Several prominent residents of Peel and wider GTA were honoured at Queen’s Park recently with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal.
“I truly believe that with the right people around you – you can go far,” said prominent businessman Harpreet Sethi. “In fact there is a saying that goes: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together! I have certainly found that going together is the better route.”
Harinder Takhar, MPP for Mississauga-Erindale and Minister of Government Services, along with Linda Jeffrey, MPP for Brampton-Springdale and Minister of Natural Resources, were among those to honour the awardees, while citing their exceptional contributions to the province and country.
Overall, some 60,000 Diamond Jubilee medals are being handed out across Canada to outstanding community leaders.
The medal awardees all come from different walks of life and different backgrounds.
“Some recipients in the business sector have strengthened the ties between India and Canada, and some have entrepreneurial skills that have not gone unnoticed,” said a release issued by Takhar’s office. “Ontario’s culture has been shaped by some recipients who have changed the face of Punjabi entertainment and media. And some have made our world a more beautiful place through creative art.”
Other recipients have made a difference in social justice by lending a helping hand in the legal field for people in need, while some have come to the rescue of vulnerable children and families through poverty reduction work.
“These recipients excel in different fields — but the common thread they have is their drive to make a difference,” the statement said. “Their hard work, volunteering and dedication has helped shape our society and built a stronger community.”
The recent award recipients include:
• Vasu Chanchlani: is an entrepreneur and philanthropist, and a well respected member of the Mississauga community who has always gone out of his way to support various projects with his generous donations such as hospitals, Unicef, community organizations, temples, Canadian Fallen Soldiers Foundation and many more. Many of the projects he has supported have had a significant transformational impact.
Among other initiatives, Chanchlani has co-founded Canada India Foundation to deepen ties between Canada and India. He has created an endowment fund of $1 million for the CIF as well as the Chanchlani Global Indian Award that awards $50,000 every year to the deserving recipient.
Chanchlani has also donated $1 million towards a $10 million fund for Chanchlani Research Centre, McMaster University, in support of understanding the role of genetic and environmental causes of heart disease and diabetes among South Asians.
Currently, Chanchlani is actively involved, and has invested in, about 20 businesses, including two ventures in India.
• Kuldip Deepak: is a prominent member of the television and radio broadcasting community. He is the host of the long-serving Punjabi radio program, Punjab Di Goonj, which has been on air in Canada since 1978.
Deepak’s program has contributed to Canadian business and our economy while helping many young Indian businesses thrive and grow in Canada.
Deepak is also one of the founding members of the International Punjabi Chamber of Commerce.
• Harminder Dhillon: is a prominent lawyer member of the GTA’s South Asian community. He obtained his law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, and also holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo.
Dhillon readily provides, free of charge, legal information to those in need. Over the past 25 years he has been very active in various community organizations.
Dhillon is the founding editor of the Punjabi weekly Punj Pani, as well as a founding member (since 1992) of Punjabi Writers’ Forum Brampton.
• Harleen Grewal: is a successful lawyer since 2000. She is also a community leader and a philanthropist, and has fundraised for numerous organizations.
Grewal is the recipient of numerous awards recognizing her contributions to the community. She has personally funded non-governmental organizations in India run by Kiran Bedi and Salman Khan’s Being Human Foundation. She has also funded construction work being carried out in gurdwaras in India.
• Harpreet Sethi: is an active member of the community and continuously finds ways to give back. One notable contribution was a sizeable monetary donation to the William Osler Hospital Centre, one of Canada’s largest hospitals, drawing praise and distinction from all levels of government.
Sethi’s name is synonymous with grand events in hospitality and entertainment. As the president of Black Diamond Entertainment, Sethi promotes, organizes, hosts and sponsors numerous cultural and community events, supporting and promoting local and global talent — while enriching and promoting diversity.
Not only is Sethi a successful businessman, but he was also recently awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year award by the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce.
• Dr Colin Saldanha: is a family physician who has been extensively involved in social justice, poverty reduction, policing, immigration and race relations, mentorship, public policy and health awareness issues.
Dr Saldanha, currently a Board member of The Credit Valley Hospital Foundation, is a passionate physician who dedicates his time for the benefit of his community.
In recognition of his long-standing involvement in his local community, he has received the Canada 125 Medal from the Governor General of Canada, the Sam McCallion Community Award from the Mississauga Board of Trade, and The Paul Harris Fellow from Rotary International. He has also been the Mississauga Citizen of the Year 2010.
• Vijay Kanwar: is co-founder of KMH Cardiology and Diagnostic Centres.
Most significant among his numerous contributions to the community is his gift, along with his wife Neena, of $5 million to The Credit Valley Hospital Foundation.
Kanwar has been recognized for his accomplishments on numerous occasions, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Health Sciences and the New Pioneer Award in 2009.
• Renuka Jeyanayagam: is a prominent community member.
Among other hats she wears, Jeyanayagam serves with Hope 4 Child Relief Mission which, among other parts of the world, has done yeoman’s work in Sri Lanka.
• Jim Murray: is a local businessman and civic community leader.
He has devoted countless volunteer hours in the community helping numerous organizations.
• George Hunter: is one of Canada’s most respected photographers of the 20th century.
Hunter, now 91, has photographed Canada for more than 70 years and created some of the images that define this country. His works appears on the $5, $10 and $50 Canadian bills and two stamps as well as in many textbooks and magazines.
• Michelle DiEmanuele: is president and CEO of The Credit Valley Hospital and Trillium Health Centre.
Previously, DiEmanuele served the Government of Ontario as a deputy minister and associate secretary of cabinet, chair of the Public Service Commission and other public institutions.
She is in the Hall of Fame of Canada’s Top 100 most Powerful Women and earned Top 40 Under 40 recognition.
• Dr Barbara Clive: is an expert in the Internal Medicine and Geriatrics department at The Credit Valley Hospital and Trillium Health Centre.
Dr Clive has done extensive work with the community, including hospitals, health service providers and consumers to develop a short- and long-term strategy for Specialized Geriatric Services in the Mississauga-Halton LHIN.
Addressing all the awardees, Takhar added: “These outstanding citizens’ spirit of giving back to the community is fittingly recognized with this Diamond Jubilee medal, and we are privileged to have them in our community.”