The National Arts Centre and the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation announce details of television special on CBC/Radio-Canada
Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021

Star-studded lineup includes Lorne Cardinal, Elisapie, Pura Fé, David Henry Hwang, Hugh Jackman, Blake Lively, Karen Kain, Tina Keeper, Dan Levy, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Annie Murphy, Steven Page, Cobie Smulders, and many more


NOVEMBER 16, 2021 – OTTAWA, CANADA The National Arts Centre (NAC), in partnership with the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation (GGPAAF) and Vérité Films, is delighted to announce the star-studded lineup and new details about the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards one-hour television special that will air on CBC/Radio-Canada on CBC TV, ICI TÉLÉ and the free CBC Gem and ICI TOU.TV streaming services on Friday, November 26 at 7 p.m. | 7:30 NT. The program will also be available on demand for a limited time on both CBC Gem and ICI TOU.TV.

The bilingual show, shot in spectacular outdoor locations across Canada, celebrates the extraordinary achievements of the 2021 laureates – film, television and stage actor and activist Tantoo Cardinal; philanthropist Lynda Hamilton; composer Alexina Louie; choreographer, dancer, instructor, philosopher and writer Zab Maboungou; actor and writer Catherine O’Hara; actor, producer, screenwriter, entrepreneur and activist Ryan Reynolds; and singer–songwriter and guitarist Florent Vollant. The special is hosted by the highly acclaimed television and radio host Isabelle Racicot. The National Arts Centre Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, will offer musical accompaniment throughout. The NAC and the GGPAAF are particularly honoured that Her Excellency the Governor General Mary May Simon is a central figure in the television special, personally thanking each laureate for their contribution to the arts in Canada.



The many special guests paying tribute to the laureates are a remarkable group who represent the diversity, breadth and excellence of the performing arts in Canada. They include:

For Tantoo Cardinal: actor, producer and director Lorne Cardinal; actor, producer and politician Tina Keeper; and actor, playwright and NAC Indigenous Theatre Artistic Director Kevin Loring; with a performance by singer-songwriter Pura Fé;

For Lynda Hamilton: Dance icons Peggy Baker, Guillaume Côté, Karen Kain, Joysanne Sidimus and Veronica Tennant; with a performance by Tango Soul and Jonathan Goldman;

For Alexina Louie: Radio host, author and musician Tom Allen; composer David Henry Hwang; pianist Jon Kimura Parker; composer and conductor Alex Pauk; radio host, producer, writer and musician Paolo Pietropaolo; and writer and actor Dan Redican and film director Larry Weinstein; with a performance by Vania Chan and Justin Cho;

For Zab Maboungou: Vivine Scarlett of dance Immersion; Nathalie Maille of the Conseil des arts de Montréal; and Guy Mushagalusa Chigoho of Afromusée; with a performance by dancers from Zab Maboungou’s internationally acclaimed company Nyata Nyata;

For Catherine O’Hara: Actor and writer Dan Levy, actor and writer Eugene Levy, and actors Annie Murphy and Dave Thomas; and actors and singers Andrea Martin and Martin Short; with a performance by musician and actor Noah Reid;

For Ryan Reynolds: Actors Morena Baccarin, Michael J. Fox, Hugh Jackman and Blake Lively; film producer and director Shawn Levy; and Deadpool comic character creator Rob Liefeld and comic book writer Gail Simone; with a performance by Steven Page;

For Florent Vollant: Singer-songwriter Elisapie; writer, director, filmmaker and actor Yves Sioui Durand; author, storyteller, singer and director Michel Faubert; and singer-songwriter and poet Zachary Richard; with a performance by the band Maten.



Produced by the National Arts Centre in partnership with the GGPAA Foundation and Vérité Films, the special is directed by Joel Ivany, co-creator of the internationally acclaimed film Messiah/Complex, and led by award-winning executive producer Virginia Thompson. To celebrate not only the laureates but also the beauty of Canada, the special was filmed largely outdoors in spectacular locations across the country, including Vancouver, Northern Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Caledon, Ontario, Toronto, the Muskoka Lakes, Montreal and Mani-Utenam, Quebec. Tributes from some guest artists were sent from other international locations, including New York and Los Angeles.



