Civic Merit Award

Civic Merit Award attendees 2013

The Civic Merit Award recognizes individuals for outstanding achievement in a particular field of endeavour in sports, science, arts, or culture within the city and the province, or in recognition of a specific service.

City Council must vote unanimously to honour someone with the Civic Merit Award.

The City began awarding the Civic Merit Award in 1942. Recipients are recognized during a ceremony at Council, in which the Mayor reads a resolution on the recipient's achievements and presents the Civic Merit Medallion and a certificate of the Resolution.

2016 recipients

Karen O'Shannacery

Executive Director, Lookout Emergency Aid Society

Karen O’Shannacery has dedicated herself for more than four decades as a housing advocate for homeless and low income residents, working to find solutions and provide support for people living in the Downtown Eastside. Ms. O'Shannacery was a founder of the Lookout Emergency Aid Society and served as the organization’s executive director for several decades.  Lookout is a vital resource in the Downtown Eastside, providing shelter and housing for Vancouver’s homeless and low income population, as well as a variety of other minimal-barrier services for at-risk individuals.

Ms. O’Shannacery co-founded a provincial Shelter Network and was instrumental in the purchase and renovation of New Westminster’s former College Place night club, which now serves as a homeless shelter and transitional housing.

Ms. O’Shannacery has also served on many committees, boards and organizations. These include the Greater Vancouver Shelter Strategy committee, the Urban Core Workers Community Association and municipal task forces on homelessness in Burnaby, New Westminster, and North Shore. She is a long-standing member of the Metro Vancouver’s Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness.

For her continuing contributions, Ms. O’Shannacery has been honoured by many organizations, locally, regionally, provincially and nationally, and was awarded the Order of BC in 2011.

Ron Suzuki

Recreation Programmer, Strathcona Community Centre

Ron Suzuki was the Recreation Programmer for the Strathcona Community Centre, and throughout his 40 year career with the Park Board worked at Riley Park (now Hillcrest), Kerrisdale, Sunset, and Mount-Pleasant Community Centers, as well as Central Recreation Services.  Mr. Suzuki has been a tireless advocate for children in Vancouver’s low income communities, and continues to contribute his time and energy to this community into retirement.

As Recreation Programmer at Strathcona Community Centre, Mr. Suzuki ensured that the Centre provided a diverse set of programs to meet the needs of the cultural diversity within the community.  This included 15 different food programs, such as the backpack and breakfast programs for low income children and families in the Strathcona neighbourhood.

Mr. Suzuki was also one of founding organizers of Vancouver East Sports League, a predecessor to MORE sports, which provides sport opportunities to kids in Vancouver’s low income communities. He is a strong advocate for equity and developed an extremely successful basketball program exclusively for girls and young women at Strathcona Community Centre.

Susan Point

Susan Point is a Coast Salish artist who lives and works on the Musqueam Reserve in Vancouver. Susan has exhibited internationally, and has been awarded many public art commissions, including works in Stanley Park, the National Museum of the American Indian, Vancouver International Airport, and the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. Susan's distinct style has stimulated a movement in Coast Salish art. She is inspiring a whole new generation of artists with her distinct style that draws on the stories of her ancestors and uses non-traditional materials and techniques. Susan is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and has been presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her contributions to Canada.

She has been recognized with an Indspire Achievement Award, a YWCA Woman of Distinction Award and a BC Creative Achievement Award.

The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts has appointed her a lifetime member and the Canadian Club of Vancouver made her an honorary lifetime member. Susan was also listed as one of BC's 100 most influential women; was named one of Vancouver's Remarkable Women in 2012; and holds honorary doctorates from Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria, University of British Columbia, and Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

Previous recipients