• Gina LaPointe, CD receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    November 9th, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson, Orléans Ward Councillor Bob Monette and Cumberland Ward Councillor Stephen Blais presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Gina LaPointe at today’s City Council meeting.

    Gina LaPointe is the President of the Orléans Community Garden which currently hosts 70 plots for gardeners from the community. Since retiring as a military police officer in 2006, Gina has donated much of her time to the community garden and was elected President in November 2010. Since then, the garden has flourished with improvements that include the installation of two sheds for the gardeners, the installation of a solar panel pump system which was a first in the City of Ottawa, and most recently, the addition of beehives on the land, which is permitted due to its agricultural zoning. On top of her role and responsibilities with the garden, Gina is also a beekeeper and has been looking after the bees since their arrival.

    Gina’s passion for the community garden has been an inspiration to many in the community including local ward Councillor Bob Monette, who has been involved in this project since its inception. Having been a gardener for a number of years, Councillor Monette was proud to recognize Gina at his bi-annual Volunteer Recognition Evening in 2011.

    For the past three years, the Orléans Community Garden has opened its doors to members of the public as part of Ottawa Garden Day. This year, Gina was instrumental in having Mark Burleton, Head Gardener for the Governor General’s House, attend Garden Day which is an incredible accomplishment considering his limited amount of public appearances.

    The Orléans Community Garden was established to provide a community space for the residents of Orléans to grow local, organic produce and to promote gardening as a healthy and cost-effective activity while educating community members on the practice and benefits of gardening. . The Orléans Community Garden gives back to the community by donating fresh produce to the Ottawa Mission which is used to prepare healthy and delicious meals for their clients. The gardeners who chose to donate food leave it in one of the sheds and Gina then cleans every item donated and delivers it personally to the Ottawa Mission every Tuesday morning.

  • Louise Staranczak and Frances Kane receive City Builder Award

    October 12th, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Gloucester-South Nepean Ward Councillor Michael Qaqish presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Louise Staranczak and Frances Kane at today’s City Council meeting.

    For the past four years, Ms. Staranczak and Ms. Kane have been the driving forces behind the rejuvenation of the gardens surrounding the Carleton Lodge Long Term Care Facility. Both these women have brought beauty and peace to the Carleton Lodge in an immeasurable way. Because of their tireless work, the immaculately kept gardens brimming with colour and life is inspiring to all who walk by.

    Together they have officially logged more than 700 hours of work on the gardens this year alone. Most at the Carleton Lodge know the two spend countless more hours unofficially working on the gardens. It is also known that Ms. Staranczak and Ms. Kane are incredibly humble about their work, as they seek no praise or gratitude.

    Ms. Staranczak and Ms. Kane have been instrumental in the complete reconstruction of the aviary garden at the main entrance of the Carleton Lodge. They have also added an entrance garden near the ramps gardens and completely refurbished a courtyard and chef’s garden. In addition to their daily work on the gardens, Ms. Staranczak and Ms. Kane supervise and mentor a group of volunteer gardeners of all ages, from teenagers to seniors.

    The duo does not rest in the winter months. They take advantage of this time to propagate plants for the next season and care for the many indoor plants. Undoubtedly, the two bring joy to the residents, staff and visitors of the Carleton Lodge year-round.

    The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual, group or organization that has, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements.

    Individuals, groups or organizations may be nominated by members of City Council or the public.

    The award is presented at the beginning of each City Council meeting.

  • Giuseppe Nicastro receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    September 28, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and River Ward Councillor Riley Brockington presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Giuseppe Nicastro at today’s City Council meeting.

    One of Ottawa’s finest entrepreneurs, Mr. Nicastro is highly respected for both his business acumen and his community benevolence. He has strong convictions in building a robust Italian-Canadian community in Ottawa, and has become the go-to person for organizations seeking support and assistance.

