Three people with strong Upper Canada College connections — Michael MacMillan ’74, Michael Meighen and Dr. Catherine Zahn — were recognized as members of the Order of Canada on Dec. 26.
MacMillan graduated from UCC in 1974 and co-founded Atlantis Films just four years later. The film and television production house won a 1984 Academy Award for the short film Boys and Girls. The company’s move into broadcasting was accelerated with the 1998 purchase of Alliance Communications and the creation of Alliance Atlantis. It operated 13 Canadian TV networks and was producing and distributing movies and TV shows when MacMillan’s tenure as executive chairman and chief executive officer ended when he sold Alliance Atlantis to Canwest Communications and an affiliate of Goldman Sachs in 2007.
MacMillan served as UCC chairman from 2007 to 2010 and is a member of the school’s prestigious Russell Square Society. He got back to his media and broadcasting roots by launching Blue Ant Media in 2011. MacMillan also co-founded Samara, a non-partisan charitable organization formed out of a belief in the importance of public service and leadership that works to improve political participation in Canada, in 2009. He’s the co-author of the 2014 book Tragedy in the Commons: Former Members of Parliament Speak Out About Canada’s Failing Democracy.
MacMillan received his membership in the Order of Canada “for his tireless promotion of our cinematic talent and for his commitment to enhancing civic engagement in Canada.”
Meighen is a member of the Russell Square Society and father of Old Boys Hugh Meighen ’01 and Max Meighen ’07. His wife Kelly is a former UCC vice-chair.
Meighen is the grandson of former Canadian prime minister Arthur Meighen and he carved out a political career of his own by serving as a senator from 1990 to 2012. He was also a successful lawyer and has gained respect for his philanthropic endeavours. He was appointed chancellor of McGill University last year.
Meighen was recognized by the Order of Canada “for his contributions to public life as a lawyer, politician and philanthropist.”
Zahn is the mother of Old Boys Michael Zahn ’01 and William Zahn ’09. She became a UCC governor last year.
Zahn is president and CEO of Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). She was previously executive vice-president of clinical programs and practice at the University Health Network, where she held various senior leadership roles for 12 years. She’s a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and a professor at the University of Toronto’s faculty of medicine.
Zahn was honoured by the Order of Canada “for her contributions as a neurologist, health care administrator and advocate on behalf of those living with mental health and addiction issues.”
“I feel proud to have been named to the Order of Canada and, at the same time, humbled by the amazing company,” said Zahn.
“My work in the mental health sector is a major reason for the honour. I’ve had the incredible opportunity to use my office as president and CEO of CAMH as a platform to champion the cause of people with mental illness. It’s a sacred trust that I take seriously and I see this award as a validation of the voices of people served at CAMH, voices that deserve to be heard.”