Arts and Culture (1996)
Peter Gzowski calls him “as good a man as I know.” That’s because musician, actor, writer, producer, humanitarian, Tom Jackson touches lives. Hundreds of anonymous Canadians are grateful to him for homes and shelter, others for a warm meal and still others for the warmth and charisma he brings to television screens, concert halls and theatre stages. A former homeless person himself, he uses his life experience and the huge artistic profile he’s attained to benefit the downtrodden and desperate. Estimates put the amount of money he has mobilized in donations to food banks at $3.5 million. His annual production of the Huron Carol generates thousands to benefit Canada’s hungry and homeless. He has been nominated for a Gemini Award for his role at Peter Kenidi on CBC’s North of 60, and been a previous Gemini nominee for Best Actor in The Diviners. He is also a veteran of the folk music scene and a noted stage performer in The Ecstasy of Rita Joe and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing. He is truly a star in many galaxies. But Tom Jackson has never forgotten where he came from or the people who inhabit the fringes of Canadian society. His quiet, self-effacing manner and keen sense of humour underlie a spirit committed to the less fortunate. A big man with a big heart, Tom became a Canada 125 Medal recipient for his significant contribution to his fellow citizens, his community and to Canada. He was honoured with a National Aboriginal Achievement Award for both the quality of his performance and the degree of his humanitarianism.