    As Board Director at the Villa Marconi Long-Term Care Center, Mr. Nicastro has worked hard to establish his vision for excellent care. He has even taken the time to become a volunteer committee member to improve the lives of all the residents at the facility. Mr. Nicastro also supports the St. Anthony’s Church and numerous other local community associations and charities.

    Mr. Nicastro is an established business person, and the success of the Nicastro Fine Foods has become a pillar in the community, offering Italian culture to all. In addition to this achievement, he has used his leadership skills and business expertise to help found both the Circolo Recreativo Cleto and the Milan Club of Ottawa. Mr. Nicastro has truly managed to build the local economy with an international sensibility.

  • Frances and Ronald MacDonell receive Mayor’s City Builder Award

    August 31, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Osgoode Councillor George Darouze presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Frances and Ronald MacDonell at today’s City Council meeting.

    Mr. and Mrs. MacDonell have devoted a great deal of time and energy to their vital community charity work. They have spent over two decades collecting, cleaning and distributing an array of goods to many local charities. This they always do with admirably good humour, rain or shine.

    Among their notable charitable efforts, the couple has tirelessly contributed to the Saint-Louis Residence’s twice-a-year bazaar. Over the years, with the help of the MacDonells, these bazaars have become the most significant fundraising events for the Saint-Louis Residence, with funds going directly to the improvement of the residents’ lives and comfort. The MacDonells also take the time to shop at the bazaar and encourage their granddaughters to participate.

    Between Saint-Louis Residence bazaars, the MacDonells collect items such as clothing, kitchenware, food and so much more for other charitable organizations like The Ottawa Mission and The Sisters of Charity of Ottawa. Thanks to the MacDonells, newcomers have been given warm clothing to help them cope with their first long Canadian winter.

    The MacDonells are known for always having a positive outlook, being good natured and having generous hearts. The community they serve is certainly improved by their hard work.

  • Girls+ Skate 613 receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    July 13, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Somerset Ward Councillor Catherine McKenney presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to skateboarding organization Girls+ Skate 613 at today’s City Council meeting.

    Girls+ Skate 613 builds community, diversity and inclusion by providing a safe space for individuals of all ages, abilities and genders to skateboard in a comfortable, encouraging environment.

    The organization began as Girls Only Sessions at the McNabb Community Centre in 2006. Girls+ Skate 613 is now a permanent initiative supported by the Ottawa Skateboard Community Association (OSCA), and membership has doubled each year since 2013.

    Recognizing that girls, women, members of the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized groups do not have the same opportunities in sports, OSCA and Girls+ Skate 613 are dedicated to empowering individuals who might not have other opportunities to participate in this sport. Girls+ Skate 613 and OSCA work together to support barrier-free skateboarding by providing equipment, facilitating spaces for skating, hosting events, providing resources and education, and fundraising.

    The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual, group or organization that has, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements.

    Individuals, groups or organizations may be nominated by members of City Council or the public.

    The award is presented at the beginning of each City Council meeting.

    For additional information, visit ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with us through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


     

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    Three men receive Commendations for Bravery for their role in fire rescue

    July 13, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Cumberland Ward Councillor Stephen Blais presented City of Ottawa Commendations for Bravery to realtor Geoff Walker and asphalting workers Owen Cole and Alex Deschamps at today’s City Council meeting. The three honorees helped to rescue two men from a house fire on Melette Crescent in the Avalon community of Orléans on June 18.

    Mr. Walker, Mr. Cole and Mr. Deschamps happened to be driving by when they heard a dog barking and saw smoke coming from a townhouse. Mr. Walker broke a window and they entered to look for people inside who might be incapacitated. They found and evacuated two men, one of whom was unconscious.

    The fire destroyed four of the six homes in a row of townhouses and significantly damaged the other two, as well as another house behind the row. At least 20 people were displaced because of the fire.

     

     

  • Divya Massilamani, outstanding youth volunteer, receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    Mayor Jim Watson and Innes Ward Councillor Jody Mitic presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Divya Massilamani at today’s City Council meeting.

