Olive Bryanton, Henry Purdy and Bev Simpson have been honoured as the 2020 recipients of the Order of Prince Edward Island during a special investiture ceremony this week at Government House in Charlottetown.
Chancellor of the Order, Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry, conferred the honour, which is awarded to three Islanders each year who have shown individual excellence or outstanding leadership in their community.
This year's recipients were selected from a total of 32 Islanders nominated.
Bryanton is an educator and a passionate advocate for older adults. From Hampshire, she was raised in a multi-generational home in Malpeque, and has long been aware of the important contribution of older adults to the family and community. She is the mother of five.
Bryanton was instrumental in the establishment of the first multi-purpose Seniors Centre on P.E.I., as well as the Seniors College, and other advocacy roles. In 2019, and at the age of 82, Bryanton received her PhD in education at UPEI — the school’s oldest-ever PhD recipient.
Born in Wolfville, N.S., Purdy is a professional visual artist and art instructor who has been working on P.E.I. for more than 62 years. During a lifetime of work, Purdy has brought art to people through a variety of media, including: steel and wood sculptures, painting in oils and acrylics, graphic art, portraiture, designs for stained glass windows in local churches, and much more. Among other roles, he spearheaded the start of the commercial design program in 1969 at the newly opened Holland College and in 1977, he began Holland College’s school of visual arts. He was awarded the Royal Society of Arts Medal in 1981 for his contribution to the fine arts in the Atlantic region. He was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2001 and presented with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.
Born in Bayview, Simpson worked with business partner Arthur Vesey to form the company known as Vesey’s Seeds Ltd. Upon Vesey’s retirement in 1979, Simpson and his wife Shirley took over ownership of the company. Simpson has overseen considerable expansion, notably Vesey’s growth from mailing 10,000 seed catalogues to more than one million and has guided the growth of the company to include a lawn and garden equipment division, and as well as being the Atlantic Canadian distributor of turf equipment, golf cars and utility vehicles. The Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce accorded him the President’s Award of Business Excellence on two occasions, in 2007 and 2013, and he was inducted into the Junior Achievement Prince Edward Island Hall of Fame in 2015.