The process of great city-building is an evolving and ongoing endeavour. Good ideas emerge and are continuously improved upon to achieve success. As such, Downtown revitalization is considered to be an ongoing campaign rather than a project or program.
Marianne Williamson, a renowned author and lecturer once said that:
“In every community there is work to be done. In every heart there is the power to do it.”
In 2016, the Heart of Our City Committee commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Heart of Our City Master Plan with a celebratory event. The event, which recognized individuals, businesses and organizations for their outstanding efforts in enhancing our downtown, was well-received. There are still many outstanding individuals, businesses and organizations deserving of special recognition so the Heart of Our City Committee has decided to hold the event again this year.
The HOC is inviting the community to nominate the individuals, businesses, organizations and programs that have made contributions that exemplify the vision and pillars of the revitalization of our Downtown. These outstanding individuals, businesses and organizations have invested time, ideas and capital into the Downtown to make it more beautiful, livable, exciting, vibrant, accessible and sustainable. The Heart of Our City Committee is pleased to recognize the tremendous work that is taking place in our downtown community every day. This 2nd annual event will provide an opportunity for Downtown Champions, those friends, neighbours, colleagues and community members, to meet, mingle and network.
Seven categories have been established to recognize special contributions to the continuous improvement of Downtown:
Back in the Day Award recognizes a nominee who significantly contributes to the preservation of Downtown history.
Champagne Award recognizes a nominee who deserves a toast for all they do as an incredible volunteer and champion for a vibrant Downtown.
Hip Downtown Transformation Award recognizes a nominee who is leading a transformation of Downtown spaces, business, neighbourhoods, activities, and/or events that make Lethbridge’s Downtown just that much cooler.
Running With The Bulls Award recognizes a nominee who takes on great risks and is not scared to challenge the status quo as they work to create, maintain, support, and/or promote an exciting Downtown.
Taking Care of Business Award recognizes a nominee who is committed to taking care of the Downtown community, its streetscapes and spaces, to build a beautiful Downtown – they are not afraid of getting their hands dirty to get it done and are often an unsung hero.
From the Heart Award recognizes a nominee who is a social change agent who is creating an inclusive Downtown. This nominee is involved in making Downtown a welcoming place for all.
Downtown Event of the Year Recognizes a Nominee (event) committed to creating a vibrant and inclusive downtown.
Click here for a list of this years Nominees
“Celebrate Downtown” is sponsored by the Heart of Our City Committee and there will be no cost to attend the awards evening however, space will be limited. To attend the event on May 10th you will be asked to RSVP after nominations close.
The Heart of Our City Committee is pleased to announce the winners of the second annual Celebrate Downtown Awards, which recognize and celebrate special people, businesses and organizations for contributing to the vibrancy of downtown Lethbridge.
A total of 49 organizations, events, businesses and individuals were nominated for this year’s awards. Winners were announced at an awards event May 10 at Casa in downtown Lethbridge, and awards were handed out in the following seven categories:
Back in the Day Award
Recognizes a nominee who has contributed to the preservation of downtown Lethbridge
Winner: Belinda Crowson - Belinda is Lethbridge’s consummate historian. She is passionate about our city's history and is the best promoter of its past. Belinda is a member of the Lethbridge Historical Society, has been its president and president of the provincial historical association as well. She brings our past to life through rousing tours and presentations. She is an author who inspires others and makes us all feel connected to our city's history!
Recognizes a nominee who deserves a toast for all they do as an incredible volunteer and champion for a vibrant downtown
Winner: Penny Coffee House - The Penny Coffee House has been an important part of the downtown for more than 20 years, serving great coffee and delicious soups, sandwiches and desserts to an eclectic clientele. The Penny has always been a strong supporter of the arts, both by publicizing arts events through posters, and by hosting various small-scale arts events such as musical and poetry reading performances, and displaying the work of local visual artists on the cafe walls.
