A couple with deep roots in the Island agriculture industry have been named members of the Order of Canada.
John and Hazel Robinson received word of the appointment over the Christmas holiday period from the office of Governor General Mary Simon. The Robinsons were named for their "leadership in Prince Edward Island's agriculture industry, and for their contributions to documenting local history in the community."
John was the second generation to run Eric C. Robinson Inc (which was started by his father and has now grown to a group of companies that includes Island Lime, PEI Agromart and Garden Isle Farms) along with his brother Alan.
Although John continues to serve as Chairman of the board of directors since retiring in 2001, the Robinson Group of Companies is currently owned and operated by Eric’s six grandchildren. A tribute posted on social media by their daughter Mary notes "John has held many leadership positions at the local and national level dealing with business development, the economy, the environment, and agriculture. John and Hazel now live in Charlottetown where they are quite involved in their grandchildren’s lives, travel extensively, all the while being active in their church and various volunteer roles including John’s current role as President and Chair of the Fund Development Committee at the Community Foundation of PEI.
"Bursting with pride. We’ve watched our parents volunteer in countless ways, publish a community history, manage woodlands, help build a family farm business, mentor, give, be involved in church and be exceptional parents too," wrote Mary, who is the current president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.
Mary noted some of the projects her parents have been involved with including battling to keep rural schools open, building community rinks and services for rural families, compiling and publishing a community history, starting a rural school concert band program, spearheading woodlot management before it was cool, fostering rural performing arts venues and performers like Victoria Playhouse, helping build up the PEI Community Foundation, being one of the first to hire a watershed manager and bring other neighboring land owners onboard.
"I think one of the paramount points of significance is they did all this and more, quietly, without looking for recognition or reward beyond achieving the task at hand," the obviously proud daughter wrote. "They have mentored many, given to more than we’ll ever know, and always, always have done it with a caring heart and vision for the future. A future that they want to be better for all."
Kevin and Kathy Murphy, who operate the Murphy Hospitality Group, were also named as members of the order. The Order of Canada is one of our country’s highest honours and recognizes recipients for their outstanding dedication to their community and service to the nation.