Ace Burpee's Top 100 Most Fascinating Manitobans 2017
I think this is the 7th time I've done this least and it always gets both harder and easier. Easier in that I have NO trouble finding 100 people. Harder because I always end up with too many. No names are ever repeated, so each year it's a new 100. Some names you will already know, others you will be reading about for the first time. That's by design as well. I enjoy making the list and reminding myself and others that we have some great people living here. All the best to you and Happy New Year.
100) Elly Hooker: Received a Governor General History Award for a comic she created at age 14 telling the story and struggles of the first Canadian woman to appear on a Canadian bill, Viola Desmond.
99) Amanda Park: She started making jewelry in 2010, and this year things blew up in the best possible way. Her company, Park & Buzz, found its way into the official swag bags at BOTH The Grammy's and The Oscars this year. Couple that with some high profile features like Business Insider, and you've got legit buzz for Park & Buzz.
98) Sila Rogan: In her final year at Kelvin High School, she received one of the most prestigious scholarships in the country. One of just 33 Loran Scholars, which comes with $100,000 to further your studies, Sila will continue her education along with her tireless advocacy on Indigenous issues and the environment.
97) Cameron Hicks: So just over a decade ago, Cameron made a short stop-motion animated LEGO film for class while attending high school in Souris, Manitoba. After winning a couple of short film awards in Winnipeg, he's now one of the chosen few to edit the real-actual-massive blockbuster new LEGO movie for SONY, some 13 or so years after just doing it for a grade. Very cool.
96) Ken Wiebe: He's been covering sports in Winnipeg for years, so has been witness to some incredible moments of athletic achievement. This year though, Ken himself was one of those moments. Out for a round of golf with Jim Toth, Leah Hextall and Kevin O... Wieber dropped a hole in one on 3 at Glendale. On hole number 16.... HE DID IT AGAIN!!! The odds, according to the National Hole in One Association? 1 in 156 million. Unreal.
95) Sharon Bajer: At the inaugural Winnipeg Theatre Awards, Sharon took home the outstanding lead actress award for her work in the RMTC Warehouse comedy "Hand to God". Performing after a grueling and courageous battle with breast cancer just makes her even that much more amazing and awesome.
94) Isabella Dryden: She started teaching in 1937 in a one room schoolhouse near Lenore, in western Manitoba. 80 years later, she's still in the classroom, teaching computer classes for Creative Retirement in Winnipeg. She's 99. And she's still teaching. Epic. Isabella, you are amazing.
93) Palvi Saini: Over the past four years at Seven Oaks Met School, Palvi has consistently demonstrated actions to build awareness for an inclusive and respectful Winnipeg. As part of a leadership role with the Met School Justice League, she staged the Fear Less Love More rally. She has worked with refugee children through the Newcomer Employment Education Development Services, created projects for the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation, interned with a lawyer and volunteers at the Seven Oaks Hospital, WE Day Manitoba and the Health Science Centre. This year she was the recipient of The Citizen Equity Committee award for action against racism and discrimination.
92, 91, 90) Steve, E.GG, Dill the Giant: Together they are 3Peat, a must -listen trio in a perennially consistent Winnipeg hip-hop scene. It's Got To Be Three. If you're looking for something new and good... check 'em out at: soundcloud.com/threepeatmusic
89) Liz Wreford: I feel like inventing a new game or sport is one of the greatest of things to do. At the very least, you invented some sort of new game when you were a kid. Rarely is it as huge a hit as Crokicurl though. Liz, the principal landscape architect at Public City Architecture dreamed up a game that combined curling and crokinole, and it's pretty much the best. It made it's debut at The Forks last winter and I'm firmly in the do it again camp.
88) Joshua Friesen: He's 9-years-old, and he's in the top 20 most gifted mathematicians in the world for his age. There's this huge math contest, run by Brock University, and out of almost 6000 kids worldwide, Joshua finished 18th. Atta kid.
87 - 83) Joshua, Abby, Don, Mitchell and Juanita Dueck: I saw pictures on-line last winter, then I went and checked it out in person. It was awesome. "It" being the 20-foot high snowman they built in their front yard in February. Huge winter win.
82 & 81) Taren Gesell & Jacques Marcoux: No big deal, they just swam from the south perimeter to the north perimeter in the Red River this past summer. Yeah they did. 37 kilometres. They’re experienced and you shouldn’t try it, but I love things like this so I endorse their behavior fully.
