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Marc Garneau

Marc Garneau, CC, astronaut, military officer, engineer, politician (born 23 February 1949 in Québec City, QC).

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John Cabot

John Cabot (a.k.a. Giovanni Caboto), merchant, explorer (born before 1450 in Italy, died at an unknown place and date). In 1496, King Henry VII of England granted Cabot the right to sail in search of a westward trade route to Asia and lands unclaimed by Christian monarchs. Cabot mounted three voyages, the second of which, in 1497, was the most successful. During this journey Cabot coasted the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador, possibly sighted the Beothuk or Innu people of the region, and famously noted that the waters teemed with cod. At the time, the land Cabot saw was thought to be the eastern shore of Asia, the fabled island of Brasil, or the equally fabled Isle of Seven Cities. Cabot and his crew were the second group of Europeans to reach what would become Canada, following Norse explorers around 1000 CE. Despite not yielding the trade route Cabot hoped for, the 1497 voyage provided England with a claim to North America and knowledge of an enormous new fishery.

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Sir Alexander Mackenzie (Explorer)

Sir Alexander Mackenzie, fur trader, explorer (born around 1764 near Stornoway, Scotland; died 12 March 1820 near Dunkeld, Scotland). Mackenzie was one of Canada’s greatest explorers. In two epic journeys for the North West Company in 1789 and 1793, he crossed the dense northern wilderness to reach the Arctic and Pacific Oceans. The first European to cross North America north of Mexico, he inspired later adventurers and traders, such as the famous Lewis and Clark expedition sponsored by the American military (1804–6). The Mackenzie River, named in his honour, symbolizes Mackenzie’s important place as a pioneer and fur trader in Canadian history.

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Chris Hadfield

Chris Austin Hadfield, OC, OOnt, astronaut, military test pilot (born 29 August 1959 in Sarnia, ON). After a distinguished career as a test pilot, Hadfield became an astronaut in 1992. Over the course of his career, he achieved a series of Canadian firsts: he was the first Canadian to be a space mission specialist, to operate the Canadarm in orbit, to do a spacewalk and to command the International Space Station. He was also the first to record a music video in space — a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” — adding to his celebrity status. Hadfield retired from the Canadian Astronaut Corps in July 2013. In 2014, he began teaching in the University of Waterloo’s aviation program.