Antony Holland Receives Order of Canada

Order of Canada award for veteran British Columbian thespian

Ninety-four year old award-winning Canadian thespian Antony Holland—a resident of Gabriola Island—has been honoured in the Governor General’s Canada Day appointments. He is to receive the Order of Canada for his lifetime service to theatrical arts.

Antony (Albert Edwin) Holland was born on March 28, 1920, in Tiverton, Devon, England, and has strutted upon the world’s stage for the past ninety-four years as an actor, director, mentor and teacher. He is an inspirational character sans pareil who, as a nonagenarian, has unlimited passion for the stage. His acting and directing credits stretch back to the early 1930s in Britain, and he played many starring roles on stage in Egypt and North Africa to entertain the troops during World War II. Following his wartime service with the Royal Signal Corps he became assistant-principal of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (England) where he trained many actors who would become household names in British movies and on stage and TV.

Mr. Holland immigrated to British Columbia in 1957 where he developed a highly successful theatre arts program at the Haney Correctional Institute, where he enabled many young offenders the opportunity to make meaningful changes to their lives. The troupe, under Holland’s direction, won the British Columbia One Act Play festival in Victoria in June of 1961.

Following his success at Haney, Mr. Holland founded a theatre arts program at the King Edward Campus of Vancouver Community College. The school relocated to Langara College and became the legendary theatre arts department known as Studio 58. He was artistic director at Langara until his retirement in 1985, and returned to professional acting, directing, and writing. Shortly after moving to Gabriola Island, he established a new theatre company at the Gabriola Theatre Centre. Langara’s Studio 58 was, and remains, one of the most respected and sought-after theatre arts programs in North America.

Mr. Holland has worked tirelessly in the theatre and in movies since his retirement. He has played numerous movie roles alongside such stars as Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn and Loretta Swit, and—in July 2014—is launching a brand new production which he will be touring on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

Antony Holland cherishes life. A playful nonagenarian with a sharp wit, a prodigious memory and a zest for life, he is also renowned for his home-baked scones which he serves at his shows with clotted cream and homemade jam. If any man deserves recognition for dedicating his entire life to the entertainment and education of his fellow Canadians in theatre arts it is surely Antony (Albert Edwin) Holland.

Select credits

  • Julius Baltar, Battlestar Galactica (2009)
  • Shylock, The Merchant of Venice – Studio 58 (2008)
  • Morrie, Tuesdays with Morrie – The Arts Club Theatre Company (2006)
  • The title role, King Lear – Studio 58 (2005)
  • Lenny Stillmach, Kingdom Hospital (2004)


  • three Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards and numerous nominations
  • four separate Lifetime Achievement Awards
  • member of BC Entertainment Hall of Fame
  • the Antony Holland Scholarship at Langara College was made in his honour

The Arts Council celebrated Antony’s Order of Canada on June 29, 2014.  Thank you to Village Foods for supplying the food, to Village Liquor Store for helping out on wine, to Anne Holmes for the magnificent cake, to Kathy Ramsey and Artworks for hosting the event, and to Shelagh Rogers and James Hawkins (Shakespeare and Scones) for their eloquence. Thanks also to Nick Halpin of Eyes Wide Open Photography for these photographs.

Catch Antony at his best…on the stage…

“Not Going Gentle”—a New Show by Antony Holland

A special new production by Antony Holland—a recipient of the Order of Canada—containing highlights from six of his most successful shows. Guaranteed to be wonderfully entertaining or your money back. To avoid disappointment, reserve a seat at Artworks ($15) or $20 at the door. The usual fresh scones, Devon cream and jam available at intermission.

Friday, July 4th, 11 am; Saturday, July 5th, 7 pm; Sunday, July 6th, 7 pm | The Centre | $15 at Artworks or $20 at the Door


For more information, or to contact Antony Holland:

Michelle Benjamin, Executive Director, Gabriola Arts Council


1 Comment

  1. Sharron Bertchildle

    Congratulations on the award…a fitting recognition of your remarkable life and career…