80) Oly Backstrom: Everyone deserves the opportunity to live and work in the community where they are respected and rewarded for the efforts, skills, and accomplishments. That's the philosophy of SCE Lifeworks. Oly is the president and CEO, and is straight up one of the best people around. A champion for all and a huge asset to our city of Winnipeg.
79) Andrew Collier: The General Manager of the Winnipeg Goldeyes. Andrew is the best. He’s now won back-to-back championships in a town starved for titles. This year he was inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame. The Goldeyes have been a massive success as a franchise, yet still a little bit underrated in terms of their impact on the community. Their Field of Dreams Foundation has given over 2 MILLION dollars to deserving Manitoba organizations and causes. That’s great leadership, and leadership starts at the top. Congrats Andrew and continued success my man.
78) Shanley Spence: I admire this woman so much. Shanley is a 25-year-old Swampy Cree and Anishinaabe hoop dancer, speaker, activist, ambassador, and volunteer. To see her perform is absolutely a thing of beauty, but it's when she speaks that she owns every room she is in. A runner-up in this years Miss Indian World, which she entered to inspire young girls, there is likely nothing Shanley can't do or achieve. She's the coolest.
77) Lise Gaboury-Diallo: Well-known in the Franco-Manitoban community for her contributions to education and literature, Lise's work was recognized outside our provincial borders in a big way in 2017. This summer she was named a member of the Order of Canada. Felicitations!
76, 75, 74) Mariette Mulaire, Hubert Mesman & Jeff Hnatiuk: Mariette and Hubert were Co-Chairs of the Canada Summer Games while Jeff served as CEO of the host society. The 3 of them guided what will likely go down as the most successful games this country will ever see. For me, they were two of the best weeks this city has seen, maybe ever. They were tireless in their efforts to make sure the games lived up to the hype, which they smashed in a big, big way. Thank you.
73) Canada Summer Games volunteers: Too many of you to list obviously, but just know how amazing you were. I was at countless games and events, and the wonderful people in the orange shirts made everyone feel welcome. They were knowledgeable, and made the games flawless. It's impossible for an event that size to prevail without not just volunteers, but GREAT volunteers. You made our city proud.
72) Kenneth Lavallee: The local Metis artist was chosen to design the medals for the Canada Summer Games, and he nailed it. They were perfection. He's done a ton of cool stuff, which you can check out at knnth.com. Talented dude.
71 & 70) Eileen Eagle Bears & Mr. Smudge: Mr. Smudge is a horse, Eileen is an 18-year-old from Minto, Manitoba. You might remember this story from the 100's of thousands of shares it got last March, proof that kindness still counts. She saw a semi truck stranded on the highway during a blizzard, so she saddled up Mr. Smudge and brought the man hot coffee. She made the one-hour trek on horseback more than once with hot meals and drinks until the semi was able to get back on the road. Coolest.
69) Darrick Baxter: He's the founder of Ogoki Learning Systems. They are 100% First Nations owned and their headquarters are on the Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation. A few years ago, Darrick created an app to help his daughter learn Ojibway. He also threw it up on iTunes and 10's of thousands of downloads later it's obvious he's on to something. Over the past few years Ogoki has grown big time, and has created some of the most popular Tribal language apps and learning games in North America. I have the Ojibway and Cree apps on my phone and it's wicked cool to learn their languages. Respect, Darrick.
68 - 65) Reba Terlson, Jesse Nobess, Sam McLean & Craig Terlson: Craig wrote a play for the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival called "Filter This". Basically, it was two people who may or may not be a great couple, however one is addicted to social media while the other is basically off-line. It's one of the best shows I've ever seen at the Fringe. Reba and Jesse were fantastic as the couple, while Sam McLean somehow pulled off a role as a living meme. Great, great show.
64 & 63) Rachelle Kirouac & Danielle Loeb: They are colleagues at HFTC Planning and Design, and they are also the creative minds behind "The Weave". You know that blue hammock at Upper Fort Gary which may have been the most posted thing on Instagram this past summer? That was theirs. The entire installation was super cool. Play meets conversation meets art. They nailed it.
62 & 61) Miss Kelly O & Kiana Zoltenko: If there is an award for the most viral hairstyle of the year, then crown Kelly. Timing is everything. She did Kiana's hair to resemble Starbucks unicorn frap just after it had been unveiled to the world, and everyone wanted the photo. Within hours of her post, People.com, Cosmopolitan, US Weekly, Perez Hilton and hundreds of other outlets were sharing it. Kelly also did my beard for Pride and she's awesome.
