She was born in Hong Kong in 1939. In 1942, 3-year-old Adrienne Poy and her family emigrated from Hong Kong to Ottawa. They arrived as war refugees, at a time when Canada routinely rejected non-white immigrants. Yet Adrienne says she experienced little difficulty settling into her adopted country. She had support where it mattered most — in the classroom, and at home.
She graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in English and Literature, and went on to have a long and successful career with the CBC. She was a writer, producer and host of iconic programs like ‘The Fifth Estate’.
In 1999, she was sworn in as Canada’s 26th Governor General. She brought certain sensitivity and flare to the position, and forged a special connection with the armed forces and the far North. But she also faced much criticism for what was perceived as lavish spending and a luxurious lifestyle.
Adrienne has kept busy since leaving Rideau Hall in 2005. She founded the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, and has authored three books. In 2011, she published a book called ‘Room For All of Us’. It tells the story of eight extraordinary Canadians who, like herself, immigrated to this country and have since helped to transform it.
See a video of Adrienne Clarkson arguing that there is Room for All of Us on CBC Books