M. Joan Chalmers (1928-2016)

1993 Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts

Since she was a young girl and a volunteer scene-painter for a Dora Mavor Moore production, Joan Chalmers has been giving herself and her resources to the arts in Canada. There is no field in the performing arts she has not supported. Her single-minded and intelligent fidelity to the principles laid down by her mother and father has seen her assistance flow readily to literally hundreds of projects ranging from the Canadian Museum of Civilization to Toronto's Cabbagetown Community Arts Centre.

Her financial contributions have coined the term "first money", the initial cash that has given others the courage to follow her in support of new and innovative adventures.

Like her parents before her, she's also opened herself, her home and her warm hospitality to artists. She says "people don't know what satisfaction it is to be an arts worker, helping to make things happen." It is this personal involvement combined with her generosity, her own self-effacing modesty and gift of friendship which has made her brand of voluntarism so special.

Dozens of awards including the Order of Canada and the Canadian Conference of the Arts' Diplôme d'honneur mark her long career of constant support.