60) Lisa Meeches: A mentor, role model, and inspiration to so many it would be impossible to count. An incredible TV and film production career, plus Lisa was also one of the driving forces behind the success of the Manito Ahbee Festival. This summer Meeches was honoured with the Order of Manitoba.
59 - 58) Madelaine Lapointe and Ashley Tokaruk: Their event, Runway to Change, was a school project for their creative communications course at Red River College. Technically it was a fashion show, but you've never seen a crowd at a fashion show react like this. The entire event was to benefit Main Street Project, and many of those who use the services of MSP were on hand to share their stories and also walked the runway. The place went off, there were tears, it was an incredible event. Assignment over, they could have just moved on, but instead they're doing it again this year. therunwaytochange.com
57) Jordan Farber: Whatever the cause, Jordan is there to help. One of the most giving and caring people in Winnipeg. When help is needed anywhere from Winnipeg Harvest to RaY, from United Way to Main Street Project, you can count on Jordan to make the time and make the effort. You're the best.
56) Deidre Khan: A recipient of the Vanier Canada graduate scholarship for leadership in her community, Deidre uses her passion for science and sport to inspire and empower young women in our province. She’s a PhD student in the department of Biological Sciences at the U of M working towards strengthening global food security through genomics. She’s a volleyball coach, a mentor, and everything that makes this province great
55) Jason Kang: The founder of Capital K distillery here in Winnipeg, makers of the Tall Grass line of spirits. Everything in the bottle comes from Manitoba, a true "grain to bottle" local product. From the inaugural launch of Tall Grass Vodka, the line now features Tall Grass Dill Pickle Vodka, gin and espresso gin, Tall Grass Strawberry Rhubarb Vodka... and more on the way. All the best to you Jason.
54) Mirha Zohair: The list of what she does and who she is could easily be paragraphs long. She was chair of Fort Richmond Collegiate's youth philanthropy group, she's a Big Sister, a volunteer with the Manitoba Islamic Association, a participant in the Canadian Roots Exchange Voices of Reconciliation, started a "Meet Me At the Bell Tower" south end group, she received a Women of Distinction award in 2017.... see? Mirha is just 18 and we're lucky to have her call Manitoba home. Thanks for all you do.
53) Andrew Harris: Playing in his hometown of Winnipeg for the Blue Bombers, Harris turned in one of the greatest regular seasons in CFL history. He led the league in rushing, yards after the catch, and broke a 32-year-old record for receptions by a running back with 105. Just a ridiculous season. Almost as ridiculous as the fact he was not the Bombers nominee for most outstanding player for the year-end CFL awards.
52) Denise Runions: Those who walk through Winnipeg Square during the week know who I'm talking about. She's hands out The Metro and does it with such friendliness and flair that she can brighten the most sour of moods. People go out of their way just to pass by her and feel good about life. ***So when I submitted the final list this year, the Metro was still a thing and Denise still worked there. The outpouring of love for Denise said literally everything about what she meant to people. Just the sweetest soul.
51) Logan Quatember: Just two years ago, Logan was in a horrific car crash and spent 11 days in a coma. This past year he was the Champion Child for the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, and he was amazing. He was fearless in sharing his story with thousands for the sake of the cause. Also, he’s already back to one of passions, which is dance. Thanks for a great year, Logan.
50) Sam Thompson: He is the creator of the Witchpolice podcast, one of the most consistent and most popular in Winnipeg. I've discovered tons of new music that would have likely passed me by were it not for Witchpolice. Everything and everyone from punk rock to experimental trap music, from Fred Penner to Krazy Maddness. Sam is the furthest from a genre snob. Plenty of live music as well. It's a great show and continues to mine Winnipeg's never-ending reserves of musical talent.
49) Julie Navitka: Starting on spring break this past March, Julie set out to accomplish a goal. The goal was to visit all 1,335 of Winnipeg's parks this year on bike or on foot. A) Count me part of the group that didn't know we had that many parks in Winnipeg B) She's already over 900 for the year. Love it. Great idea Julie.
48) Jason Smith: He's quietly and humbly been the main man in charge of three of the biggest events in Winnipeg over the past few years. The 103rd Grey Cup Festival, he was President. The Heritage Classic, he was Event Director. The Canada Summer Games, he was Director of Special Events and Ceremonies. These are mammoth undertakings, but he pulls them off smoothly and successfully every single time.
