Winnipeg, Manitoba, October 4, 2013: Travel Manitoba congratulates the winners of the 15th Annual Manitoba Tourism Awards. The awards were presented on Sept. 30 at a gala luncheon at the Victoria Inn in Winnipeg.
Congratulations to all of the 45 nominees, including 25 finalists and the winners in each of the 10 categories:
Aspiring Youth Award: Natalie Thiesen
Natalie has been actively involved in the tourism industry since 2003. She started out as a tour guide, discovered a love of tourism, and built her career in this industry. The former tourism coordinator for CDEM is now the sales manager for Tourism Winnipeg.
Aboriginal Tourism Award: Festival MANIPOGO
The Manipogo Festival, named after Lake Manitoba's serpentine monster, celebrates the region's rich fishing tradition with Métis ice fishing demonstrations using the world's largest known fleet of Bombardiers. With pickerel fillets, fiddling, singing and jigging, this is a celebration of community, culture and heritage.
Event of the Year Award: Festival du Voyageur
Western Canada's largest winter festival celebrates the "joie de vivre" of the fur trade and showcases francophone traditions with many historical, recreational, and educational activities.
Marketing Excellence Award: Manitoba Museum
The museum's marketing campaign for "Dinosaurs Unearthed" enjoyed over 80,000 visits, increased membership sales by 15 per cent, and set new spring break attendance records. "Minisaurus Mondays" showcased the dinosaurs in a non-scary way for the youngest visitors.
Partnership Award: Rockin' the Fields Minnedosa
Nine years ago, a group of dedicated festival attendees formed a cooperative to ensure the festival continued. The cooperative created partnerships with municipal partners and communities. Volunteers continue to plan, promote, and coordinate the festival.
Product Development Award: Winnipeg Trolley Company
Winnipeg Trolley Company provides a unique and engaging city tour aboard Manitoba's only heritage trolley. Its "Heart of the Nation" tour makes Winnipeg as exciting today as when people rode the streetcars.
Service Excellence Award: Leslie Alexander
Leslie Alexander is the face of FortWhyte Alive and an enthusiastic champion for the organization. She joined as a member in 1989 and is now responsible for Visitor Reception and Retail Sales.
Sustainable Tourism Award: Crow Wing Trail
This early historic trade route is the longest Manitoba section of the Trans Canada Trail. With volunteers from six municipalities and one First Nation, they have worked together to promote tourism through sustainable tourism events and by promoting active transportation for healthy people and communities.
Volunteer of the Year Award: Fraser Stewart
Fraser is known as Mr Heritage in the RM of St. Clements. A volunteer for 39 years, he helped form a Heritage Advisory Committee for the RM to help preserve its rich history and create culture and heritage tourism experiences. Fraser also helped to save the MS Keenora from demolition and bring it to the Marine Museum in Selkirk.
WAA Award of Distinction Award: Rivers West
This not-for-profit, member-based organization promotes the tourism, cultural, environmental and recreational values for which the Red River was designated a Canadian Heritage River. They work in innovative partnerships to ensure Manitoba's Red River Corridor remains a viable, vibrant and sustainable place to live, play and visit for generations to come.
"We thank all of this year's winners and nominees for everything they do in creating an exciting Manitoba tourism experience for all of our local residents and visitors alike" says Colin Ferguson, President and CEO of Travel Manitoba.
The Manitoba Tourism Awards recognize outstanding contributions to the provincial tourism industry, including promoting Manitoba as a destination, providing memorable service to visitors and developing the tourism industry. Nominations are made by industry peers and finalists and winners are selected by an industry-based judging panel.
The Honourable Flor Marcelino, Minister of Culture, Heritage and Tourism and Travel Manitoba Board Chair Bob Sparrow presented the winners with a trophy. MC Chrissy Troy hosted the lunch. Thank you to our presenting sponsor, Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries.
15th Annual Manitoba Tourism Award Winners Release