125 Canadians have officially been named to the Order of Canada. The prestigious award, which has existed since 1967, was initially created to celebrate the nation's best and brightest from across all industries. Much like the Order of the British Empire, which grants knighthood to exceptional and accomplished people, the Order of Canada is one of the country's highest civilian honours and is reserved for a select few every year. In 2018, the honours will go to a number of familiar faces including actor, William Shatner, director Denis Villeneuve, and Fred Sasakamoose among others.
Shatner is of course best known for his work as Captain James T. Kirk on the original and now legendary Star Trek show. While his turn on TV only lasted three seasons, his iconic performance and the franchise's numerous spin-off films extended Kirk's screen time to almost three decades. In addition to the captain's chair, Shatner has kept busy thanks to other lead roles in T.J. Hooker, The Practice, and Boston Legal, for which he won two Emmy Awards.
As previously mentioned, both Denis Villeneuve and Fred Sasakamoose are two other prominent and welcome additions to the Order this year. Villeneuve, while respected and established in Canada, is a relative newcomer to Hollywood. Despite his small sample size, the Quebec-born director has already helmed some of the biggest and most well-received films of the last few years, including 2013's Prisoners, the Oscar-nominated sci-fi, Arrival, and most recently, Blade Runner 2049.
NHL legend, Sasakamoose will be taking home his medal after a storied career as an athletic boundary breaker. The 84-year-old played at hockey's highest level in the NHL for six seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks. His incredible talent and skill led him away from a residential school in Saskatchewan to rinks in the WHL, where he earned an MVP award in 1953. A year later, Sasakamoose snagged a call up from Chicago and became the league's first indigenous participant. His trailblazing gave way for future indigenous players like Jonathan Cheechoo, Jordin Tootoo, and star Canadiens goaltender, Carey Price.
According to an official media release, all 125 recipients will be sworn in at a later date. You can read the full list of appointees here via the Governor General's official website.