Hon. Patricia Bovey: Honourable senators, in all our communities, our not-for-profits, arts organizations and artists benefit immeasurably from the generosity of time, thought and dollars from individual citizens. I thank them all.
Recently on January 14, Winnipeg sadly lost a truly wonderful, quiet, committed, behind-the-scenes, generous anonymous donor — Susan Scott. Words fail in attempting to thank her for all her many impacts as no one knows them all. Among the myriad parts of the community for which she was an angel after her retirement from her successful business career, she was particularly dedicated to advancing opportunities for First Nations youth and artists.
I met with a number of artists she assisted, and I can assure you they were so appreciative of her moral and financial support and her genuine interest in their work. She attended many western Canadian art courses I presented over the years and was always engaged and interested in the images, messages and the substance of the work, especially when I showed that of Indigenous artists.
She funded women’s shelters; supported fledging Indigenous business ventures; gave money for families in need to attend our Winnipeg Art Gallery family days; sponsored community intergenerational creative programs; assisted me in ensuring that Indigenous art and Indigenous children’s books were in the Aboriginal Family Room at St. Boniface Hospital, and much more.
Colleagues, time only lets me mention a very few of the organizations she supported, including establishing bursary funds for Indigenous students at both of Winnipeg’s major universities, funding summer camps for immigrant children, women’s and art’s mentoring groups, LEAF, music, galleries and museums. I can honestly say that without her quiet dedication, so many aspects of her home city would be considerably poorer.
Awarding her the Senate 150th Anniversary Medal was one of the easiest decisions I have ever made. Susan was also a member of the Rotary Club of Winnipeg and they too honoured her with the Paul Harris Fellow Award.
Susan became a dear friend of mine. It was always a treat to talk about art, community, needs, visions and more with her. I loved bumping into her on evening walks and seeing the twinkle in her eye when she did something, or when something she supported reached fruition or when she witnessed public reaction to those accomplishments. No one knew these were her projects or artists in her orbit. Susan’s orbits were always expanding, and we know through her enjoyment of giving and encouraging that she has inspired others to do so too.
Thank you, Susan. My condolences go to your family and your many friends.