47) Aurelie Delaforge: She's a researcher at the University of Manitoba and discovered AN ACTUAL MONSTER IN THE ARCTIC FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY!!! She was stationed in Nunavut researching algae when she discovered a crustacean, which turned out to be the first ever species from the Monstrillopsis family to be discovered in the Canadian Arctic. It has eight legs, one eye, no mouth, and yes - it's only millimetres long - but SHE DISCOVERED A MONSTER. Coolest find ever.
46) Fred Clark: Battled his way through cancer and came out the other side as one of the most inspirational and beautiful people you will ever meet. Happy to share his journey with others for the benefit of CancerCare Manitoba Foundation and Never Alone, Fred is all that is still good in the world. Oh, and he also said he would climb Everest one day. This year he did. Love you, man.
45) Emma Gray: Was chosen as flag bearer for Team Manitoba at the Canada Summer Games opening ceremonies. A rower, Emma also medaled multiple times during the games including an impressive gold in single scull event. Great athlete, great ambassador.
44) Nicole Ryan: The owner of Cree Ryan, an indigenous owned business that creates pieces to bring the outdoors inside your living space. Her stuff is awesome, check it out at www.creeryan.com
43) Mitch Bourbonniere: He's an original member of the Bear Clan, and this past winter was driving around counselling a young man who had recently lost a family member to suicide, when he received a frantic call from a member of the Mama Bear Clan. A young woman had jumped off the midtown bridge into open water on the Assiniboine. Mitch booked it to the location and swam out and saved her life. To hear him tell the story is even more powerful. Check the link and see what a true hero is: aptnnews.ca/2017/03/24/meet-the-bear-clan-man-who-jumped-into-winnipeg-river-to-save-woman
42) Sachit Mehra: Runs a successful business in East India Company, but somehow finds time to volunteer for basically EVERYTHING. The man is tireless. Be it a national or international event, or a local grassroots cause, Sachit will make time to lend himself to the cause as he truly cares for his city as much as anyone ever. Bonus points to Sachit for being so into the torch relay in advance of the summer games that he ran the entire route through Winnipeg in pointy dress shoes cheering people on. It was awesome.
41) Kimberley Puhach: She took over this year as Chair of Mayor's Indigenous Advisory Circle. The group advises the City on policies Winnipeg can implement to build bridges and understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
40 - 38) Brooke, Caleigh, and Emily Christie: They build the cabins, chop the wood, program festivals and activities, market the area... and have made Falcon Trails Resort into just the coolest of places. The Christie family is amazing. They've cultured a real sense of community at Falcon Lake and continue to make the outdoors what it actually is - which is super, super cool. They're so real and I love them.
37 & 36) Amina & Nusaybah Mohamed: The hijab that Amina wore on a daily basis just wasn't working for her on the basketball court, so after consulting with her coaches and the principal at Dakota Collegiate, they developed a light-weight sports friendly hijab bearing the Lancers logo. Amina graduated, but her younger sister Nusaybah now gets the chance to rock the new hijab on the court.
35) Daniel Mach: Taken from his home village in South Sudan and placed in a a camp for child soldiers when he was just 6. Mach took his chances and escaped the camp at age 12 and fled to a refugee camp in Kenya. There he lived for a decade, while dreaming of getting a higher level of education. The student refugee program at the World University Service of Canada brought him to the University of Manitoba, where he obtained an engineering degree and now works as an engineer for the City of Winnipeg. Incredible story, great person.
34) Ken Lozano: For starters, nobody has ever dressed more fly than Ken. His family run business Aldo Formal Wear is always on point and is still holding down the block on Notre Dame Avenue. He stays ahead of the curve while still keeping the old school traits that make a family owned business the foundation of Winnipeg. My man.
33) Skylar Ferguson: Since hearing of rail service being unavailable to Churchill, the 16-year-old from Oak Park High School, who has always been enamoured with town despite never having been there, decided to make sure Christmas happened for them in a big way. She started a massive Christmas for Churchill campaign - collecting food, toys, baby formula and cash for the residents of Churchill. Flights were arranged to deliver the goods, donations poured in, businesses came on board... it became A THING. Congrats Skylar, and thank you.
32) Giovanna Minenna: From humble beginnings as a home based brow business, Brows by G has expanded to two bustling Winnipeg locations, a signature product line and a nation-wide training resource. All the while, Giovanna hasn’t forgotten to give back to the community that supports her. She launched an annual program to provide Microblading procedures to women who have survived or are battling cancer and have lost hair due to treatment.
