Two NRIs, Celine Dion given Canada’s top award

December 31st, 2008 - 12:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Dec 31 (IANS) Pop diva Celine Dion and two people of Indian origin are among 60 prominent Canadians who have been given the country’s highest civilian award, the Order of Canada.Toronto-based Bharatanatyam artist Lata Pada and Edmonton-based cardiac surgeon Arvind Koshal are in the list of honour winners released by Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean in Ottawa Tuesday.

The awards will be conferred at a formal ceremony later.

Naming Pada for the top award, an official release said she has been given this honour “for her contributions to the development of South Asian dance as a choreographer, teacher, dancer and artistic director, as well as for her commitment and support of the Indian community in Canada”.

Pada runs the famous Sampradya Bharatnatyam Dance Academy in Toronto suburb of Mississauga.

Koshal has been given the highest civilian honour “for his contributions to the field of cardiac surgery in Canada, notably in performing several innovative techniques, and for his leadership in developing one of the leading cardiac care programmes in the country”.

Speaking to IANS from Chennai, where she is currently performing with her team, Pada said: “I am thrilled for myself and for the South Asian community whose art work has been recognised in Canada by this award.”

Pada, who lost her husband and two daughters in the 1985 Air India Kanishka bombing, said: “The award couldn’t come at a better time when we have established ourselves as exponents of Indian classical dance in Canada. The news has come when we are in Chennai to give 11 performances and we are excited because our work has been appreciated.”

Started in 1967 to mark the 100th anniversary celebrations of formation of the country, the Order of Canada recognises outstanding people for their achievements in various fields, dedication to the community and service to the country.

The award has three levels in this descending order - Companion of the Order of Canada, Officer of the Order of Canada, and Member of the Order of Canada.

A person already made the Member of the Order of Canada can be promoted to the higher level within the award.

In fact, pop diva Celine Dion has been elevated to Companion of the Order of Canada this year “for having won over audiences worldwide with her extraordinary talent as a pop singer, and for her commitment to numerous humanitarian causes at the national and international levels”.

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