2 locals named to Order

Two Okanagan men have been named members of the Order of Canada.

Charles Fipke of Kelowna and Imant Raminsh of Coldstream were among 103 recipients of the honour named Thursday by Governor General Julie Payette.

Fipke was recognized for his leadership in heavy mineral exploration and for his philanthropic support of educational and health-care initiatives.

Raminsh was named for his contributions and achievements as a musician, conductor and composer.

Fipke made his fortune after discovering large diamond deposits in the Northwest Territories. He has donated millions of dollars to UBC Okanagan, where the Fipke Centre for Innovative Research is named after him.

The facility boasts state-of-the-art computer labs for mathematics, statistics, computer science and physical geography, as well as labs for courses in earth and environmental sciences, biology, chemistry, hydrology, paleoecology, and soil ecology. 

Raminsh, a native of Latvia, immigrated to Canada in 1948.

He is the founding conductor of the Prince George Symphony, the Youth Symphony of the Okanagan, NOVA Children’s Choir, and AURA Chamber Choir. His compositions have been performed on six continents in such world-renowned halls as Carnegie Hall (New York), Tchaikovsky Hall (Moscow), the Orpheum (Vancouver), Canterbury Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Notre Dame (Paris) and Santa Maria del’Fiore (Florence).

In April 2002, his nine-movement, eight-language Symphony of Psalms was premiered at Carnegie Hall, with a massed choir of 170 voices and orchestra. He and his wife Becky were co-commissioned to create a theme song for the fourth International Children’s Conference on the Environment, in Victoria, with 800 children from 120 countries participating.

He has also pursued studies in geology and biology, and worked for many summers as a naturalist/interpreter in BC provincial parks, and has also served as a municipal councillor.

The Order of Canada was created in 1967 and is one of the nation's highest honours. Since that time, almost 7,000 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order. 

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