• Mayor’s City Builder Award – John Higgins

    Mayor Jim Watson, with Somerset Ward Councillor Diane Holmes, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to John Higgins for his outstanding volunteer work and contributions to the community.

    Over the past 10 years, Mr. Higgins has been an active member of the Elgin Street Public School. Parent Council as Treasurer, Council Co-Chair and is currently Fundraising Chair. He is Assistant Coach of the girl’s soccer team and also the Elgin Street P.S. Accommodation Review Committee Representative for the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and Treasurer of the Ottawa Carleton Assembly of School Councils.

    Every student in the school benefits from the tireless energy that Mr. Higgins exerts in collecting books and item donations from all over the city, making the annual fundraiser a tremendous success. As a result of his efforts, students are able to attend and host many special events.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Phil Nguyen

    Mayor Jim Watson, with West Carleton-March Ward Councillor Eli El-Chantiry, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Phil Nguyen for his outstanding volunteer work and contributions to the community.

    With his wife Amelia, Mr. Nguyen co-created and has taught the award-winning Bully Bustersprogram to more than 1,000 school children and raised $4,000 for non-profit organizations such as the Western Ottawa Community Resources Centre and Child and Youth Friendly Ottawa.Bully Busters teaches children and youth skills in assertiveness, communication and martial arts to respond to bullying and other schoolyard conflicts in a confident, non-physical and peaceful manner.

    Mr. Ngyuen is also active in supporting youth education in entrepreneurship and was the keynote speaker for the 2006 Canadian Junior Achievement Conference held in Ottawa which attracted more than 175 students from around the world who are destined to be future entrepreneurial success stories. He was also the keynote speaker at the Young Entrepreneurs Business Awards in 2007 where he motivated more than 300 high school student entrepreneurs to conquer their fears and follow their dreams.

    Among other community and motivational activities, Mr. Nguyen has been a member, president, area governor, club mentor and contest champion for the non-profit Toastmasters International, leading, motivating, coaching and mentoring hundreds of individuals to help them improve their communication and leadership skills.

    He and his wife Amelia have also delivered the ABCs of Self-Defence, teaching students in local schools as well as Boy Scouts and Girl Guides safety tips, self-empowerment strategies and self-defence techniques. In 2006 he also served as MC for World Religion Day in Ottawa, an event that attracts adherents of various faiths to promote oneness of the world’s religions.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Coralie Lalonde

    Mayor Jim Watson, with Rideau-Goulbourn Ward Councillor Scott Moffatt, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Coralie Lalonde for her outstanding volunteer work in the community.

    Passionate about supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders, Ms.Lalonde is co-founder, board member, former chair and volunteer organizer of the Tech Venture Challenge, sparking entrepreneurial spirit among post-secondary students in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario by encouraging them to act on ideas, providing mentorship with successful CEOs and providing networking opportunities with the business community.

    Ms. Lalonde has also been a volunteer for various young entrepreneur programs including Junior Achievement of Ottawa-Carleton where she served as board chair, SHAD Valley, the Entrepreneurship Centre, OCRI, the Carleton Biz Camp, the Lemonade Stand Competition, Lead to Win, Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, Algonquin College, TIE, Venture Creations Group, the Ottawa Network and Adventures in High Tech.

    Apart from the entrepreneurship sector, Ms. Lalonde was a volunteer with Volunteer Ottawa for 11 years, including as board chair, co-founder of ENGAGE, a program to encourage business leaders to become engaged in their community, a volunteer with the Community Foundation of Ottawa, serving on the board for five years, and a co-founder of the Social Venture Challenge, which encourages students to use their talents to find solutions to community problems.

    Passionate about animal welfare, Ms. Lalonde has been a volunteer for the Ottawa Humane Society and a campaigner for the new facility, and a volunteer for The Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre, Paws for Life, Trinity of Hope, the West Quebec SPCA and Navan Animal Rescue.

    Also dedicated to quality health care in the community, Ms. Lalonde has been a volunteer and board member for both the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and the Ottawa Heart Institute Research Corporation and a volunteer advisor for FM-CFS Canada.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Pierre Gauthier

    Mayor Jim Watson, with Alta Vista Ward Councillor Peter Hume, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Pierre Gauthier for his community-minded dedication in managing, maintaining and operating the Brewer Park Speed Skating Oval and Skating Park for the past seven years.

    Mr. Gauthier has maintained the Brewer Park Speed Skating Oval and two hockey rinks from October to March for the past seven years, investing a considerable amount of his own time. He involves the local hockey association, the Ottawa Pacers, the Gloucester Concordes Speed Skating clubs, the City of Ottawa and volunteers.

    The Brewer Park Speed Skating Oval is the only long track speed skating oval serving Eastern and Southern Ontario and adheres to Speed Skating Canada specifications, enabling Ottawa to host the Ontario Provincial Speed Skating Championships every two years. All the area’s nationally ranked speed skaters, including recently retired four-time Olympic medalist Kristina Groves and Leo Landry from Chelsea, Que. have skated at the oval. In the winter of 2010-11 alone, 75 per cent of the speed skaters representing Ontario at the Halifax Canada Winter Games were from Ottawa and all practised at the oval.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Ruweida Shire

    Mayor Jim Watson, with Rideau-Vanier Ward Councillor Mathieu Fleury, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Ruweida Shire for her volunteer activities and selfless contributions in Ottawa.

    Ms. Shire founded the Strathcona Heights Homework Club with only two participants and through the years has achieved major success with the number of students increasing to more than 150.

