CDMP Awards | Français


The Canadian Digital Media Pioneer Awards presented by GRAND NCE celebrate outstanding Canadians whose vision and achievements have made important contributions to the development of digital media.

Canada's Digital Media Pioneers

Digital media is an enormously important part of Canada’s recent history and culture. Since the early wave of electronic discovery in the 1960s, the global digital revolution has been marked by the pioneering achievements of Canadian artists, scientists and visionaries who seized the potential of emerging technologies.

In the pre-digital era, Canadians led breakthrough work in film, television, and radio, pursuing them as art forms in their own right. Canadians were among the first to recognize their impact and value – Canadian scholars led the study of media’s influence on society and culture. Canada also continues a proud history of mixing pure research and technological innovation with artistic production. Beginning in the mid–1960s, researchers at the National Research Council (NRC) and animators at the National Film Board (NFB) investigated the use of computers in animated filmmaking and music. This early collaboration proved extremely important in the field of human-computer interaction.

Early luminaries who prefigured the digital era include NFB founder John Grierson, inventor of the documentary film, and perhaps the single most important figure in the development of the modern Canadian information film; University of Toronto professor Marshall McLuhan, who founded modern communication theory to study and evaluate the rapid social and cultural changes brought on by new forms of media at the razor's edge of the digital revolution; and novelist William Gibson, whose prescient cyberpunk science fiction introduced readers to cyberspace, virtual reality and other concepts well before their ubiquity in the wired world.

The legacy of these and other pioneers is apparent today. Digital media has transformed creative practices, business models, cultural industries and everyday life. Through their early work, Canada’s Digital Media Pioneers have helped define contemporary digital culture.

CDMP Award Recipients

Since 2011, the Canadian Digital Media Pioneer Awards have honoured Canadians who have made significant contributions to the advancement of digital media. Each year GRAND acknowledges one or more outstanding artists, designers, entrepreneurs, inventors, researchers and/or scholars at a formal award presentation. A tribute in honour of recipients’ achievements highlights the celebration.

2014 Canadian Digital Media Pioneers: Nestor Burtnyk, Ken Pulfer, and Marceli Wein

Nestor Burtnyk, Ken Pulfer, and Marceli Wein

2014 Canadian Digital Media Pioneers: Nancy Knowlton and David Martin

Nancy Knowlton and David Martin

2014 Canadian Digital Media Pioneer: Barry Wellman

Barry Wellman

2013 Canadian Digital Media Pioneer: Ronald Baecker

Ron Baecker

2013 Canadian Digital Media Pioneer: Sara Diamond

Sara Diamond

2012 Canadian Digital Media Pioneer: Robert Forget

Robert Forget

2011 Canadian Digital Media Pioneer: Bill Buxton

Bill Buxton