Hip Downtown Transformation Award
Recognizes a nominee who is leading a transformation of downtown spaces, business, neighbourhoods, activities and/or events that make Lethbridge’s downtown just that much cooler
Winner: Stone Arbour Developments (Suites 601) - Suites 601 involves the renovation of the old Bargain store building at the corner of 4 Avenue South and 6 Street South. This space is being transformed into an amazing vision and mix of business, retail and 15 condominium living spaces. It is great to see this heart of downtown building being repurposed and refurbished.
Running with the Bulls Award
Recognizes a nominee who takes on great risks and is not scared to challenge the status quo in working to create, maintain, support and/or promote an exciting downtown
Winner: Loralee Edwards-Drunken Sailor – Described as one of the bravest entrepreneurs in Lethbridge, Loralee has created a unique retail experience that also embraces her artistic and activist sensibilities. Her store celebrates every body and everybody.
She creates partnerships with other businesses such as the drink special at Plum or the Christmas Coat drive with Kapow. She and her employees contribute to events such as Lethbridge Pride Fest, Lethbridge Fashion Week, Women in Business Network, Lethbridge Roller Derby, Arts Days, Prairie Pitbull Rescue and more. Her store promotes Downtown Lethbridge as a fun and exciting place through its active social media presence: their Facebook page has over 7,000 likes. She has quite a few customers who travel specifically to Lethbridge to purchase her uniquely curated offerings. As well, the store routinely pushes beyond its leased space to stage fun, creative happenings in the downtown. This includes setting up models in the window for people to draw during Arts Days or staging an impromptu fashion show down the sidewalk. Recently, the store was recognized on national media as she opened the doors to Woman's Marchers for sign-making.
Being bold is not easy. Loralee has been told to tone down her politics, to be not so different, that mild is the safer economic choice – sometimes in not very polite terms. Downtown Lethbridge would be a much duller place without her and the store.
Taking Care of Business Award
Recognizes a nominee who is committed to taking care of the downtown community, including its streetscapes and spaces, to build a beautiful downtown – also recognizes those who are not scared to get their hands dirty to get it done and are often unsung heroes
Winner: Joseph Eufemia – Telegraph Tap House Joseph has pushed for an outside space to enjoy a beer, he makes Festival Square festive! Outside patios have sprung up around downtown! He is a big supporter of music, he has transformed the Telegraph building, and has a great love for downtown.
From the Heart Award
Recognizes a nominee who is a social change agent who is creating an inclusive downtown and is involved in making downtown a welcome place for all
Winner: CMARD (Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination)
CMARD is a City of Lethbridge committee with the mandate through UNESCO Canada to create a welcoming and inclusive community. The City of Lethbridge signed onto CMARD in 2007, so this marks the 10th year that the committee has been working on advancing inclusion, equity and diversity in our community. Working with the many demographics that visit, tour, play, work and live, CMARD Lethbridge promotes a city free of discrimination regardless of your background, culture, way of life, ability, and source of income or gender identity. CMARD has recently been working with the Reconciliation committee, which consists of many community members. This is an important undertaking to build Indigenous and Non-Indigenous relations. As well, Bonvenon has been created, which provides free training on inclusion, equity and diversity in our downtown for agencies, businesses, community groups and residents. This came about from dialogue with businesses, agencies and downtown stakeholders. CMARD has supported many events that take place in the downtown and has worked with many downtown businesses and agencies to collaborate on projects like Black History Month, Aboriginal Awareness Week, educational sessions and events like World Refugee Day.
Downtown Event of The Year
Recognizes a nominee event that’s committed to creating a vibrant and inclusive downtown
Winner: Lethbridge Pride Fest - Lethbridge Pride Fest saw nearly 8,000 people visit over the course of all of its events. It attracts people from all over Alberta and surrounding provinces and creates a safe, exciting place for people to come and celebrate who they are in our city. Pride Fest helps local businesses, hosts events for people to have fun and become educated, and helps create a more welcoming city. Lethbridge Pride Fest offers a variety of different events over the course of a week that help create spaces for people of any age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and religion. The difference in these events pushes the boundaries on social norms and puts a spin on expectation. There's something for everyone at Pride Fest. The whole event challenges the status quo and allows for a greater, more colorful Lethbridge.