Oakville activist, citizenship judge appointed to Order of Canada

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Published June 27, 2024 at 5:26 pm

Ontario, Oakville, Order of Canada, Governor of Canada, McGill University,
Oakville's Pamela Appelt was named to the Order of Canada on Thursday (June 27). TMU PHOTO

Oakville’s Pamela Appelt was named to the Order of Canada on Thursday (June 27).

The Biochemist, citizenship judge, artist, and activist, who was appointed as an officer, is one of 83 people honoured by Governor General Mary Simon.

An “esteemed community leader, Appelt was the first Black Canadian woman appointed to the Court of Canadian Citizenship.

“She is dedicated to uplifting Black communities, particularly through her contributions to education initiatives and her mentorship of young leaders,” the release by the Governor of Canada said of Appelt. “For decades she has supported initiatives and organizations focused on arts and culture, and children and families in the Greater Toronto Area and the Jamaican diaspora.”

Appelt was one of 16 officers honoured.

“The Order of Canada recognizes individuals who have made positive and lasting impacts on communities here in Canada or who have brought honour to our country abroad,” said Gov-Gen Simon. “Congratulations to the new appointees and thank you to the nominators who cast a spotlight on their achievement, purpose and exceptional talent.’

Born in Preston, St. Mary Parish, Jamaica in 1941, Appelt arrived in Canada in 1965.

Her career path took her to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Prince Edward Island where she worked as a biochemist. She was also a Researcher in Medical Biochemistry at McGill University in Montreal.

In 1987, Appelt became a Citizenship Court Judge.

Her community service, which has continued over five decades, began when became a social convenor for the then all white Christian Women’s Club.

For over 16 years now she has been an honourary patron of the Viola Desmond Awards, which celebrate outstanding Black women.

A longtime member of the Community Foundation of Oakville, she was the former Chair and Director of Harbourfront Corporation and in 2012 Appelt received an honourary doctorate from McMaster University in Hamilton.

As if her career hasn’t been impressive enough, Appelt also made her mark as an accomplished artist.

Her work has been displayed at Ottawa’s City Hall, in Miami at the House of Fine Art, and in New York at the American Museum of Natural History and the Beford Stuyvesant Restoration Center.

She has also presented her art to former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.

Since it’s creation in 1967, over 7,600 people from all parts of society have been in inducted into the Order of Canada.

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