Honorary Colonel Loreena McKennitt

Biography / September 5, 2014

Internationally acclaimed Canadian singer-composer Loreena McKennitt was appointed as Honorary Colonel of the Royal Canadian Air Force in August 2014. She had previously served as Honorary Colonel of 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron at 17 Wing Winnipeg, Manitoba and was awarded the RCAF Commander’s Commendation in recognition of outstanding professionalism and dedication.

Born in Morden, Manitoba, Canada, Honorary Colonel McKennitt moved to Stratford, Ontario in 1981, where she initially worked with Canada’s renowned Stratford Festival. In a recording career spanning more than two decades, HCol McKennitt’s ‘eclectic Celtic’ music has received critical acclaim world-wide, and gold, platinum and multi-platinum sales of more than 14 million albums and two Junos Awards.

Less well known is the fact that HCol McKennitt is a highly successful businesswoman who has created an independent record label, Quinlan Road, with celebrated international success. Her business acumen is also applied to the three charitable foundations she established. Her Three Oaks Foundation provides financial support to cultural, environmental, historical and social groups. The Cook-Rees Memorial Fund for Water Search and Safety, founded in 1998, has raised more than $4 million in support of water safety education, as well as search, rescue and recovery operations. In 2000, Ms. McKennitt purchased a recently-closed public school in Stratford and transformed it into the Falstaff Family Centre. Responding to concerns identified by the local community, the Centre focuses on the needs of families and children in Perth County, Ontario, where she resides.

HCol McKennitt is a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Manitoba. In 2002 and 2012 she was the recipient of Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals and in 2013 she was appointed to the rank of Knight of the National Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France.

HCol McKennitt holds honourary degrees from the University of Manitoba (Winnipeg), Sir Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo), Queen’s University (Kingston) and George Brown College (Toronto).

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