Egerton Ryerson Award

Egerton Ryerson believed that education should be free for all (a revolutionary thought at the time) and that we should educate the children of "the blacksmith and magistrate alike".

Honouring The Honourable Ken Dryden, P.C., O.C.

On the importance of education generally we may remark it is as necessary as the light – it should be as common as water and as free as air.”   Egerton Ryerson, 1846

The Egerton Ryerson Award is presented annually to a person or persons who have been both active and public in their advocacy for strong public education. The award recognizes the deep value of learning – from the early years until graduation from high school, and those who have made the connection between strong public education, social cohesion, and strong and engaged societies.

ken dryden webOn October 28, we celebrated the work of The Honourable Ken Dryden, the ideal recipient of the 7th Annual Egerton Ryerson Award. Over the last decade he has demonstrated how deeply he cares about Canada’s young people, public education and citizen engagement. He has been an outspoken champion of early childhood education; he has written extensively about education, kids and sports, and he inaugurated the Ken Dryden Scholarships for Youth in Care.

This year’s nominating committee included Zanana Akande, Avie Bennett, Harold Brathwaite, David Crombie, Margot Forsyth, Roberta Jamieson, the Right Honourable Paul Martin, the Honourable Margaret McCain, Charles Pascal, and Arlene Perly-Rae.

Ken’s work was celebrated at an evening hosted by Albert Schultz of the Soulpepper Theatre Company, with presentations by Alan Convery, the Senior Community Relations Manager at TD Bank Group; Zanana Akande, former Ontario cabinet minister; Terry Chaffe, former principal at Thomas L. Kennedy Secondary School in Mississauga; Martha Friendly, Executive Director of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit at Childcare Canada; Kirk Qayoom, a recipient of the Ken Dryden Scholarship; and Rick Salutin, novelist, playwright, critic and Toronto Star columnist.

Many thanks to this year’s sponsors: TD Bank, Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc., The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, OSSTF, CUPE 4400, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, OECTA, OPC, Power Corporation of Canada, and Charles S. Coffey.


The 2012 Egerton Ryerson Award Recipient

On November 26, 2012, People for Education celebrated the work of Charles S. Coffey. The work he has continued to do since retiring from the Royal Bank—on behalf of Aboriginal children and youth, early childhood programs, and mentorships for girls and women, as well as his strong voice on diversity—made Mr. Coffey the ideal recipient of the 6th Annual Egerton Ryerson Award. He is an extraordinary advocate for young people and a lifelong believer in public education. He truly understands the impact that strong, accessible, adequately resourced schools can have on young people and their communities.

This year’s nominating committee included Zanana Akande, Avie Bennett, Harold Brathwaite, David Crombie, Margot Forsyth, Roberta Jamieson, the Right Honourable Paul Martin, the Honourable Margaret McCain, Charles Pascal, and Arlene Perly-Rae.

His work was celebrated at an evening hosted by Suhana Meharchand of CBC News, with presentations from Gordon Nixon, the President and CEO of RBC; The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCainDavid Northcott, Executive Director of Winnipeg Harvest food bank; and  Craig Kielburger, of Free the Children and Me to We. Musical tributes were performed by the Métis Fiddler Quartet and Belinda Brady.

Many thanks to this year’s sponsors: ETFO, Maple Leaf Foods, OPC, OSSTF, TD Bank Financial Group, The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, and Charles S. Coffey.


The 2011 Egerton Ryerson Award Recipients

On November 28th, People for Education celebrated the work of two great advocates for education, Ms. Roberta Jamieson and The Right Honourable Paul Martin.

Roberta Jamieson and Paul Martin

Roberta Jamieson is the president and CEO of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation , which is dedicated to realizing the potential of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit youth through scholarship assistance and other support.

The Right Honourable Paul Martin leads the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative , which is focused on reducing the Aboriginal youth dropout rate and increasing the number of Aboriginal students attending post-secondary institutions.

This year’s nominating committee included: Zanana Akande, Avie Bennett, Harold Brathwaite, Charles Coffey, David Crombie, Margot Forsyth, The Honourable Margaret McCain, Charles Pascal, and Arlene Perly-Rae.

Their work was celebrated at an evening that included presentations from Shawn Atleo – Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Phil Fontaine – former chief, Senator Gerry St. Germain , the Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain , Colton Quinn Clause – a Brock student who received support through the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative, and the Honourable Laurel Broten – Minister of Education.

The 2010 Egerton Ryerson Award Recipient

The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain was 2010′s recipient of the Egerton Ryerson Award for Dedication to Public Education!

Mrs. McCain is a champion for children – from the very young to school age and beyond. Her interest in equity for children, in ensuring that all children have the best start possible, and in keeping children and young people’s issues in the public eye, makes her the perfect fourth recipient of the Egerton Ryerson Award.

A reception to honour Ms. McCain was held on November 23rd, 6pm – 8pm, at the National Headquarters of the Royal Bank of Canada.

The nominating committee – Zanana Akande, Avie Bennett, Harold Brathwaite, Charels Coffey, Martin Connell, David Crombie, Margot Forsyth, Charles Pascal and Arlene Perly-Rae.


The 2009 Egerton Ryerson Award Recipient

2009′s honouree was The Honourable William G. Davis, P.C., C.C., Q.C. for his dedication to public education. During his tenure as Education Minister (1962-71), Mr. Davis oversaw profound changes to the public education system in Ontario. Through his multi-faceted career, William Davis has embodied the spirit of Ryerson. He has been a tireless and non-partisan spokesperson for public education, both during his political tenure and since then – advocating for strong publicly-funded schools with the capacity to provide all students with a broadly-based education.

Thank you to Home Trust, the official naming sponsor for the 2009 Egerton Ryerson Award!

>> Click here to watch a 3 minute video of the evening!


The 2008 Egerton Ryerson Award Recipient

In 2008, our honouree was Dr. Charles Pascal. We were very proud to honour his life-long commitment to education, to children and to equity.

He has run Ontario colleges; acted as Deputy Minister in different ministries in three different governments; and been the chair of the provinces Education Quality and Accountability Office. He is the Premier’s Advisor on Early Learning, and the CEO of the Atkinson Foundation.

>> Read the article in the Toronto Star. “Honoured with Ryerson award, Charles Pascal says his most important role isn’t on his resumé.” 

A ceremony took place on February 10th at Massy College hosted by Steve Paikin from TVO.

Dr. Pascal was honoured by:

  • Zanana Akande, former MPP and school principal
  • Harold Brathwaite, CEO, Retired Teachers of Ontario, former director , Peel DSB
  • Carol Goar, columnist, Atkinson Board Member
  • The Right Honourable Margaret McCain
  • Juno-nominee, Blaise Pascal
  • Children’s advocate and performer, Raffi
  • Former Minister of Finance, Greg Sorbara
  • Minister of Education, Kathleen Wynne


The 2007 Egerton Ryerson Award Recipient

Harold Brathwaite was the first recipient of the Annual Egerton Ryerson Award for Dedication to Public Education.

The award honoured Harold’s commitment to public education and his dedication to the ideal that all students should have access to the education they need. Over the years he has been an outstanding spokesperson for public education, he has developed many fine programs for students at risk and participated in the development of public education policy at all levels. He has fought tirelessly for equity in the public education system and for funding sufficient to provide the rich, broadly-based education that every Ontario student deserves.