31 & 30) Jason Potter and Karly McRae: Jason and Karly have transformed McTavish’s in Riding Mountain Provincial Park into the stunning Lakehouse Hotel, playing a huge role in revitalizing downtown Clear Lake and playing a key role in making it an all-season destination.
29) Jane Puchniak: She has awards to show for her work already, having received the Manitoba nod for Canadian PR Communicator of the Year for her work on the RWB's "Going Home Star". Awards or not, Jane stands out. She's helped break emerging artists, lent her talents to social awareness campaigns, fundraising, re-branding, and much more. She's fearless, kind, positive, and has been a huge ally to talent in Winnipeg.
28) Garry Epp: There's a huge section of Charleswood where you won't see any litter at all. If you do happen to see some, it won't be there long. That's because Charleswood has its own Mr. Clean in Garry Epp. The 68-year-old has been picking up litter in the area for 13 years and does so for 3 hours almost daily. He rocks his signature white Tilley hat and has become a very popular man. Atta boy Garry!
27) Daniel Badiou: Through his startup Ukko Robotics, Daniel has started manufacturing automated mobile chicken coops. You read that correctly. They're all kinds of awesome. The coop moves to new grazing areas via GPS, runs on solar power, and has a camera that connects to your phone for monitoring. The flaps on the coop open and close automatically to control temperature inside the shelter. Bediou raised 400 chickens last year with about 5 - 10 minutes of work a day. I raised chickens my whole life growing up in Cooks Creek and there's no question this is a very cool idea. Very cool. Check out www.ukkorobotics.com
26 & 25) Kirsten & Kayleigh Jennings: I remember watching the evening of their wedding unfold on my friend Karli Colpitts Instagram stories. There was a backyard wedding ceremony in River Heights, then a Dixieland band led guests to the reception at Pizzeria Gusto. That's when Kristen Stewart (One of the stars of the Twilight movies which have grossed over 3 billion dollars), and her girlfriend Stella Maxwell (Victoria Secret model) asked if they could crash the wedding. The answer was yes, and the crashers stayed for hours, dancing, partying, and just in general making what was already a super cool wedding even more memorable.
24) Mike Johnston: One of the most fun and funniest people in Winnipeg, TEDx speaker, gifted teacher, and this year was the first Manitoba educator to be named a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow. He was able to follow the footsteps of Charles Darwin on a global expedition to the Galapagos Islands, where in the 1830's Darwin's observations led to the inception of his theory of evolution. Great guy, great teacher.
23) Dr. Phillip Peebles: Ever been in room with possibly the smartest person in the world? I was at the Order of Manitoba ceremony this past summer when Dr. Peebles received his honour. To be in his presence was humbling. He's an award-winning physicist, and one of the world's leading theoretical cosmologists. A University of Manitoba grad, he has contributed more than any other living scientist to the understanding of the origin of the large-scale structure in the universe, including the formation of galaxies like the Milky Way. And he's from here!!! You like Big Bang Theory? Dr. Peebles has made massive contributions to the Big Bang model and the mapping of the shape, size and age of the universe. He has also provided evidence of the existence of large quantities of dark matter and continues to work on the origin of galaxies. Right?!?!
22) Tracey Zyla: In a province known for charity and volunteerism, there are leaders setting the example to keep our reputation strong. Tracy is one of those. Always giving, always there. Siloam Mission, West Broadway Youth Outreach, CancerCare Manitoba Foundation and countless others have benefited from Tracey being Tracey. Oh, and while taking care of others, she managed to also make some time for herself and lose an incredible 140lbs on her own through diet and exercise. Amazing. Inspiring.
21 - 16) Pat Neufeld, Pat Krawec, Justin L'arrive, Sarah Thiessen, Anders Anell & Geoff Heath: They are the staff, managers, directors, and coordinators of The W.R.E.N.C.H. (Winnipeg Repair Education and Cycling Hub). It's a non-profit charity creating stronger and healthier communities by removing barriers to building, repairing and maintaining bicycles. They're inclusive, they focus on educating youth, they provide programming and resources while still supporting existing school and community bike shops. They are also the driver behind one of the coolest events of the year in their annual Cycle of Giving. It's a 24-hour building marathon, where mechanics gather to build literally hundreds of bikes using salvaged frames, parts and donations to give to children in need. Respect.
