2017 Recipients

Registration Now Open for 2017 Awards Ceremony & Reception,
taking place on Friday, November 17, 2017!!
Register Now!

Distinguished Alumni Award

Anita Kunz

Anita Kunz (AOCA, Communication & Design, 1978)

Watch the recipient's video profile


Born in Toronto and raised in Kitchener, Ontario, Anita Kunz is an accomplished and acclaimed artist and illustrator who has lived in London, New York and Toronto.

She has contributed to the world’s leading magazines, design firms, book publishers and advertising agencies.

Kunz studied illustration at the Ontario College of Art, and graduated in 1978. An officer of the Order of Canada, Kunz received an honorary doctorate degree from OCAD University in 2010. She received a second doctorate from Mass Art College of Art and Design in 2015, in Boston, Massachusetts. In 2012, Kunz received the Diamond Jubilee medal, and recently, she was inducted into the Museum of American Illustration Hall of Fame.

Kunz has produced interior and cover art for many prominent magazines including Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Time Magazine, Newsweek Magazine, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic and The New York Times Magazine. She has also illustrated more than fifty book jacket covers.

Her critically acclaimed works have appeared in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, the Canadian Archives in Ottawa, the McCord Museum in Montreal, the Musée Militaire de France in Paris, the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome. A number of her Time Magazine cover paintings are in the permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.

Kunz was the first Canadian and first woman to have a solo show at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. She has lectured widely and has taught numerous workshops in Canada, the United States and overseas.

Her charity work involves social justice issues and animal welfare. She lives in Toronto with one dog, three cats and one human.

Distinguished Educator Award

Hugh Mackenzie

Hugh Mackenzie (AOCA, Drawing & Painting, 1950)

Watch the recipient's video profile


Hugh Mackenzie was born in Toronto in 1928. He attended the Ontario College of Art (as it was then known), from 1946 to 1950. His instructors at that time included Carl Schaefer, John Alfsen and Jock Macdonald. The latter, according to Mackenzie, “came into the College like a breath of fresh air.” He continued his studies in Fine Arts at Mount Alison University, studying under Lawren Harris and Alex Colville. It was also at “Mount A” that he met Dorothy Johnson, another Fine Arts student, who would become his wife and critic for more than 60 years.

Mackenzie’s early working years included a two-year stint as a technical illustrator for the Avro Aircraft Company, where he illustrated manuals for the Avro Arrow. Since 1967, he has exhibited new works regularly in solo shows as well as with colleagues. His early high realist egg tempera works found a ready audience and led to a number of portrait commissions, most notably the state portrait of the Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson. Taking up etching in the mid-1970s freed Mackenzie from the exacting demands of egg tempera, helping him grow from the young painter focussed on the product, to a mature artist who takes pleasure in the act of painting itself. Trading in a fine sable brush for a palette knife, allowed him to switch easily between the representational and pure abstraction.

Teaching has been the other focus of Mackenzie’s elliptical career. In 1969, Mackenzie landed his dream job as a part-time instructor at the Ontario College of Art. He also served as a visiting lecturer at the University of Waterloo, the University of Victoria and other institutions, but OCA remained his primary teaching venue. Although his job title was often “lecturer,” he found his greatest success and enjoyment when he moved away from the podium to engage more directly with his students as colleagues. Learning to listen to, and learn from, his students, was key to his success as an educator.

Mackenzie was honoured to receive the A.J. Casson Award from the Alumni Association in 1991. More importantly, Mackenzie sees his success in the relationships that he developed with his students, many of whom have become accomplished artists, respected colleagues and life-long friends.

Worldbuilder Award

Natalyn Tremblay

Natalyn (Naty) Tremblay (BFA, Integrated Media, 2006)

Watch the recipient's video profile


Naty Tremblay grew up in the fields of southwestern Ontario on a small organic family farm. Tremblay’s combined experiences of being an inquisitive identical twin, a working class francophone from an assimilating Métis community, and a gender-queer feminist has led Tremblay to their creative social change practice.

Tremblay ran away to Tkaronto in 2000 to seek out radical queer activism and pursue interdisciplinary studies at OCAD. Tremblay was active in the OCAD Student Union (OCADSU) and helped found the Xpace student gallery in 2004. They graduated from the Integrated Media (INTM) program with a focus on art for social change in 2006. They were the proud recipient of the Meloche Monnex award for community involvement & the INTM award for Achievement in Film & Video.

Tremblay believes deeply in the radical and transformative power of the arts leveraged for radical education, community organizing and political discourse. They have developed a broad body of interactive multi-media performance and community-engaged works showcased across the Americas aimed at provoking dialogue about identity, power, symbiosis and decoloniality amidst global predatory capitalism. They create using wearable technologies, story, video projection, installation, street art, movement and puppetry and have collaborated with international artists such as Candice Breitz, Jess Dobkin, Pocha Nostra, My Barbarian, Orlan and Naty’s identical twin Joce Tremblay.

