There may not have been hugs or handshakes at the 26th annual Calgary Awards, held virtually this year due to COVID-19, but it was just as meaningful to the honoured recipients.
The Calgary Awards are presented each year by The City of Calgary to recognize deserving individuals, corporations, community groups and organizations. The 13 recipients highlight the excellence of our community and recognize their significant contributions to making our city a better place to live.
Citizen of the Year – Brian Thiessen. As Chair of The Calgary Police Commission from 2016 to 2019, Brian ensured the Calgary Police Service was held accountable while creating opportunities for citizens and advocacy groups to give input on safety topics that affect their lives.
Grant MacEwan Lifetime Achievement – Eva Friesen. For three decades, Eva has provided effective leadership in our city’s not-for-profit sector including the YWCA and Calgary Health Trust, as the current President and CEO of Calgary Foundation and as the first female President of the Rotary Club of Calgary Downtown.
The International Achievement Award – Dr. Janaka Y. Ruwanpura. In his dual roles at the University of Calgary as professor at the Schulich School of Engineering, as well as Vice-Provost, International, Dr. Ruwanpura has helped build the international reputation of the university and the city.
Arts – Colin Jackson. As an advocate, entrepreneur and changemaker, Colin has engaged Calgarians and led organizations to build a vibrant arts and culture scene in our community.
Commerce – Bryan de Lottinville is the founder of Benevity, providing companies such as Amazon, Google and Nike with a software platform to engage their employees and customers in supporting the causes that matter to them most.
Community Advocate (Individual) – Ken Lima-Coelho. A leader and passionate volunteer, Ken has given his time and talents to the Calgary community, most notably YMCA Calgary.
Community Advocate (Organization) – Leftovers Foundation. Each week, volunteers distribute 6,000 pounds of surplus food to service agencies that ensure it is redirected into the hands of those that need it most, while diverting waste from our landfills.
Education – Dr. David Keegan developed and implemented a formal curriculum at the University of Calgary that increased the number of medical students pursuing family medicine as a specialty.
Heritage – Rob Lennard. Also known as “The History Wrangler,” Rob showcases his passion for Calgary`s history as Historian and Director of Education and Outreach at the Historic Bow Valley Ranche and at local elementary schools.
Youth – Azaad Gill is President of the Alberta chapter of FUSE Society, a youth-led, national organization that educates youth in entrepreneurship and business literacy. He also successfully lobbied for a safer crosswalk in the Panorama Hills community.
The Award for Accessibility – Calgary Public Library, Central Library. With over a million visitors since its opening in 2018, the library has created an accessible building that welcomes all patrons regardless of age and ability.
The Environmental Achievement Award – RiverWatch Institute of Alberta, CreekWatch Citizen Science Program. Volunteers from corporate and community groups monitor river habitats and collect water quality data to protect Calgary’s precious waterways. The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize – Sharon Butala, Season of Fury and Wonder. This beautifully paced collection of stories presents the lives of aging women who have seen much in life and felt the joy of success, but also the sting of shortcomings.
You can learn more about each recipient at calgary.ca/calgaryawards