15) George Buri: George is a sectional history instructor at the U of W and the U of M. This year out of a contestant pool of 10's of thousands, George made the cut and appeared on Jeopardy.
14) Faouzia: Without a doubt, no question, guaranteed one of the greatest talents I have ever seen. She's a 17-year-old singer/songwriter from Carmen, Manitoba and literally has no ceiling. She was the first ever teen winner of the Unsigned Only international songwriting competition this year. She and Matt Epp won the International Songwriting Competition this year as well, beating out 16,000 other songs from 137 countries. She recently signed with Paradigm, the same agency that reps Imagine Dragons, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Diplo and more. She crushed Canada Day at The Forks with the WSO, but she's equally good just by herself with her piano. She's a generational talent, and an incredibly kind and humble soul as well.
13) Cameron Lozinski: I met him as he was honoured this year with a Manitoba Teachers’ Society Young Humanitarian Award. He's the real deal. A Grade 12 student from Gimli High School, has a deep belief in diversity and a flair for organizing. In Grade 9, he was the only male student on the International Day of the Girl committee. He has a long-standing passion for Indigenous issues, history and culture. After studying the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report he planned the school’s “Red Dress Project”. A self-starter, Cam is learning Cree and has accepted the invitation to teach basic Cree to a group of middle-school students. He’s raised his own funds for three international Habitat build trips to El Salvador, Indonesia and Portugal. Cam also uses his knitting skills to create and sell toques to raise funds for the homeless.
12) Christine Peters: Manitoba had 7 athletes representing Canada at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. Sprinting is generally a young person’s game but at 37 years of age, Christine brought home a bronze medal in the 200m snowshoe and GOLD in the 100m! She proudly hails from Morden, Manitoba. Congrats Christine!
11) Tiffany Monkman: She's a student advisor and recruiter for Aboriginal Business Education Partners at the University of Manitoba. She was one of 10 young Indigenous leaders chosen to share their story in the Senate as role model at the Indigenize the Senate youth forum and young leaders forum.
10 & 9) Meghan Hunter and Derek Page: They are the current co-leaders of November Project. NP is a free fitness movement and all are welcome. It's positive, they go hard, but don't judge. Many names have helped make November Project Winnipeg what it is today and many have found something in themselves they didn't know was there. Meeting every Wednesday morning at exactly 6:14am at the skate park at The Forks, you never know what the workout is going to be, just that it'll always be awesome and the guarantee of good people is always there.
8 & 7) Kyla and Caitlyn Roy: Two of the best stories from the Canada Summer Games. Older sister Kyla (18) won bronze in the female triathlon, finishing less than a minute from gold in grueling heat. Younger sister Caitlyn was only 15 at the time (you had to be 16 by the end of the year) and as the youngest competitor in the field finished a solid 7th. The sisters then teamed up with Claire Healey to win silver together in the triathlon relay.
6 & 5) Gail McDonald & Tony Carvey: Gail is the principal at George Fitton School in Brandon and Tony holds down the same position at Vincent Massey in Winnipeg. Both were named on a short list by national organization, The Learning Partnership, as two of the top principals in Canada.
4) Peter Scouras: Winnipeg lost a true beauty this year with the passing of Peter Scouras. Known by thousands for making everyone at the Red Top feel welcome and important, and by thousands more in the rugby and football community as an exceptional athlete and the best kind of teammate. Literally one of the nicest people you could ever meet, a true reflection of his entire family. R.I.P. Pete.
3) Junel Malapad: His solo crusade to "take stigma to the trash" began a few years ago by running laps of Garbage Hill in support of Canadian Mental Health Association programs. He runs 100km in 12 hours, others join for a few laps here and there, and he's managed to raise thousands and thousands of dollars to benefit those in need of mental health help. Just a beauty of a guy.
2) Samantha Rayburn-Trubyk: She's the President of the Little People of Manitoba, and this year scored a massive victory for our province. Thanks to her tireless advocacy, Manitoba became the first in the country to recognize Dwarfism Awareness Day. This is far from all Samantha is, however. She's one of the most giving and caring people I've ever met and a true champion for those who need one the most.
1) Jordin Bailey: Diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at 8 years of age, Jordin was granted one special request from The Dream Factory. She wished nothing for herself and everything for something she would never be able to use. She was clear about what she wanted, which was for a playground structure to be built for kids in her community of Norway House Cree Nation. The most selfless of wishes.