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Arthur Magill Award

Arthur Napier Magill Distinguished Service Award

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The CNIB Arthur Napier Magill Distinguished Service Award is our highest public honour, given to recognize our passionate and dedicated volunteers.

It is given in tribute to Arthur Magill, who dedicated his lengthy career to improving the lives of Canadians with sight loss.

The award is a bronze medallion and a framed citation in a format accessible to the recipient.

About Arthur Magill

Arthur Magill

Born in Cobourg, Ontario in 1910, Arthur Napier Magill became blind at age 17 as a result of separate home and work accidents. Although he never finished public school, he enrolled in the School for the Blind in Brantford, Ontario and went on to earn a master’s degree, with honours, in Economics and Business from Michigan State University.

In 1935, Magill was recruited by CNIB co-founder Col. E.A. Baker to join the organization as a field representative in Windsor, Ontario.

From 1953 – 1955, Magill was seconded by the United Nations from CNIB, where he led a technical assistance team of international specialists charged with developing an education rehabilitation centre in Cairo, Egypt. This centre served as a model for similar schools and as a training centre for teachers in the Middle East.

Magill went on to hold many positions within CNIB and in 1962 succeeded Col. Baker as national managing director (today comparable to CEO).

In 1962, he was elected president of the American Association of Workers for the Blind (now the Braille Authority of North America) and was later honoured with this organization’s highest award, the Ambrose M. Shotwell Memorial Award.

A passionate believer in the importance of vision loss prevention, Magill ensured that Canadians who were blind or partially sighted could receive services through any CNIB division across Canada. He was an advocate for higher education and better job opportunities for all Canadians, regardless of their level of vision loss.

Throughout his life Magill was presented with multiple awards from many distinguished organizations, including the Coronation Medal following Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation in 1953, and the Canada Centennial Medal in 1967, awarded to Canadians who had provided valuable service to Canada to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. The Arthur Napier Magill Distinguished Service Award was established as a tribute to Arthur Napier Magill and announced as part of his retirement from CNIB in 1976.

Who is eligible?

Current and former CNIB volunteers who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada are eligible for this award. It is not given posthumously.

The nomination period is currently open, with nomination forms being accepted until May 28, 2023.

Download the form

Nominations and selection process

Nominations can be made by staff or volunteers. Anyone recognized with a CNIB volunteer award will also be a nominee that year.

If the committee finds no nominees attain the standard required, the award will not be given. Nominees who are not successful will be considered again in the following year. 

Past recipients

  • 2022 - Robert Froom
  • 2021 - Mark Kelly, ON and Dan O’Brien, NS
  • 2020 – Jim Maher, NL
  • 2019 – Louise Gillis, NS
  • 2018 – Clint Castle, MB
  • 2017 – Dorothy Macnaughton, ON
  • 2016 – Patricia Suvak, NL
  • 2015 – Gerry Chevalier, AB
  • 2014 – Margaret Thomson, NL 
  • 2013 – Frances Cutler, ON 
  • 2012 – Steve Arshinoff and the CNIB Eye Van Team, ON
  • 2012 – Lily Walls (Special Lifetime Achievement), BC 
  • 2010 – Eugene Lechelt, BC 
  • 2009 –  Donald Farrell, NB 
  • 2008 – Gary Homer, AB
  • 2007 – Robert (Bob) Tate, NS 
  • 2006 – Glynn Spelliscy, BC 
  • 2005 – W.R. (Bob) Waugh, ON
  • 2004 – Frank Verge, NL 
  • 2003 – Graham Stoodley, ON
  • 2003 – Denis White, ON
  • 2002 –  Jean Paul Losier, NB 
  • 2001 – Ben Hochhausen, AB
  • 2000 – Jean Henri Picard, QC
  • 1999 – Walter & Phyllis Gretzky, ON
  • 1998 – Tim Sheeres, ON
  • 1997 – Donald D. Ross, MB
  • 1996 – Marion Davey, ON
  • 1995 – Owen Dolan, BC/YT
  • 1994 – Harold Hatheway, NB 
  • 1993 – Dayton Forman, National/Library 
  • 1992 – Darleen Bogart, National/Library 
  • 1991 – R.W. Smith, MB
  • 1990 – Boyd McFetridge, AB
  • 1989 – Peggy Thompson, NS 
  • 1988 – Alfred J. Elliot, BC 
  • 1987 – Georgette Cantin, QC
  • 1986 – Joseph Bembridge, SK
  • 1985 – Dudley Mendels, QC
  • 1984 – Mr. & Mrs. Elder, AB
  • 1983 – Jean Parker, ON
  • 1982 – Davis S. Lloyd, ON
  • 1981 – Ralph Misener, ON
  • 1980 – Muriel Howell, NL
  • 1979 – Alex Saunders, ON
  • 1978 – Sadie Bending, ON
  • 1977 – Johnstone A. Weber, AB 
  • 1976 – Marjorie McGuffin Wood, BC