Murray McEwen of Erin received the insignia of the Order of Canada in a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on May 7.
His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada presented awards to 45 recipients.
“Each of you has desired stronger communities and a better Canada in which to live,” he said.
“You have poured your respective hearts and souls into your work. You have achieved a level of focus that has enabled you to excel and to effect positive change, be it a new idea or innovation, an original song or story, or a new way of reaching out and helping others.”
In a brief biography released by the Governor General’s office, McEwen was praised for showing “vision and leadership within the business sector and in his community”.
He was called a “trailblazer in the sweetener industry” since he headed major refineries including Redpath Industries, and thanked for helping organizations such as Breakfast for Learning, a national nutrition charity.
McEwen was also a school trustee, a fundraiser for McGill University, a governor of the University of Guelph, a board member of the Grand River Conservation Foundation, a founder of scholarships for environmental studies and the improvement of conditions for First Nations, and, with his late wife Eleanor, a strong supporter of the Upper Credit Humane Society.
In 1993, he received an Honourary Doctorate from McGill. It was presented by University Principal David Johnston – now Canada’s Governor General.
The Erin Advocate published a profile on McEwen in January, after his appointment to the Order of Canada was first announced. That can be read at www.erininsight.blogspot.ca.
In a speech prepared for the ceremony, the Johnston quoted from Ken Dryden’s book, Becoming Canada:
“Being the best has to do with being so absorbed in what you’re doing that you have no time for attitude. You have no time for yourself separate from what you’re doing. What you are doing, you know, is more important than you are. And because you know this, no matter how good you are, no matter how good you become, you are never good enough.
“The great always fall short in their own minds; the great remain fiercely proud, yet humble. They know they are not as good as they seem to be.”