A Montréal municipal Web site

Members of the Ordre

Regardless of their sphere of activity, members of the Ordre de Montréal share the same commitment to excellence. These exceptional men and women contribute to making our world a better place and inspire pride in all Montrealers.

Jacqueline Desmarais

Jacqueline Desmarais


Patron and philanthropist Jacqueline Desmarais has unfailingly championed the music community since the late 1970s. Her immense generosity has nourished Montréal’s artistic, cultural and community vitality for decades.

This energetic woman, inspired by the desire to spread beauty and share her passion for music as widely as possible, gives her support to many organizations, including the Opéra de Montréal, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, the Orchestre Métropolitain, the Concours musical international de Montréal, the Canadian Vocal Arts Institute, the Festival d’opéra de Québec and the Domaine Forget.

Desmarais has also partnered with the New York Metropolitan Opera (the Met) to offer audiences productions featuring Canadian artists, and she is the sole sponsor of the Met Live HD series in Canada, which presents operas in high definition in cinemas.

In 1997, she established the Fondation Jacqueline Desmarais, which promotes the work of young Canadian lyric artists. Since its creation, the Fondation has supported the careers of some one hundred opera singers, propelling them to new heights in Québec and abroad. Jacqueline Desmarais often serves as the ambassador for these young artists, interceding on their behalf to give them the opportunity to demonstrate their talent.

In addition to her valuable contributions in the music world, Demarais backs many other cultural, social and educational organizations, such as the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, La rue des femmes, Centraide du Grand Montréal and the Université de Montréal. In fall 2016, the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation inaugurated the Jacqueline Desmarais Pavilion in her honour, in appreciation for her exceptional engagement.

Desmarais was inducted into the Canadian Opera Hall of Fame in 1996. She was appointed a member of the Order of Canada, in 1999, a knight of the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur, in 2011, a grand knight of the Ordre national du Québec, in 2012, and an officer of the Order of Canada, in 2013. She also won a Rubies award from Opera Canada, in 2011, and the Hommage award at the 19th Opus awards from the Conseil québécois de la musique, in 2016.

Jacqueline Desmarais studied nursing at the University of Ottawa. She received an honorary doctorate from the Université de Montréal in 2011.

Photo : MOCA photo

The picture and biographical information appearing on this page were current at the time this person was admitted to the Ordre de Montréal.