Canadian actress Mary Walsh has been awarded the inaugural Oxfam Canada "Spirit of Change" award in recognition of years of dedication to eradicating poverty and ensuring public services for all.
In accepting the award, Ms. Walsh said she was first attracted to Oxfam’s mission after witnessing the local work being done by Oxfam’s St. John’s office.
"We could see the extraordinary good work being done in our community and believed we could do the same kind of work for the world," she said.
St. John’s outreach officer Bill Hynd remembered that the "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" star has deep roots in the social justice movement. He spoke about storming the office of the president of the Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador with a gorilla mask and a tin of tainted tuna. "I’ll let you imagine the rest," he said.
Ms. Walsh first loaned her celebrity to Oxfam in the 1970s, appearing in an Oxfam ad as her character from the Saturday Night Girls.
She later played a pivotal role in the most recent Oxfam advertising campaign, reprising her role as the Warrior Princess to press CTV and Rogers to donate airtime and plumbing her network for advertising agencies that would design a campaign for free. The result was the "Signature" series of advertisements.
Hynd described Ms. Walsh as "a battering ram for social justice."
"Mary always made herself available for any Oxfam cause because she is not only outraged by what is happening nationally and locally, she’s also outraged by the state of the world."