Friday February 2nd 2024, found me once again surrounded by glitz and glamour at the Ramada where the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce was hosting the 36th Business Excellence Awards & 52nd Citizen of the Year of 2023.
There were a lot of familiar faces around the room and of course two very familiar faces, Bill Halman and Dan Allaire, were MCing the evening that honours outstanding businesses and exceptional individuals in Cornwall, Akwesasne, Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry!
Before the awards commenced thanks went out the sponsors of this event. Title Sponsor – MNP, Reception Sponsor – St. Lawrence College, Hors D’ouvres & Champagne Sponsor – Kawartha Credit Union, Location Sponsor – Ramada Inn and Desjardins.
Speeches from Chamber President, Gina Scandrett and Mayor Justin Towndale were followed by the awards which began with the “New Business Award” sponsored by: Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre. Nominees were: Lost Villages Brewery, MacDonell Family Physiotherapy and Tight Lines Tackle
and the winner of the “New Business Award” is Lost Villages Brewery.
The awards continued with the “Tourism Excellence Award” sponsored by Cornwall Tourism. Nominees were: Rush Hour Escapes Cornwall, St. Lawrence Marathon and Stonehouse Vineyard
and the winner of the “Tourism Excellence Award” is St. Lawrence Marathon – Sebastian Warner
Next was the “Inclusion and Diversity Award” sponsored by Rozon Insurance Brokers Ltd. Nominees were: Different Abilities, The Happy Popcorn Co. and Seaway Valley Theatre Company
and the winner of the “Inclusion and Diversity Award” is Different Abilities
Then we had the “Entrepreneur of the Year Award” sponsored by: Cornwall Ontario – Choose Cornwall. Nominees were: Caitlyn Champagne of Champagne & Co. Events, Andy & Karen Rorabeck of Rurban Brewing and Wendy Grant of Cornwall City Press – The Sign Factory
and the winner of the “Entrepreneur of the Year Award” is Wendy Grant of Cornwall City Press -The Sign Factory
Next was the “Small to Medium Business Award” sponsored by: ACCFutures Nominees were: Floral Expressions, Marlin Orchards & Garden Centre and Shah’s GRILL
and the winner of the “Small to Medium Business Award” is Marlin’s Orchards & Garden Centre
Followed by the “Community Impact Award” sponsored by: Cogeco, Ontario. Nominees were:Centre 105, Cornwall Kinsmen Farmers’ Market and Shoeless Joe’s Sports Grill
and the winner of the “Community Impact Award” is Centre 105
Next was the “Young Professional Award” sponsored by: Eastern Ontario Training Board – Commission de formation de l’Est ontarien. Nominees were: Brad Robertson of Menard & Robertson and Alpine Design Co., Katie Hope of Balloon Babes and Kelly & Tyson Back of Fire Loom Creations
and the winner of the “Young Professional Award” is Brad Robertson of Menard & Robertson
Then we had the “Environmental Impact Award” sponsored by: BMO Financial Group. Nominees were: Fraser Creek Pizza Farm, Laminacorr Ind. and Relove Dress Rentals
and the winner of the “Environmental Impact Award” is Laminacorr Industries Inc.
The “Large Business Award” sponsored by sponsored by: McDougall Insurance & Financial was next. Nominees were Alexandria Moulding, Demolition Plus and Emard Bros. Lumber
and the winner of the “Large Business Award” is Demolition Plus.
Next came the “Lifetime Achievement Award”. There were no nominees listed for this award. Quoted from the program “Cornwall boasts an enviable group of longstanding professionals. These individuals have not only made their mark in the world of commerce, they enhance the community as a whole”. This award was presented by MNP and when in the description of the individual I heard the words “nerdy” and ” 39 years” I know exactly who was being honoured with this award. Congratulations goes out to the winner Randy Sauve of Fantasy Realm and his wife Carol Sauve for bringing CAPE to our community. (seen in photo above)
Finally the moment that we were all waiting for – the “Citizen of the Year 2023 Award”. This award was presented by the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce and the description of the recipient was read by the 2022 Citizen of the Year, Lynn Chauvin. Again, it took me a while to figure out the winner from Lynn’s description but as soon as I heard the words “Town Crier” I knew that the award went to Wes Libbey, an individual who again, quoted from tonight’s program “has demonstrated exceptional leadership, unwavering dedication and has made a positive and lasting impact for Cornwall and this surrounding area”. Wes is seen above with 2022 Citizen of the Year Lynn Chauvin, his wife, and Chamber President, Gina Scandrett. This is a very serious award and I did take many photos of Wes but my favourite has to be the header photo that truly shows his character, serious but fun and caring all at the same time. I also took this fun photo (below) with Wes and the 2 ladies who nominated him, Jane McLaren and Kathleen Hay.
From Wes’ thank you speech I remember him saying, “Stand up to be seen. Speak up to be heard and sit down to be appreciated. After receiving his award Wes did indeed go back to his table to sit down and I’m sure I can speak for everyone in the room “Wes Libbey, the 2023 Citizen of the Year” is definitely an individual in our community who is appreciated for everything he has done but when asked how he felt tonight, he said “surprised and humbled”.
So ended the awards portion of the evening. A huge thank you goes out to Angela Bero of the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce who, with her team organized this classy event that continued with dancing and mingling to celebrate all the nominees and winners who make our community the wonderful place that it is!
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