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Tourism awards given out

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The 2014 Winnipeg Tourism Awards of Distinction were handed out Thursday by Tourism Winnipeg, the city's official destination marketing organization, at a lunch event at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg. The winners were:

-- Lifetime Achievement: Penny McMillan. She worked 20-plus years with Canadian Pacific/Canadian Airlines as an area sales manager and then became sales director and later president and CEO of Tourism Winnipeg. She then went on to do important work with Rainbow Stage, the Canadian Tourism Commission and the Canadian Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus, among other community endeavours.

-- Volunteer of the Year: Barbara Barnett, a wildlife ambassador for FortWhyte Alive where she has been a dedicated, enthusiastic and committed volunteer for more than a decade.

-- Employee of the Year: Karla Extence, Hilton Winnipeg Airport Suites, where she is renowned for delivering a warm welcome and outstanding hospitality to hotel guests and staff. She was also recognized in 2013 as one of the hotel's top performers.

-- Small Business of the Year (fewer than 20 employees): Gibraltar Dining Corporation. The company that won the contract to be the caterer at Fort Gibraltar brought its experience and passion for food and set new standards by serving local food and period-themed menus, waiters and table decor.

-- Large Business of the Year (20 or more employees): Winnipeg Folk Festival. In 2013, the WFF underwent a significant redevelopment to improve the festival experience with two more stages added and the creation of a centralized market.

-- Leader of the Year: Michelle Gervais, owner of î Tours and director of Tourisme Riel. In 2013, Gervais launched a street-performer area on Provencher Boulevard and is developing new programs, including a Provencher Prowl.

-- Influencer of the Year (Bring it Home): 2013 World Conference of GLBT Jews. Host committee of Arthur Blankstein, Paula Parks and Tamar Barr won for their significant contribution in attracting the world conference to Winnipeg in July 2013.

-- Marketing Campaign: The Manitoba Museum -- Dinosaurs Unearthed. The Manitoba Museum's world-class exhibit attracted a record-breaking attendance of 91,000 paid visits with full-scale skeletons and scientifically accurate animatronic dinosaurs.

-- Innovation of the Year: Raw: Almond -- the pop-up restaurant on the frozen river at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers created by Deer + Almond chef Mandel Hitzer and Raw Gallery of Architecture and Design director Joe Kalturnyk.

-- Partner of the Year: Scott Marohn, director of air service and product development at the Winnipeg Airports Authority. Marohn has been an integral tourism partner supporting a variety of tourism-related initiatives.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 2, 2014 B8

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