Mayor Jim Watson presented Ms. Sandra Oh with the City’s most prestigious award, the Key to the City, during a special ceremony this evening in recognition of her many accomplishments in the field of the performing arts on both a national and international level. Sandra Oh is likely best known for her role as Dr. Cristina Yang in the award-winning television series Grey’s Anatomy, which earned her a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and five Emmy nominations.
“It is such an incredible honour to have Sandra Oh back in Ottawa, and to present her with the Key to the City in acknowledgement of her amazing talent and achievements”, said Mayor Jim Watson.
Sandra Oh was born and raised in Nepean, starred in her first play The Canada Goose at the age of 10, and was extensively involved in drama courses and school productions at Sir Robert Borden High School. During a city-wide competition of the high school Improv Games, she caught the attention of the organizers and was invited to join the improv troupe Skit Row High, which created and wrote original works performed by the National Arts Centre.
“I’m happy and excited to be back in my hometown and to be a part of such a celebratory event”, said Sandra Oh. “I’m looking forward to seeing all my friends and all those who I haven’t seen in many years and to figure out what this key to the city opens.”
Working professionally at the age of 15 in theatre and commercials, she eventually attended the prestigious National Theatre School of Canada to study drama, where after three years, she beat out 1,000 other hopefuls for the coveted title role in the CBC television film The Diary of Evelyn Lau earning her a Gemini Award, a nomination for Best Actress, and the 1994 Cannes FIPA d’Or for Best Actress. She is also the recipient of two Best Actress Genie Awards for her leading role in Double Happiness and Last Night.
After moving to Los Angeles in 1996, Sandra Oh has appeared in several major movies, including Under the Tuscan Sun and the Oscar-winning Sideways for Best Adapted Screenplay and in 2001 was honoured with a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.
The Key to the City was first presented in 1935 by His Worship Stanley Lewis to Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor General of Canada and his wife Lady Tweedsmuir. Other Key to the City recipients include author Margaret Atwood, photographer Yousuf Karsh and the Community Foundation of Ottawa.