OAF News

Call for Nominations for the eighth annual Gina Wilkinson $5,000 Prize

Toronto, ON, October 15, 2018 — Nominations for the eighth annual Gina Wilkinson Prize (Gina's Prize) will be accepted starting October 15, 2018. Established in memory of director Gina Wilkinson, who was a beloved actor and director across the country, the prize is intended to recognize an experienced female theatre artist transitioning from one theatre discipline into the discipline of theatre direction.  The annual prize pays tribute to Gina and her unyielding dedication, vision and indomitable spirit that imbued her work and her life.  The recipient will be chosen from nominations brought forward by members of the Canadian theatre community.  This year's nomination deadline is December 15, 2018 with the award recipient announced on March 10, 2019

An actor for over twenty years, Gina began turning her attention to both writing and directing, and in the last few years of her too-short life established herself as a daring, strong, inventive and important director and collaborator in the Canadian theatre community.  Shortly after Gina died in December 2010, a fund was established to benefit female theatre directors.  The Gina Wilkinson Prize was made possible due to the generous support of over 200 people from across Canada.  In addition, a substantial gift was made to the fund in 2014 by the beneficiaries of the Estate of Elsie V. Adamson, a long-time friend and client of Martin Wilkinson, Gina's brother.  In the spirit of Gina's generousity and appetite for life, the prize is a gift to be used in any way the recipient chooses. 

Previous winners of the Gina Wilkinson Prize include: Ann-Marie Kerr of Halifax (2012), Krista Jackson of Winnipeg (2013) Christine Brubaker of Toronto (2014), Valerie Planche of Calgary (2015), Kelli Fox of Toronto (2016), Kimberley Rampersad of Winnipeg (2017), and Tanja Jacobs (2018).

The Gina Wilkinson Prize Fund is administered by the Ontario Arts Foundation. Anyone wishing to donate to the fund may do so here.

Award and Nomination Process


For more information:

Tom Rooney

Alan Walker, Executive Director
Ontario Arts Foundation 
416-969-7413 | awalker@oafdn.ca


Composer Steph Copeland is Awarded the 2018 Christopher Dedrick Award for Live Musicians in Media Soundtracks

Toronto, September 18, 2018 - The Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC) and the Ontario Arts Foundation are delighted to announce Steph Copeland is the 2018 recipient of the Christopher Dedrick Award for Live Musicians in Media Soundtracks.   

Steph Copeland

Steph Copeland, a classically trained vocalist, is a composer for feature films (Antisocial 1 and 2, Let Her Out, Bed of The Dead, Ejecta, Bite) as well as commercials (PanAm Games and BOSE). Copeland also writes for popular and electro/pop artists as well as writing and producing her own material, including her debut album "Public Panic" in 2015.

The use of live musicians in Copeland’s compositions for the upcoming film “I’ll Take Your Dead” (2018 Black Fawn Films/Breakthrough Entertainment) were made possible with the assistance of the Christopher Dedrick Music Fund.

"As a composer of independent Canadian films, it is often difficult to work with live musicians due to budget constraints.  The Christopher Dedrick Music Fund allowed me to work with violinist Brigit O'Regan which elevated the score beyond my expectations," said Steph Copeland.  "Thanks to awards like these, composers and musicians have a chance to reach our artistic goals and higher production standards on an indie budget.  Thank you so much to the Screen Composers Guild of Canada and the Ontario Arts Foundation."

The Christopher Dedrick Award was established in memory of Christopher Dedrick, an award-winning screen composer and past-president of the SCGC, to encourage and support the hiring and use of live musicians in the production of media music soundtracks. This annual cash prize of $1,200 is awarded to a SCGC member in good standing, and is adjudicated by a Selection Committee comprised of SCGC peers. The Award is administered by the SCGC on behalf of the Ontario Arts Foundation.

For information, please contact:

Tonya Dedrick, Managing Director
Screen Composers Guild of Canada
Tel: (416) 410-5076

Alan Walker, Executive Director
Ontario Arts Foundation
Tel: (416) 969-7413


The Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2017-2018, the OAF paid over $3.35 million in endowment income and $260,000 in awards and scholarships.

The Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC) is a trade association certified under the Canadian Federal Status of the Artist Act, and represents all professional Anglophone composers and music producers for film, television , video games, mobile and all other screen media.  The SCGC promotes the status and rights of screen composers through professional development, sharing information, advocacy on issues such as creator’s rights and the value of screen music.  The SCGC is a member of the Music Creators Canadian and North American Alliances. 

