Jacques Lemay


Mr. Lemay has been described as one of Canada’s most talented, versatile Producer/Director/Choreographers and a cultural treasure. Born in Montreal, he began his professional career with the acclaimed and influential national folk dance troupe Les Feux-Follets. He was awarded a scholarship with the famed New York dance company Alvin Ailey. Poised to pursue a career in the United States, he chose to return to Canada where his heart and artistic vision lived. He has never regretted his decision and Canada has been the richer for it.

Mr. Lemay has enjoyed an illustrious career. His creative works span the full gamut of theatrical and television productions including operas, ballets, symphony concerts, musicals, multi-cultural productions, royal galas, variety shows and special events. Equally at home in both of Canada’s official languages, Mr. Lemay has directed and choreographed productions in major theatres across Canada. He is a former Artistic Director of the Charlottetown Festival. He has gained renown as a choreographer for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet of Canada as well as other international companies. He was selected to choreograph the first and only full length First Nation ballet, “In the Land of Spirit” for the Canadian Native Arts Foundation. His ballets have been seen around the world.

His pride of nation has been made evident on countless occasions throughout his distinguished career. Highlights include: Artistic Director and Senior Choreographer of the Opening Ceremonies for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics; Producer/Artistic Director of the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games; Producer/Artistic Director of the 1997 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Toronto; Producer/Artistic Director of Canada Summer Games in Saskatoon; Producer and Artistic Director Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island; Creative Advisor for the Torino Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony; Producer/Artistic Director of five Canadian Heritage Festivals in as many provinces including the Canada Pavilion at Expo ‘86 in Vancouver where he was also Producer/Artistic Director of the Saskatchewan Pavilion; Artistic Director B.C. Week in Tokyo, Japan. He was Producer/Artistic Director for the Opening Ceremonies of Confederation Bridge in Prince Edward Island. He was selected as Artistic Director for six Royal Visits including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s II British Columbia’s Jubilee Tour. He was the Co-Producer and Artistic Director of the highly acclaimed Canada 125 national program Experience Canada/Spirit of Nation. He was appointed to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies Team for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics where he served as Creative Advisor for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

Mr. Lemay was selected as the only Canadian member of the production team for the Unveiling of the New 7 Wonders of the World in Lisbon Portugal where he was Staging Director and worked with such international stars as Ben Kingsley, Hilary Swank, Jose Carreras, Dulce Pontes, Bipasha Basu, Chaka Khan, Alessandro Safina, Joaquín Cortés, Jennifer Lopez and many more.

An international award winning choreographer, is a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee medal for his work in arts and culture. He was recognized as a 2010 Community Arts Leader of the Year. Mr. Lemay has served as a consultant to the Auditor General of Canada, he was the Chair of the National Capital Commission’ Marketing and Planning Committee, in Ottawa, a committee he served on for over six years. He has served as an adjudicator and advisor for the Canada Council for the Arts as well as several provincial and territorial arts councils. He was appointed Director to the Celebrate Canada Committee for British Columbia, a program of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

As a performing arts educator, his legacy across Canada is unsurpassed. He is the founder of the Jazz Program for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet; Co-Founder of the Young Company Program for the Confederation Centre of the Arts in PEI and the Co-Founding/Managing Artistic Director of the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria, B.C., celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Founded respectively in 1976, 1993 and 1997, these programs still thrive today and continue to be recognized as preeminent performing arts training institutions in Canada. During his career he has taught, guided and mentored thousands of young artists from all regions of Canada who now grace stages around the world; have garnered national and international accolades; are recognized as cultural leaders throughout our nation and abroad and who would wholeheartedly support this nomination.

His self-effacing demeanour doesn’t begin to reflect his accomplishments. He continues to be an ambassador for youth and cultural diversity. A proud Canadian, he has shown his patriotism time and time again with displaying and presenting the best Canada has to offer to the rest of the world. His contribution to arts and culture during his forty six year career in Canada and abroad is prodigious.


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