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Surrey taekwondo master and former B.C. lieutenant-governor named officers of the Order of Canada

Order of Canada
Chang Keun (C.K.) Choi has promoted taekwondo for most of his life. B.C. Sports Hall of Fame photo.

When the Governor General of Canada announced the latest round of Order of Canada appointees, two British Columbians were among 16 named to the second-highest tier.

One was Steven Point, a former lieutenant-governor of B.C. and current chancellor of UBC. Point, a former director of the First Nations Legal Studies program at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, is a member of the Skowkale First Nation. He’s also been a Provincial Court judge and chief commissioner of the B.C. Treaty Commission.

Point was named an officer of the Order of Canada. The other new officer of the Order is Surrey taekwondo pioneer Chang Keun (C.K.) Choi. This was for “his dedication to the development and promotion of taekwondo in Canada and around the world”. (He’s not the same C.K. Choi who endowed the C.K. Choi Building, which houses the Institute of Asian Research).

The taekwondo master reached the pinnacle of the world’s most popular martial art in the early 1960s in South Korea. Born in Andong in North Gyeongsang province, Choi began learning taekwondo from Korean soldiers, according to his biography on the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame website.

“In 1962, he won the sparring and patterns competitions at the first Korean taekwondo championship—the first world championship ever held in the sport,” writes Jason Beck on the website. “A year later, he won the first Korean Tae Soo Do full contact heavyweight championship in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th degree black belt division, as well as the Korean representative championship.

“Taekwondo’s founder General Choi Hong Hi took note and named Choi one of the original 12 masters with the express purpose to promote the sport around the world.”

In 1969, Choi moved to Vancouver, where he opened a taekwondo school.

Three who were promoted to companions of the Order of Canada—Serge Joyal, J. Wilton Littlechild, and Ronald Daniel Stewart—are from Quebec, Alberta, and Ontario, respectively.

Zainub Verjee
For the past four decades, Zainub Verjee has been a thought leader and a champion of the arts in Canada.

Eight B.C. residents become members of the Order

The third tier is becoming a “member” of the Order of Canada. Eight B.C. residents were given this honour in the recent announcement.

  • Antonio Ariganello: For advancing national practices and standards in the accounting and human resources professions as a leading financial executive.
  • Morris Barer: For his leadership and groundbreaking research in health services policy.
  • Gen. Raymond Roland Henault: For his long-time commitment—both in and out of uniform—to Canada’s defence and peacekeeping operations and policies.
  • Carol Anne Lee: For her transformational leadership and business acumen, and for her commitment to the revitalization of Vancouver’s Chinatown.
  • Deborah McColl Money: For her contributions to women’s health, notably in the field of reproductive infectious diseases, as a researcher, clinician, teacher and mentor.
  • Linda M. Perry: For her visionary leadership at Vela Canada, and for her transformational advocacy on behalf of people living with disabilities.
  • André Pierre Picard: For his dedication to advancing public health understanding and practices in Canada as a leading health journalist and bestselling author.
  • Zainub Verjee: For advancing representation and equitable policy legislation within Canada’s arts and culture sectors as a leading artist, administrator and critic.

Verjee, who is also identified as being from Mississauga, has held senior positions supporting arts and culture at the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts. She’s also served as executive director of Galeries Ontario/Ontario Galleries and director of the Western Front in Vancouver.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.