In 2009, Tremblay co-founded The People Project and began building a body of arts-based curriculum, programs and events for making anti-oppression principles accessible, and unpacking the harmful effects of internalized oppression. They received a Top Cultural Change Makers award from the City of Toronto in 2011. Tremblay has since worked on liberatory arts and education-based projects with almost every major arts and educational institution, youth-serving agency and LGBTQ organization in the city. Tremblay has also published a series of artful anti-oppression resources available online.

Tremblay currently coordinates the media arts, community arts and transformative justice programs at Sketch Working Arts, building creative leadership capacity with street-involved and poverty-impacted youth.

Trailblazer Award

Carly McAskill

Carly McAskill (BFA, Drawing & Painting, 2011)

Watch the recipient's video profile


Carly McAskill is a researcher, visual artist, teacher and writer. She is passionate about the arts and culture, intergenerational pedagogies, research-creation, memory studies, motherline research, feminist pedagogy, arts-based methodology, storytelling, disability and age studies.

As a visual artist, McAskill communicates through intricate mark making using mixed media, drawing, painting and collage. The multi-layered images in her work explore identity through meditation on place, time, presence, and inheritance. McAskill believes in the powers of representation through collage: “the fragments are significant as they become a tool to tell a story and reflect a pattern.” Also, the use of flowers in her work act as metaphorical subject matter that addresses emotions and issues around memory, history and identity.

McAskill holds a Bachelor of Education in the Intermediate/Senior Division with Visual Arts and Religion teachable from Nipissing University (2014-2015), Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from York University (2011-2013), Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting from OCAD University (2008-2011) and Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from McMaster University (2004-2008). Additionally, McAskill is the recipient of the Mrs. W.O. Forsyth Award for 4th year female painters from Ontario College of Art and Design University (2011).

Currently, McAskill is completing her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Communication Studies at Concordia University. She is the recipient of the Ageing + Communication + Technologies (ACT) Doctoral Fellowship; ACT Scholarship for Graz International Summer School SEGGAU as well as Faculty of Arts and Social Science Graduate Fellowship in Ethnic Studies and Social Diversity Award at Concordia University. McAskill’s current research uses her art and research background in memory, identity, storytelling, collage and drawing to lay the foundation for her PhD research-creation project that focuses on making deeper connections with people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Website: www.carlymcaskill.com

Legacy Award

Donald George Watt

Donald George Watt (AOCA, Industrial Design, 1953-1956)

Watch the recipient's video profile


Don Watt was born in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1936. He attended Luther College High School, a school that his grandfather supported in its early days. After graduating, Watt enrolled at the Ontario College of Art (as it was then known).

His first job was with A.V. Roe Canada, Ltd., where he worked on the design of the Avro Arrow and Flying Saucer projects. After A.V. Roe ceased operations, Watt landed a job with Warner Brothers, where he worked in animation for three years, on the Bugs Bunny series.

In the early 1960s, Watt worked as a creative director for several Toronto design agencies, before founding his own firm, Don Watt & Associates in 1966. Shortly after, he was chosen to work on the Canadian Pavilion at Expo ’67.

Watt was also an award-winning retail brand builder and designer. He was among the first designers to envision a system of branding that unified the entire shopping experience. He felt strongly that just because money was scarce for some families, they didn’t have to feel the experience was less satisfying and the products, even at a lower price, could still be top quality, hence the brands, ‘No Name’ and ‘Great Value.’

He is credited with introducing the premium private label brand design and concept to the North American and world markets, and his clientele can be found in every corner of the world. He was also the first designer to use photo-symbolic imagery on packaging, for Nestlé’s Instant Coffee, which is now the basis for most packaging seen today.

Some of his most recognized brand designs include Home Depot’s iconic orange logo; Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Choice and Great Value, Metro, Loblaw’s No Name and President’s Choice.

In 1988, he was recognized by the Harvard Business School for developing a firm that “created unconventional solutions to classic profit-improvement problems, using strategic design to effect change in consumer response.” In 2006, he was inducted into Canada’s Marketing Hall of Legends, and in 2008 he was inducted into the Private Label Hall of Fame.

From OCA to OCAD U: Our history

OCAD University was originally established in Toronto in 1876 by the Ontario Society of Artists, as the Ontario School of Art. From 1890 to 1910, it was known as the Central Ontario School of Art and Industrial Design. In 1912, it was incorporated as the Ontario College of Art (OCA), becoming the first school in Canada dedicated exclusively to the education of professional artists in fine and commercial art. In 1996, the name changed to the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), marking the growth of design programs. In 2010, to reflect the institution’s new status as a university, which had been granted in 2002, the school became officially known as OCAD University (OCAD U).  Read more.