    Operating at the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, the Strathcona Heights Homework Club provides students from Grade 1 to Grade 12 with an educational after-school program throughout the year and a day program during the summer. It provides an essential service to youths in the community by providing participants with free educational assistance, tutoring and mentoring.

    The majority of participants live in Strathcona Heights, home to one of the largest Ottawa Community Housing developments. The program strives to educate and provide safe and fun activities to combat negative societal influences by creating a safe haven for youths to interact with peers and role models. The program is completely volunteer-led and the students rely on the generous support of volunteers like Ms. Shire.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Maurice Bilodeau

    Mayor Jim Watson, with Alta Vista Ward Councillor Peter Hume, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Maurice Bilodeau for his volunteer activities and selfless contributions in Ottawa.

    Now 85, and a veteran of Second World War combat duty in Europe, Maurice returned to Holland in 1995 to commemorate the thousands of young Canadian soldiers who never returned home. He was surprised by the avid interest that many young Dutch students expressed in the Second World War and after speaking of life in 1944, they provided him with a big “Thank You” poster.

    This planted the seed of an idea and once back in Ottawa, Maurice contacted a few teachers at area schools and offered to visit classrooms to help students understand the hardships of a soldier and the horrors of war. He has since visited many schools and informed students with his honest, first-person account of life at the front.

    Maurice also spends two days a week volunteering at the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre on Russell Road in Alta Vista Ward where he spends time with and assists residents and patiently shares experiences with them. He received the 2006 Caring Canadian Award presented by then Governor General Michaëlle Jean.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Lionel Laurin of Orléans

    Mayor Jim Watson today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Lionel Laurin of Orléans for his dedication and contribution to many volunteer activities in the city over the years.

    Since the 1960s, Lionel Laurin has dedicated himself to volunteer efforts in support of many causes within the community. He worked in conjunction with CFRA and local schools to raise literacy awareness and support the establishment of libraries in the north.

    He has assisted in raising funds for colon cancer research and in support of the local Boy Scouts. He has made donations in support of the Navan International Ploughing Match and he co-organized a Heart and Stroke Foundation fundraising event with the local Legion that raised some $10,000. Mr. Laurin has also been active in helping the Divine Infant Church in raising funds to assist single mothers. Finally, Mr. Laurin has been integral to the development and continued growth of the Orléans Community Garden.

    Mr. Laurin is the owner of the very successful Orléans Ace Body Shop. His community involvement and dedication truly defines the term philanthropist and is a testament to his desire to help improve his community for everyone.

  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Daniel Richer

    Mayor Jim Watson today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Daniel Richer, Town Crier, for his dedication and support of many notable causes in the city over the years.

    Since 1981, Mr. Richer has proudly represented both sides of the National Capital Region. He was Ontario’s Provincial Herald from 1984 to 1993. He has refined his art into a science and given workshops on the techniques of proper breathing and projection, formed new town criers for other communities and attained an international reputation.

    Mr. Richer has worked across Canada, the U.S. and around the world and has won several Town Crier Championships at the North American and International level. He has proclaimed in more than 20 languages at a variety of events ranging from ambassador’s evenings to rock concerts.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Mohamed Sofa

    Mayor Jim Watson and Beacon Hill-Cyrville Ward Councillor Tim Tierney today presented Mohamed Sofa with the Mayor’s City Builder Award at the City Council meeting.

    Mr. Sofa is a respected community activist and community builder who has had a significant positive impact through engagement in his neighbourhood by identifying needs and seeking positive solutions. He is a strong role model for youth in the west end of Ottawa and started volunteering and helping neighbourhood youth at an early age. He helped to initiate and implement homework clubs, soccer teams, basketball leagues, sports nights, and celebrations for youth and other community members.

    He is one of the founders of Young Somali Professionals of North America-Ottawa Branch (YSPNA-OB) whose mission is to provide professional development and networking opportunities for Somali professionals and to create social and business community enhancement projects and advocacy for Somali professionals in the Ottawa area.

    Mr. Sofa is also chairperson of and helped to establish in 2003 the Somali Youth Basketball League (SYBL), a non-profit organization which aims to provide an affordable venue to help youth and young adults, especially those considered to be at risk, develop leadership, social and basketball skills and become more confident. The league serves more than 200 youth from across the city.

    He is a member of the board of directors at the Britannia Community House and the Catholic Immigration Centre and as a community youth worker at Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre, he supported the development of the Somali Youth Support Project in the west end. He has been instrumental in engaging youth and parents by developing positive relationships and building trust.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Mr. John Gooch

    Mayor Jim Watson, with Kanata South Councillor Allan Hubley, today presented Mr. John Gooch with the Mayor’s City Builder Award at the City Council meeting.

    Mr. Gooch, 86, who served in the British Army from 1942 to 1947 and emigrated to Canada in 1957, moved to Kanata in 1966 and has been deeply involved in volunteer activities for several decades. As an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 638 in Kanata, John was responsible for fundraising, construction and dedication of Kanata’s Cenotaph, completed in 1998. He subsequently arranged for the donation of 20 trees, each with a memorial plaque, a central stone, flagpole and commemorative plaque for the Cenotaph.

    John has remained involved in the annual poppy campaign and in 2001 was instrumental in researching names for community parks in Kanata. His research assisted in the decision to name nine parks after Canadian veterans who served overseas, including five Victoria Cross recipients.

    John has received the Kanata Volunteer award, a church volunteer award and the 1998 Mentor Award from the City of Kanata. He is also a Legionnaire, a lifetime member of the Kiwanis Club, a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs Commendation and Insignia granted by the Governor General in 2006.


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