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Marc Garneau: It's Hard to Go First

As Canada’s first astronaut, an officer in the Canadian Navy, president of the Canadian Space Agency, and Chancellor of Carleton University in Ottawa, Dr. Marc Garneau’s exceptional life of leadership and accomplishment is an inspiration to all Canadians.

Going first is hard work. It is not a photo opportunity. It's a grind. Marc Garneau will connect, educate and inspire our Toronto Startup Grind community and join us for a Fireside chat on Feb. 19th.


We are grateful to the team at Fasken Martineau startup & entrepreneurial services for hosting us at their offices.

Born in Quebec City, Marc began his career of public service at age 16, when he attended Royal Military College in Saint-Jean, Quebec.

At age 20, Marc’s love of adventure and passion for teamwork led him to join a 13-man crew that sailed the Atlantic from Rhode Island to Cork, Ireland in an 18-metre yawl. He did this in 20 days. The following summer he duplicated the feat on the return trip.

After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics from the Royal Military College in Kingston, Marc completed a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering at London, England’s Imperial College of Science and Technology. He went on to study at the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College in Toronto.

As a Naval Officer, Marc served as a Combat Systems Engineer in HMCS Algonquin, and rose to the rank of Captain before retiring from the Navy in 1989.

But it was in 1983 that Marc’s exceptional leadership qualities, physical fitness and academic expertise singled him out for greatness. Moved by his passion for adventure and service, he applied and was selected as one of the original six Canadian astronauts from more than 4,000 applicants.

On October 5, 1984, Marc made history when he became the first Canadian to fly in space as part of a NASA Shuttle Mission.

He went on to fly in two more shuttle missions logging more than 670 hours in space and earning a spot in the hearts of Canadians forever.

For his accomplishments, he was also made a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Marc went on to serve as President of the Canadian Space Agency from 2001 to 2005, where he oversaw a staff of 700 and managed an annual budget of $300 million. As President, he developed the Canadian Space Strategy, which defines the mandate and long term goals of the Canadian Space Program.

Among other accomplishments, Dr. Garneau was a member of Ontario’s Executive Committee on Transboundary Air Pollution; and is a member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.

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  • BrianJ

    Here is my follow up video interview with Garneau focusing on his idea about a capital gains tax exemption: Just 3 and a half minutes.

    2 · February 20, 2013

  • Chris H.

    Great event!

    1 · February 20, 2013

  • Kaz

    Inspiring. He is the kind of leader who empowers people rather than directs them. I feel confident that he is the right person to lead this country into a sustainable knowledge based economy. Resources run out, ideas never do. Canadian start-ups are not just an undervalued gold mine they are the Canadian geese that lay the golden eggs. Take care of the goose and the future is shiny. Marc commits to do just that so I encourage you to support him as Liberal Leader here I am also hopeful that his unique perspective on our little blue home will stop the environmental atrocities our current government is inflicting on the planet.

    1 · February 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    have to sit this one out - tied at work
    looking to catch the next one

    February 19, 2013

  • Andrew S.

    Does the main meat of this start at 6, or is it one of those wheres a designated schmoozing period? Just trying to plan whether I need to get there early or if I can cut it a bit closer, etc

    February 19, 2013

  • Tony

    I have to work late. Next time.

    February 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Can't afford to miss this.

    February 12, 2013

66 went

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