SASKATOON — A sense of pride could well describe how the Wyant family is feeling right now, with Vaughn Wyant among the 135 individuals appointed to the Order of Canada by Gov. Gen. Mary Simon.
Wyant is the president and chief executive officer of the Wyant Group, which owns 20 dealerships throughout Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Their dealerships carry 15 automotive brands.
Wyant joins author Yann Martel, for literature, and former senator Dr. Lillian Eva Quan Dyck, for her contributions in promoting human rights and social justice especially for Indigenous peoples, from Saskatoon within the prestigious designation.
He was also among the five from Saskatchewan who made it to the list that included former ambassador Deborah Chatsis of Prince Albert for her human rights advocacy around the world and Regina-based performer Robin Poitras for her contributions to contemporary dance.
Wyant became the second member of his family to earn the prestigious honour, after his late father, Gordon, was inducted in 1991 after a long career as a physician and educator. The younger Wyant is recognized for his contributions as a business leader and philanthropist in the community.
“An immense sense of pride, considering his massive accomplishments. I remember how proud he was to wear the pin and be introduced as an honoree. As well as joining the impressive list of Canadians already inducted is quite overwhelming,” Wyant told SASKTODAY.
The two Wyants are among the more than 7,000 appointed to the Order of Canada — the highest honour given to an individual either for their distinguished contribution, service or talent — since it was established in 1967.
Being inducted to the Order of Canada is already an achievement and Wyant said having two recipients in their family makes a great story.
“It’s the recognition that comes with it. Having been invested to this oOrder is obviously an achievement. I can’t speak for my brothers, but I can tell you my friends and business colleagues really think that it is a great story.”
The idiom "the apple does not fall far from the tree," comes to mind as Wyant follows his father’s footsteps.
"For me and my family, they remember their grandfather as an accomplished and wise man, and they feel very wonderful that their dad joined him. That, for me, it is beyond cool,” said Wyant.
“[My family] have seen how I work for years. They’ll carry on the same tradition of being hard working, [see] the value of supporting the community and their friends, and being good citizens. Everybody’s responsibility is to be just a little bit better and when you meet people or volunteering your time that you are doing it for the right reasons. I guess, at the end of it, when you do that long enough you end up getting this kind of recognition.”
He added that he and his family will continue doing what they’ve been doing, even before he was appointed to the Order of Canada.
“We have a way of doing business and treating our community, family and friends. We’ll continue to do things the way we’ve always done, and we’ll try to leave our community better. That’s our founding principle,” said Wyant.
“We want to make sure that the things that we do on a daily basis make life better for the people around us and, overall, for the community. That’s what we’ll continue to do.”
He has already received his Order of Canada pins and the letter from Gov. Gen. Simon, but a formal investiture is expected to be held sometime in spring at Rideau Hall.
The only thing that remains a mystery to Wyant is who nominated him.
“This is not something that you apply for personally. It is something that you get nominated for. Somebody nominated me and I don’t think it was someone from Saskatoon,” said Wyant.
“I was informed in November  that I was being inducted into the Order of Canada, which was a very humbling experience. All I know is it was someone from Winnipeg. Someone from the [automotive] industry that I’ve known for more than 20 years but I haven’t heard of for a long time. It was very surprising, to be honest.”
A total of 135 individuals were appointed to the Order of Canada with one honorary member, two companions, 39 officers and 93 members when the list was released Dec. 29. The Order of Canada is the second highest honour, after the Order of Merit, given to an individual who made an exceptional contribution to the country and to humanity in general.