Burlington honours its best

What makes Burlington so great? Our great volunteers of course.

On May 8 at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, seven winners were chosen out of 28 for the Burlington's Best Awards.

"The Committee put in some long hours to select the winners as each nominees’ submission had very compelling arguments to be the winner," said Calah Brooks, Chair of Burlington’s Best Committee. "In the end, they’re all winners and we’re so thankful for all the work they’ve done to help make Burlington the best place to live, work and play.”

Joan Downey -- The winner of the Heritage Award

Joan is a passionate volunteer who supports the community with her efforts. She has been a member of the Burlington Historical Society for more than five years and is a strong and reliable volunteer.

Joan has transformed the archives into a well-structured, meaningful archival system. With teamwork as one of her strengths, she coordinates and supports the archival volunteers. Joan performs an essential and much needed function for the Burlington Historical Society as a key member of the outreach team and has been involved with various projects such as oral histories presentations.

Greg and Andrea Howard -- Community Service Award

Greg and Andrea Howard are passionate and dedicated in supporting their community. They responded to a tragic loss by creating a way to make the community more informed about mental health. Greg and Andrea organize an annual hockey tournament called Ty’s Tourney in memory of their youngest son Tyler who died by suicide.

Iroquoia Bruce Trail Club -- Environmental Award

The Iroquoia Bruce Trail Club’s local volunteers are a dedicated group of individuals who are passionate about the environment. They maintain 36 kms of trail in Burlington and they are the largest non-governmental organization preserving natural lands in Burlington.

In 2018, the group purchased Fisher’s Pond Nature Reserve, which permanently secures 1.1 km of the Bruce Trail and preserve 87 acres of significant Niagara Escarpment habitat in Burlington.

Hayley Verrall – The K.W. Irmisch Award for the Arts Person of the Year

Hayley is a dedicated individual whose talents in art and passion for performing have contributed to Burlington. She has been an active member of the community, using her talents to support local individuals and organizations.

Hayley has performed at several nursing and long-term care homes as part of her Singing for Smiles program, aimed at bringing classic country music to individuals who are unable to travel easily.

She was chosen by Ontario Country Music Associations – International to represent Burlington in Tennessee, USA. Hayley is a very community-centric artist whose talent and heart are always present.

Keziah Oduro -- Junior Citizen of the Year

Keziah is committed to the community, shows empathy and is confident in her abilities. She is a leader among her peers and is dedicated to attaining a high-level of achievement. Keziah has been the elected representative for her grade and sports liaison at Notre Dame High School.

She was elected co-Prime Minister by her peers in high school. Keziah has worked collaboratively with teachers, administration, council and students to encourage school spirit and motivate change. She also volunteers at Joseph Brant Hospital and at her church.

Trudy Csernyei -- Senior Person of the Year

Trudy is an inspiration for our community and sees the need for bringing citizens together. She has organized a group of seniors and offers activities that allows them to use their skill sets and offers a sense of togetherness.

Her group has grown to 180 seniors who gather on Monday afternoons. Each week, Trudy and the group gather items for children in need overseas for Canadian Food for Children.

Karen Phelps -- Citizen of the Year Award

Karen is truly inspired by helping others and encourages engagement in the community. She has contributed to Alderfest, Aldershot Community Honor Roll, Next-door Social Space and Burlington Age-Friendly Council.

Karen founded the Warwick-Surrey Community Association, the Partnership West Food Bank and Partnering Aldershot. She also organized the Aldershot Garden Festival and the Melon Ball.