the sector.

Through sustained investments and enduring partnerships with organizations nationwide, Power Corporation of Canada has been instrumental in strengthening the vibrancy of the Canadian arts and culture landscape. In 2022 only, their community investments benefited 122 organizations across the arts sector, spanning performing arts, museums, art galleries, and arts education.

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Power Corporation champions organizations that help achieve vibrant, caring, and sustainable communities. They believe this is vital for citizens and businesses alike to thrive and prosper. Their philanthropic mission centres on making Canada a better place, including by supporting the arts in Montreal and Quebec, where their headquarters are located, as well as organizations and initiatives that have an impact across Canada.

Their support extends to leading organizations such as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Musée national des Beaux-Arts du Québec, the Canadian Canoe Museum, Théâtre Duceppe, Culture pour tous!, the Winnipeg Art Gallery – Qaumajuq, Théâtre du Nouveau-Monde, the Kenojuak Cultural Centre, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Conseil des Arts de Montreal, the Inuit Arts Foundation, the Canadian Center for Architecture, the National Music Centre, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation’s Imagine a Canada program, and many others.

For decades, Power Corporation has contributed to the vitality of Francophone communities in Canada and supported artistic endeavours in both official languages. Notable examples include providing bursaries for student training at the National Theatre School of Canada since 1993, supporting the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal for over 40 years, and partnering with the National Arts Centre as a major supporter of NAC’s French Theatre and as the inaugural corporate partner of their National Creation Fund Campaign.

Through these impactful partnerships and many others, Power Corporation has demonstrated a lasting commitment to building a vibrant and sustainable arts sector, empowering Canadian artists to shine on national and international stages. They demonstrate what it is to be a true champion of the arts.

Corporate Champion of the Arts Award Partner

2023 Community Impact Award Recipients

BC Museums Association and Forager Education 

The Community Impact Award celebrates an innovative partnership between a business and an arts organization that has had a notable impact on the community.

In response to the evolving digital landscape and the challenges posed by the pandemic, the BC Museums Association (BCMA) and Forager Education, have taken proactive steps to support the education and arts sectors in British Columbia. At the centre of their partnership is the development of The VR Voyage Classroom, a groundbreaking platform designed to bring immersive learning experiences to students throughout the province and beyond.

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The VR Voyage Classroom offers students the opportunity to explore museums, galleries, science centers, and heritage sites through immersive learning experiences, regardless of their physical location. It serves as a platform that seamlessly connects educators with cultural organizations, streamlining access to virtual and in-person arts-based educational resources and programming.

Developed in consultation with over 40 organizations, including heritage and cultural institutions, Indigenous museums, BC teachers, and school districts, The VR Voyage Classroom not only enhances educational experiences but also creates additional revenue streams to support the financial sustainability of participating organizations. By directing 85% of all sales to these cultural and heritage organizations, this partnership is projected to work with more than 500 organizations and inject over $500,000 annually into British Columbia’s cultural sector by 2025.

The partnership between Forager Education and the BCMA reflects a shared commitment to enriching the cultural sector in British Columbia. Forager Education brings expertise in education, technology, and marketing, while the BC Museums Association leverages its extensive network of cultural institutions and profound understanding of the local cultural landscape. Together, they provide a comprehensive solution that fosters a vibrant and inclusive learning environment, benefiting both students and cultural organizations.

Congratulations to all of this year‘s recipients!

Presenting Partner

Reception Partner

Media Partner



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