On October 30, 2015, the 22nd annual Canadian Disability Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto. Three people were inducted this year: para-athlete Lauren Barwick, lawyer Bernard Gluckstein and comedian Rick Mercer.
Lauren Barwick was inducted in the Builder category. The equestrian from British Columbia is also one of Canada’s most decorated athletes. This includes the gold and silver won at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games. Growing up with a brother and sister born with disabilities, Barwick became paraplegic as a result of a ranch accident in 2000. She recently received Canada’s only medals in Para-Dressage, a silver and bronze, at the 2014 AllTech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Bernard ‘Bernie’ Gluckstein and Rick Mercer were inducted in the Achiever category. Gluckstein is a personal injury lawyer based in Toronto. His firm, Gluckstein Lawyers, has helped several clients with disabilities, especially those with Acquired Brain Injuries (ABIs). Gluckstein is a founding director of the Ontario Brain Injury Association. He is also an accredited photographer for the Paralympics.
During his acceptance speech, Gluckstein spoke fondly of a client who needed encouragement to keep living after she became paralyzed from the waist down at the age of 19. They have remained friends ever since. That client was the event’s emcee, Joanne Smith. (Smith, a media personality and licensed nutritionist, is a 2007 CHOF inductee.)
Comedian and satirist Rick Mercer was recognized for presenting people with disabilities in a positive light on his weekly CBC TV series, the Rick Mercer Report. On the show, he has trained with Paralympians, and also with those working out at the Abilities Centre and Variety Village. Mercer is also a recipient of the Order of Canada. His weekly TV series is one of the most-watched homegrown shows in Canada. Mercer believes, after having befriended several people with disabilities, that making Canada a barrier-free country is “the only way.”
People with disabilities, or people who are allies of the disability community, have been honoured by the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons (CFPDP) since 1993. Some of its past inductees include Rick Hansen (1993), Jeff Adams (1997), David Onley (1997), David Lepofsky (2004), Chantal Petitclerc (2005), Jeff Healey (2009), Tracey Ferguson (2012) and Elisabeth Walker-Young (2014).