About Christopher Dedrick
Chris Dedrick was a music producer, arranger, and a classical and soundtrack composer. He worked with directors Guy Maddin and Don McKellar, winning a Genie Award for Maddin's The Saddest Music in the World. In 1997 Dedrick won a Gemini Award for his work on the television series Road to Avonlea. Chris was nominated a total of 16 times for Gemini awards, winning a total of four, the others for Million Dollar Babies, Shipwreck on the Skeleton Coast and The Great Canadian Polar Bear Adventure.

Full Biography

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Melanie Florence, Gabrielle Grimard and Heather T. Smith honoured with 2018 Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards

Toronto, June 20, 2018 – The 2018 winners of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were announced today at Toronto’s Sprucecourt Public School. The winners were selected by two juries of young readers from the school – a jury of grade 3 and 4 students selected the recipients of the Children’s Picture Book Award, and a jury of grade 8 students selected the recipient of the Young Adult / Middle Reader Award. Each student read the books individually and then worked together with their group to reach consensus and decide on a winner. This process makes it a unique literary award in Canada.

Winner of the Children's Picture Book Award Category

Stolen Words

by Melanie Florence (Toronto, Ont.)
illustrations by Gabrielle Gimard (Montréal, Que.)
Second Story Press


“This book tells a difficult story, but in a way that young people can understand,” said student jurors in grades 3 and 4. “It has a good balance of sad and happy parts, with beautiful illustrations that show the characters’ feelings. It reminds us that children can help adults and bring hope for the future.”

“It’s an incredible honour to win the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award, a prize with so many notable past winners,” said author Melanie Florence. “It’s particularly humbling to have been selected by a jury of students from Sprucecourt Public School, from such a distinguished list of nominees. I’m grateful beyond words.”

“I want to thank Melanie Florence for writing such a beautiful story – it brought tears to my eyes the first time I read it,” said illustrator Gabrielle Grimard. “And thank you to the students of Sprucecourt Public School – this award has a special place in my heart because you are the ones for whom I create these illustrations.”


About the Author

  • Melanie Florence is a writer of Cree and Scottish heritage.  She has also written several young adult novels, including He Who Dreams and The Missing.
  • She is a first-time nominee and laureate of the Schwartz Children's Book Awards.

About the Illustrator

  • Gabrielle Grimard has been illustrating books for young readers since 2001, and has contributed to more than 50 books to date.
  • She is a first-time nominee and laureate of the Schwartz Children's Book Awards.

Winner of the Young Adult / Middle Reader Award Category


The Agony of Bun O'Keefe

by Heather Smith (Waterloo, Ont.)
Penguin Teen


Student jurors in grades 7 and 8 loved the book's personalities - as one juror declared, “Bun and Busker Boy are my favourite characters of all time!” Praising the protagonist as “one-of-a-kind,” the jurors also appreciated how close they felt to Bun, and how well they could feel all of her emotions. And as one student admitted, “I stayed up way too late because I couldn’t put this book down!”

“Simply put, the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Awards are special,” said author Heather T. Smith. “Not only do they honour two remarkable women, they are juried by young people which makes it all the more meaningful. Having my book chosen by the readers themselves is an incredible honour – one that I won’t soon forget.”


About the Author 

  • Heather T. Smith's East Coast roots inspire much of her writing - including The Agony of Bun O'Keefe, her second novel for young adults.
  • She is a first-time nominee and laureate of the Schwartz Children’s Book Awards.


About the Awards 

  • Two awards of $6,000 each are presented annually to recognize artistic excellence in writing and illustration in English-language Canadian children’s literature.
  • This year’s selection committee comprised Heather Kuiper (owner, Ella Minnow Children's Bookstore, Toronto), Ben Robinson (Children and Teen Librarian, Guelph Public Library) and Kristin Fowkes (teacher-librarian, Frontenac Public School, Burlington).


Learn More 

  • The Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were established in 1976 by Sylvia Schwartz in memory of her sister, Ruth, a respected Toronto bookseller. In 2004, the family renamed the awards to honour both sisters.
  • The Ontario Arts Foundation administers the awards with the support of the Ontario Arts Council, which manages the nomination and jury process. These awards are funded through the Ruth Schwartz Foundation.
  • See the full details on the award and the list of previous laureates.


Shoshana Wasser, Communications Coordinator, Ontario Arts Council
416-969-7434/1-800-387-0058, ext. 7434 | swasser@arts.on.ca


Alan Walker, Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation
416-969-7413 | awalker@oafdn.ca


The Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario.  In 2017-2018, the OAF paid $3.35 million in endowment income and $260,000 in awards and scholarships. 

For more than 50 years, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians. In 2016-2017, the  OAC funded 1,657 individual artists and 1,098 organizations in 212 communities across Ontario for a total of $50.8 million.

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