“Praise to the arts, that crazy glue that we sometimes need to sort ourselves out, and to breathe.”
—Tantoo Cardinal

“To be celebrated in a country that I love with this wonderful award is such a privilege. I thank you for awarding me this Governor General’s Performing Arts Award. It truly means a lot to me.”
—Alexina Louie

“Thank you to all the very kind people who decided to give me this lovely award and honour, and to my very kind friends who didn’t talk anyone out of it. If I have managed to contribute anything to the entertainment and culture of Canada, it’s because I was born and raised in this beautiful country to an Irish-Catholic Canadian family, and I was given the great gift of getting to work with the best Canadian co‑workers.”
—Catherine O’Hara



“The National Arts Centre is extremely proud to be producing the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards television special, in collaboration with the Governor General’s Performing Arts Foundation and Vérité Films,” said Christopher Deacon, President and CEO of the National Arts Centre. “It’s an incredibly inspiring celebration of some of our greatest artists, and of the beauty and diversity of Canada. We are so grateful to CBC/Radio-Canada for broadcasting the Awards to Canadians across the country.”

“The Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards are Canada’s highest honour in the performing arts,” said Doug Knight, Chair and CEO, and Anik Bissonnette, Co-Chair of the GGPAA. “We thank all of our partners and collaborators for making this special possible, and we invite all Canadians to watch the special, engage on social media, and nominate their favourite artists and arts volunteers for the Awards in the years to come.”



The NAC and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation encourage Canadians to join in the excitement by engaging online with the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards on the night of the special – Friday, November 26 at 7 p.m. | 7:30 NT on CBC Television, ICI TÉLÉ and the free CBC Gem and ICI TOU.TV streaming services.

Twitter and Facebook

GGPAA: @GovGPAA | @PrixGGAS | | #GGAwards




The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a partner of the GGPAA. Every year, the NFB creates incomparable short films that capture the essence of the laureates. This year’s short films will be released to the public on November 26 and will be on available on CBC Gem and ICI TOU.TV., on social media, and online at, which also has more than 90 short films of past GGPAA laureates.

The Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards includes a Mentorship Program, generously supported by The Keg Spirit Foundation. It provides a way for past GGPAA recipients to inspire the next generation by offering guidance to talented, mid-career Canadian artists. This year’s participants are playwright Suzanne Lebeau (mentor) and theatre artist Marie-Eve Huot (Protégée).



We wish to thank the sponsors and donors who make the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards possible, including Boston Pizza International Inc., La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso, The Keg Spirit Foundation, Netflix, Amazon, Christine Armstrong & Irfhan Rawji, The Gail Asper Family Foundation, The Printing House, the Martha Lou Henley Charitable Foundation, and the Royal Canadian Mint.

The Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation recognizes Broadcast Partner CBC/RadioCanada, whose leading role in supporting Canadian culture will include celebrating the richness and diversity of GGPAA laureates’ achievements and sharing their stories with Canadians from coast to coast to coast. This year the GGPAA celebration will be broadcast on CBC/Radio-Canada on CBC TV, ICI TÉLÉ and the free CBC Gem and ICI TOU.TV streaming services on Friday, November 26 at 7 p.m. | 7:30 NT. The program will also be available on demand for a limited time on both CBC Gem and ICI TOU.TV.

These awards would not be possible without the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts. Earnscliffe Strategy Group is proud to serve as official communications partner for a fourth consecutive year.



The Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards are Canada’s highest honour in the performing arts. Created in 1992 under the distinguished patronage of the late Right Honourable Ramon John Hnatyshyn, then-Governor General of Canada, and his wife Gerda, these prestigious awards are presented annually to Canadians whose accomplishments have inspired and enriched the cultural life of our country. Nominations for the Lifetime Artistic Achievement Awards and the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for voluntarism are submitted by members of the public to recognize artists who have made a lifetime commitment and contribution to the performing arts in Canada.


The National Arts Centre is Canada’s bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for the performing arts. As part of its strategic plan, the NAC’s vision is to lead and support the renewal of the performing arts sector. The NAC presents, creates, produces, and co-produces performing arts programming in various streams—the NAC Orchestra, Dance, English Theatre in collaboration with Black Theatre Workshop, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, and Popular Music and Variety—and nurtures the next generation of audiences and artists from across Canada. The NAC is located in the National Capital Region on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe.


Vérité Films is an award-winning boutique production company committed to stories from original and authentic voices. Led by Virginia Thompson, Vérité has created and/or produced over 300 episodes of award-winning television in the areas of comedy, drama, children and youth, documentary, animation and performing arts. Vérité is best known for developing and producing Canada's highest-rated comedy franchise of all time, Corner Gas, with Brent Butt and David Storey of 335 Productions. The franchise includes the smash hit series Corner Gas Animated, Corner Gas: The Sitcom and Corner Gas: The Movie. Virginia Thompson has executive produced the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala since 2015.

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Shane O’Neill
Earnscliffe Strategy Group


Mary Gordon
Senior Advisor, Corporate Communications
National Arts Centre