Austin Wang, individual category
Austin Wang is grade 12 student who recently graduated from David Thompson Secondary.
He is passionate about sustainable energy and conducts research at UBC on the conversion of waste into electricity using bacteria. His recent projects won him the top prizes at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the International BioGENEius competition, and the Canada-Wide Science Fair.
Aside from research, Austin is an internationally recognized composer and enjoys playing the piano. He hopes to continue his research work in Princeton this fall.
Janine Fuller, individual category
Janine Fuller is a businessperson and writer. She is the manager of Little Sister's Book and Art Emporium in Vancouver, British Columbia, and is best known for her role as an anti-censorship activist in the bookstore's ongoing battles with Canada Customs, which culminated in the Supreme Court of Canada case Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium v. Canada (Minister of Justice) in 2000.
Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Fuller began advocating for gender equality at a young age, fighting to be allowed to start a girls' soccer team in Grade 6. She was later an employee of the Toronto Women's Bookstore, and was working there when the store was firebombed in 1983. She moved to Vancouver in 1989, taking a job at Little Sister's the following year, and became an active fundraiser and freedom of expression activist as the store was drawn into legal battles when Canada Customs regularly confiscated and impounded its shipments from publishers.
Following a diagnosis with Huntington's disease in the late 2000's, Fuller has also become an activist and speaker on issues relating to the condition.
Tradeworks Training Society, organization category
Tradeworks provides carpentry training to vulnerable individuals living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to help them rebuild their lives and find meaningful employment. Tradeworks uses carpentry as a vehicle to assist some of Vancouver’s most deserving residents with life and employment skills.
Tradeworks also operates a social enterprise called Tradeworks Custom Products, which employs program graduates. Graduates are given an opportunity to create custom work for clients such as BC Housing, CIBC, BC Technology Industry Association, the City of Vancouver and others.
This important first work experience assists individuals in building their skills and is often the first step in their career journey.
Alex Pang, individual youth category
Alex Pang has a passion for sports, particularly figure skating and basketball. The 18-year-old dual-sport athlete has medalled at both the Summer and Winter Special Olympics Games. He has won three gold medals, one for basketball, and two for figure skating.
Alex is competing as a member of the BC GRRRizzlies basketball team at the 2015 Special Olympic Summer Games. He will be strapping on his skates to compete in the 2016 Special Olympic Winter Games in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.
Alex is also an active member of the Special Olympics BC Athlete Leadership and Youth Activation Council. He lives in East Vancouver where he is a student at Churchill Secondary School.
The Mayor’s Achievement Award recognizes Alex’s athletic excellence and commitment to leadership.
Dr. William “Bill” McMichael, individual category
Dr. William McMichael is the driving force behind the 2015 Vancouver-Yokohama Golden Jubilee. As chair and project manager of the 50th anniversary celebration of this dynamic “sister-city” relationship, he has helped create an exciting program of events that promote intercultural awareness
As an active volunteer at the local, provincial, and national levels for more than 30 years, Bill has held many leadership positions. His roles have included director of the Canada-Japan Society, founder of Vancouver Mokuyokai Society, chair of the Pacific Community Resources Society, and president of the Collingwood Neighbourhood House board.
Dr. McMichael is a retired senior lecturer with the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia. He continues to focus on bringing marginalized voices to the forefront. The Mayor’s Achievement Award recognizes Bill’s contribution to the success of the 2015 Vancouver-Yokohama Golden Jubilee.
Guangzhou-Vancouver Friendship Society, organization category
Since 1984, Guangzhou-Vancouver Friendship Society has been opening doors and sharing resources between the two sister-cities.
The society’s undertakings have been impressive. For example, in pre-internet 1986, UBC Medical School doctors were linked to Guangzhou’s No 1 Hospital staff via satellite to demonstrate new surgical techniques. For the past 30 years, The Vancouver-Guangzhou Friendship has continued to facilitate the sharing of technical and professional expertise between the two cities.
The Vancouver-Guangzhou Friendship Society has established valuable, enduring relationships between hospitals, universities, sustainability organizations, high schools, businesses, port authorities, and legal associations. As well, it has coordinated sports and cultural exchanges celebrating each city’s uniqueness. And most importantly, the society has strengthened the bonds of friendship and opened new opportunities.
The Mayor's Achievement Award recognizes The Vancouver-Guangzhou Friendship Society for bringing two cities, half-a-world apart, much closer together.
Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School Senior Boys Basketball Team, individual youth category
The Churchill Bulldogs are reigning Provincial Champions in one of the most competitive high school sports in BC. The basketball program at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary had humble beginnings and the journey to this year's championship took years of dedication and discipline. After a hard-fought season, the senior boys delivered a stunning victory in the Provincial finals to emerge as the best team in the province.
The Bulldogs edged Surrey’s Holy Cross Crusaders 67-64 in the tension-filled 4A final to capture the first senior boys’ title in school history. They were led by the 30-point performance of tournament MVP Mindy Minhas and became the first public school from Vancouver, other than four-time winner Kitsilano, to capture the title since the 1961 Magee Lions.
Led by Coach Rick Lopez, and supported by an enthusiastic community of fellow students, teachers and family members, the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs are outstanding athletes who have demonstrated great sportsmanship as this year's Senior Boys Provincial Championship Team.
Katrina Pacey, individual category
Katrina Pacey practises criminal, prison, mental health and human rights law, and is Litigation Director for Vancouver’s Pivot Legal Society.
Pacey received her law degree and a Master of Arts in Women’s Studies from the University of British Columbia. She has led Pivot’s campaign for sex workers’ rights for over 10 years. Stigmatized and maligned, sex workers from the Downtown East Side (DTES) have experienced unspeakable violence and systemic discrimination for decades.
Pacey spearheaded projects that brought sex worker safety and rights to public attention. Gaining the trust of the sex workers required that she bridge the enormous gulf between her privileged status as a feminist lawyer and DTES sex workers. Her work with Sex Workers United Against Violence led to the Supreme Court of Canada’s precedent-setting ruling supporting the group rights of all marginalized communities.
Pacey's belief in the inherent worth of all people fostered trust and then vital change. A tireless campaigner and advocate for the rights of marginalized people, she has made a tremendous impact on the lives of people not only in Vancouver but across the country.
Khalsa Diwan Society, organization category
The Khalsa Diwan Society is a pioneer Sikh society formed on July 22, 1902 and formally established in 1906. In 1908, the Society purchased and built the first Sikh Gurdwara in Canada at 1866 West 2nd Avenue in Vancouver. The Gurdwara was inaugurated on January 19, 1908. This is believed to the first Sikh Gurdwara in the whole of the American continent. This Gurdwara Sahib served the Greater Vancouver Sikh community until the new Gurdwara Sahib was established on 8000 Ross Street in South Vancouver in 1970.
The Khalsa Diwan Society has played a major role in the social and economic development of British Columbia for over a century. The society has been a pioneer in raising Sikh-related issues and getting recognition for Sikhs in Canada. The Society played a key role as a voice for justice during the Komagata Maru episode in the early 1900s and has been instrumental in marking the Komagata Maru's 100th Anniversary this year.
The society has always advocated for equal rights and continues to work to build a strong community. The Society provides services to seniors, new immigrants, youth and families, and plays an important role supporting the South Vancouver Community Policing Centre. Every year the society arranges a Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan Procession, one of the largest public celebrations in Vancouver.
The Khalsa Diwan Society continues to build interfaith, intercultural and intergenerational understanding, and is an integral part of Vancouver.