    Ms. Massilamani is currently a third-year Bachelor of Science student at the University of Ottawa. She has known for most of her life that she wants to be a physician, but her volunteer work with children at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in the Oncology and Hematology department since 2011 has inspired her to work towards becoming a pediatrician specializing in oncology.

    Her wide-ranging volunteer work includes:

    • Assisting residents of the Leisureworld Caregiving Centre Madonna long-term care community in Orléans with activities, meals and transportation
    • Helping young patients in the Oncology and Hematology unit at CHEO
    • Helping children with special needs at the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre preschool and summer school programs
    • Offering her help as an English as a Second Language (ESL) tutor to students at Carine Wilson Secondary School through the Literacy Partners program, specifically helping high-school students to prepare for the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, a requirement for graduation
    • At UOttawa, working as the treasurer of the World Vision Club and the treasurer/secretary of The Abhiladasha Project, both non-profit associations that help families and children. World Vision battles poverty, while the Abhiladasha Project helps provide education to children with special needs. She also volunteers at the Piano Pedagogy Research Laboratory.

    She has received many awards for her hard work, dedication and hundreds of hours of volunteering. Notably, last year she received the United Way Community Builder Award for her work with older adults at the Leisureworld Caregiving Centre Madonna, and her name has recently been added to the United Way Wall of Inspiration at City Hall. She also received the 2015 Hospital Auxiliary Association of Ontario Student Award for her service at CHEO.

  • Al and Betty Arseneault, Crystal Beach–Lakeview outdoor rink volunteers, receive Mayor’s City Builder Award

    Mayor Jim Watson and Bay Ward Councillor Mark Taylor presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Al and Betty Arseneault at today’s City Council meeting.

    The Arseneaults are longtime residents of Crystal Beach-Lakeview. Their love of outdoor sports – hockey, skating and curling in particular – fondness for their neighbourhood, and enthusiasm for building community come together in their commitment as volunteers, working with the City’s Seasonal Recreation branch, to construct, create and maintain an outdoor arena and separate three-sheet curling rink in Lakeview Park each winter.

    Al is well known as the first volunteer rink operator in the city to get his boards in place, the first to coax skate-worthy ice out of an early cold snap, the most meticulous at maintaining the ice (it’s near NHL quality), and very quick to clear any snowfall. This means the retired public servant has to make himself available 24/7 during the outdoor skating season to flood and groom the ice, sometimes trucking loads of Zamboni ice shavings from nearly indoor arenas to fill in spots after a melt. Al also helps the Seasonal Recreation staff to train and coach new rink volunteers each fall at the start of the winter season.

    The curling rink has three full-size sheets with all the correct markings, and the Arseneaults host an annual Lakeview Outdoor Bonspiel that is always fully booked with enthusiastic curlers from all over the Ottawa Valley. Local indoor curling clubs lend the rocks for curling events.

    Thanks to Al and Betty, Crystal Beach-Lakeview and area residents, from young kids wobbling on their first pair of skates to seniors enjoying a game of shinny, are fortunate enough to have free high-quality winter recreation opportunities at their local park.

    The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual, group or organization that has, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements.

    Individuals, groups or organizations may be nominated by members of City Council or the public.

    The award is presented at the beginning of each City Council meeting.

  • Donna Gray receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    Mayor Jim Watson and Somerset Ward Councillor Catherine McKenney presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Donna Gray at today’s City Council meeting. Donna was recognized for her community-building efforts in the Rochester Heights community of Ottawa Community Housing (OCH).

    A resident of Rochester Heights for the past seven years, Donna is a vital connector and resource to fellow residents, helping them to locate and navigate all kinds of supports – from public transit to household furnishings to access to fresh, affordable food. She is a community leader who nurtures friendship, dignity, and a sense of belonging and being respected.

    In 2010, she was a driving force in a community-wide effort to build two new play structures for the families of Rochester Heights. With her help the community raised $33,000 and built the play areas and structures together.

