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Canadian Icons

Spotlight On: Canadian Icons

Next year, Canada turns 150 years young, and who better to help celebrate this milestone than the iconic Canadians represented by Speakers’ Spotlight. Inspiring people from coast to coast, these astonishing, world-renowned individuals draw on their incredible backgrounds to encourage their fellow Canadians to overcome challenges and reach their dreams. Watch a selection of our icons and hear their words of wisdom above.

Icons featured in the video include:

Michael Clemons

Few people exemplify the qualities of personal excellence, teamwork, community leadership, and overcoming the odds better than CFL legend Michael “Pinball” Clemons. With boundless energy, Pinball’s talks centre on the potential for each of us to achieve anything we set our minds to. Unabashedly emotional and impactful, he shows audiences how to put heart into everything they do.

Chris Hadfield

“Good morning, Earth!” That is how Colonel Chris Hadfield—writing on Twitter—woke up the world every day while living for five months aboard the International Space Station. Through his 21-years as an astronaut, three spaceflights and 2600 orbits of Earth, Colonel Hadfield has become a worldwide sensation, harnessing the power of social media to make outer space accessible to millions and infusing a sense of wonder into our collective consciousness not felt since humanity first walked on the Moon. Called “the most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong,” Colonel Hadfield continues to bring the marvels of science and space travel to everyone he encounters.

Rick Hansen

Rick Hansen is a Canadian icon who has dedicated his life to creating a world that is accessible and inclusive for all. Best known as the “Man In Motion” for undertaking an epic two-year circumnavigation around the world in his wheelchair, Rick is also a four-time world champion, nine-time Pan Am gold medalist, and three-time Paralympic gold medalist. Now the CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation, an organization committed to creating a world without barriers for people with disabilities, Rick uses his presentations to challenge everyone to become a difference maker and a legacy leaver.

General Rick Hillier

Leadership requirements on the front lines of business are not so different than those on the front lines of combat, says General (Retired) Rick Hillier. Each position requires a strong and sound vision to lead a united and skilled team. Drawing from more than 30 years of experience with the Canadian Forces, including the three he served as Canada’s Chief of the Defence Staff, General Hillier takes audiences through the principles of leadership that he learned on the battlefield, and how they can be applied to civilian life.

Clara Hughes

“Being a champion is not just about winning,” says six-time Olympic medalist Clara Hughes. Believing that actions off the track define us as much as those on it, Hughes inspires people toward success in all areas of their lives. Her candid, personal talks range from how she believes sports can change lives to her struggle with depression—fully embodying the idea that each of us can overcome challenges to become the champions we’re meant to be.

Margaret Trudeau

Margaret Trudeau is a Canadian icon, celebrated both for her role in the public eye and as a respected mental-health issues advocate. From becoming a prime minister’s wife at a young age, to the loss of both her son and her former husband, to living with bi-polar disorder, Margaret tirelessly shares her personal stories to remind others of the importance of nurturing the body, mind, and spirit.