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New Westminster Platinum Awards, 2022
It was a glittery social affair last Thursday evening, November 4th at the Anvil Centre in New Westminster. It was the annual Platinum Award Celebration put on by the Chamber of Commerce to honour the city's outstanding businesses and people.
To begin, New Westminster's movers and shakers were able to hobnob 'in person' over tasty canapés and wine, after a long Covid-caused social drought.
Among those who attended were MLA Jennifer Whiteside, Mayor Patrick Johnstone, a number of city councillors, business leaders, and representatives of the many sponsors, most notably, from Douglas College, the principal sponsor of the event. And of course, the Chamber's executives.
The award ceremony in the starry-decorated theatre was well-conceived and executed. It moved along at a enjoyable pace, thanks, in part, to local citizen Vanessa Woznow, the Master of Ceremonies, who sprinkled the show with her delightful humour.
Chief Rhonda Larrabee of the Qayqayt First Nation, which originally occupied the city's land, opened the event with some thoughtful words on reconciliation. Over the course of the evening, 13 awards were given out to individuals and businesses who played important roles in growing and boosting the local economy, particularly notable after a rough couple of years.
The award categories were wide-ranging including ones for business service, tourism, environmental leadership, etc. Awards were also given to champions of equity, diversity and inclusion; new businesses; businesses led by female identified entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations and more.
Recognizing that a strong cultural landscape is important to business growth and development, an award was given to Artist of the Year, as was the Bernie Legge Cultural Award which is given out every year to honour a person who or organization that has demonstrated distinctive cultural significance to the community.
S^yohah won for Artist of the Year, and the Bernie Legge Cultural Award was awarded to Richard Chapman, who has been involved in various capacities creating culturally-related shows for the community.
Last but not least, the Citizen of the Year Award was given out to Elaine Su, a local elementary teacher/librarian who has worked hard to find books for children who are not well-represented in them, for example, children who are bi-racial, neurodiverse, etc. She also got a small community grant to extend her work to the larger community – it was a very popular program, more popular than expected.
Kudos to the Chamber of Commerce for putting on a first-class evening. A special shout-out to Shae Fowler, the event manager, and her co-producer and Executive Director of the New Westminster Chamber, Angie Whitfield.
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