    She was also instrumental in neighbourhood revitalization projects such as repaving the basketball courts and applying for OCH community capital grants used to install picnic tables and flower planters at every unit.

    Donna works for the Somerset West Community Health Centre and is the coordinator of Good Food Markets, which improves access to healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables in low-income communities. When Good Food Markets were piloted in 2012, Donna carried out the initial needs assessment, insuring a strong foundation for the project and the best possible service for families.

    She recruits volunteers for each market day, building community and offering job experience to community members. She continues to advocate for more funding for Good Food Markets to increase food security for low-income families.

  • Tysen Lefebvre receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    March 23rd, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Stittsville Ward Councillor Shad Qadri presented a Mayor’s City Builder Award to Tysen Lefebvre at today’s City Council meeting. The 15-year-old youth was recognized for his tireless and enthusiastic work to raise funds for Make-a-Wish Eastern Ontario to make big wishes come true for children with life-threatening illnesses.

    In November 2012, Tysen had his own wish granted: to fly to Los Angeles to meet his hero, actor Adam Sandler, who does extensive philanthropic work while filming movies and raising his family. The actor’s generosity and hard work inspired Tysen to launch Mission to a Million the next year, an ongoing fundraising project to raise $1 million for Make-a-Wish so 100 local kids can have their wishes come true.

    This was a lofty goal for Tysen, who has Pfeiffer Syndrome Type 2, a rare genetic disorder that affects the skull, facial features and limbs. He had his first operation when he was nine days old and, by the time he was three, he had spent more than half of his life in hospital. He has more surgeries in his future, but he is always planning and working on how he can make life better for others.

    Tysen has a website (missiontoamillion.ca) and a Facebook page devoted to the campaign, but it is the time he puts into being the face and voice of Mission to a Million that has made it a remarkable success. To date he has inspired businesses, schools, children’s groups, philanthropic organizations and individuals to raise more than $360,000, and on March 14 he was on hand for the presentation of the 46th wish of the campaign. He says every time the funds raised by Mission to a Million grant a wish, it feels like having his own wish granted again.

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  • Elizabeth Dessureault receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    February 24, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Kitchissippi Ward Councillor Jeff Leiper presented a Mayor’s City Builder Award to Elizabeth Dessureault at today’s City Council meeting. She was recognized for her contributions to lung cancer awareness, research, treatment and patient advocacy.

    In April 2015, Elizabeth, a lifelong non-smoker, was diagnosed with stage IIIB (late stage) lung cancer. She was 25 and five months pregnant for her first child. She was told her cancer was incurable and she was given a year at most to live.

    As a teacher, newlywed (to Dax Dessureault, an RCMP officer) and mother-to-be, she refused to accept the prognosis and had her tissue sent to the United States for genetic testing. The tests revealed a rare genetic mutation called ROS-1, which meant her tumour could be treated with a pill.

    She also intensively researched lung cancer and found that, while it is the most frequent killer among cancers, the stigma attached to lung cancer as a smoker’s disease means a disproportionately low share of cancer research funding is allocated to it. She decided to become an advocate for lung cancer awareness and to do all she can to change the image, and the conversation, around lung cancer.

    She offered her services as a spokesperson and fundraiser to Lung Cancer Canada and Team Draft, a lung cancer awareness, research and advocacy organization in the States founded in 2011 by NFL player Chris Draft and his late wife Keasha. Elizabeth’s central message is “If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer”.

    She raised funds for lung cancer awareness last fall by designing and manufacturing white leather “Just Breathe” bracelets, which raised over $10,000 during November and December for Lung Cancer Canada, Team Draft, and the Ottawa General Hospital to help fund their planned Molecular Oncology Diagnostics Laboratory. Having a laboratory in Ottawa will help make genetic profiling of tumours a standard part of medical care, allowing physicians to determine which medications will work best for a particular patient.

    She blogs about her battle with cancer at fromlizzieslungs.wordpress.com.

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