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.

2015 recipients

Cameron CathcartCameron Cathcart

Chair, Vancouver Remembrance Day Committee

Cameron Cathcart is recognized for his service as chair of the Vancouver Remembrance Day Committee since 2003, and his leadership to build the annual Remembrance Day Service at Victory Square into one of the largest and most respected Remembrance Day Ceremony’s in Canada.

Vancouver City Council recognizes his engagement of youth with the Vancouver Flag Party, and the introduction of the annual Generation to Generation Ceremony at Jack Poole Plaza that connects older veterans with the younger generation of veterans.

William MaWilliam Ma

President, Vancouver-Guangzhou Friendship Society

William Ma is recognized for his outstanding contributions to Vancouver as president of the Vancouver-Guangzhou Friendship Society, his leadership role in the revitalization of Chinatown, and refurbishment of the historic Mah Society building which houses the Asia Hotel providing affordable and modernized housing for the community while keeping the distinct character of Chinatown.


Diane ClementDiane Clement

Olympian, coach

Diane Clement is recognized for her outstanding accomplishments as an Olympian and the first woman to coach the University of British Columbia’s women’s track team, a remarkable step forward for women in the sport system, and her role in co-founding the Achilles International Track and Field Society and the Vancouver Sun Run, which is now one of the top 10K road races in the world.

2013 recipients

Norman ArmourNorman Armour, Co-founder of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

Norman Armour received the Civic Merit Award for his work on numerous arts-based celebrations in Vancouver, including the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, the 2010 Cultural Olympiad, and Vancouver’s 125th anniversary.

He is a tireless force for arts and culture in Vancouver, elevating the city’s stature as a centre for creative excellence.


Dr. Madeline ChungDr. Madeline Chung, retired obstetrician

Dr. Madeline Chung received the Civic Merit Award for delivering over 6,500 babies during her career and working for a time as the only Chinese-speaking obstetrician in Vancouver.

Dr. Chung is an advocate for cultural studies and donated the Chung Collection to the University of British Columbia. With over 25,000 items, the collection is the most comprehensive record of Chinese-Canadian history in Canada.


Wendy Grant-John, first woman elected as Regional Chief to the Assembly of First Nations

Wendy Grant-John received the Civic Merit Award for her work as a community and Aboriginal rights activist. She served three terms as Chief of the Musqueam Indian Band and is the founder of both the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and the Musqueam Weavers.


Eleanor Guerrero-CampbellEleanor Guerrero-Campbell, former executive director and CEO of the Minerva Foundation

Eleanor Guerrero-Campbell received the Civic Merit Award for transforming a small drop-in centre into the Multicultural Helping House Society, providing services to newcomer and visible minority communities and empowering women through the Minerva Foundation.

Eleanor contributes in her native Philippines by providing project support in the area of reproductive health and family planning.


Trevor LindenTrevor Linden, former captain of the Vancouver Canucks

Trevor Linden received the Civic Merit Award for playing 20 seasons in the National Hockey League, and being a member of Team Canada for the World Cup of Hockey in 1996 and the Canadian Olympic Hockey Team in 1998.

Trevor has a long history of community service and involvement with many charities through his Trevor Linden Foundation, which supports families, youth, and children in Vancouver.


Ken LyotierKen Lyotier, founder of United We Can

Ken Lyotier received the Civic Merit Award for serving as Executive Director of United We Can, a non-profit bottle depot operating in Vancouver that recycles 20 million containers per year collected by people with barriers to employment. He expanded United We Can with a street cleaning service, bike and computer repair service, and plant store.

Ken has inspired others to start social enterprises around the world that provide dignity and hope to people in need.


Susan Tatoosh, Executive Director of the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre

Susan Tatoosh received the Civic Merit Award for her tremendous volunteer work over the last 35 years. She is Executive Director of the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre and co-chair of the City of Vancouver’s Dialogues Project, which connected intergenerational members of First Nations, urban Aboriginal, and newcomer communities.

Susan has represented numerous civic organizations including Urban Native Indian Education Society, Urban Native Youth Association, Aboriginal Community Careers Employment Services Society, and the YWCA.


Joe WaiJoe Wai, architect of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Joe Wai received the Civic Merit Award for his work as an award-winning Vancouver-based architect. He designed some of the city’s most significant cultural and community projects, including the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, the Chinatown Millennium Gate, and the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archives.

Joe has been instrumental in designing and building affordable housing uniquely adapted to neighbourhoods and communities, including the preservation of the Strathcona neighbourhood.


Faye WightmanFaye Wightman, philanthropic leader

Faye Wightman received the Civic Merit Award for her accomplishments as a Canadian philanthropic leader across the not-for-profit and philanthropic sectors. She was instrumental in transforming the Vancouver Foundation from a traditional community funding agency into a catalyst for social change in British Columbia and producing the 2012 Connections and Engagement Survey, which contributed to the establishment of the City of Vancouver’s Engaged City Task Force.

1942 – February 2013 recipients


Date awarded Honouree(s)
February 26, 2013 Fred Mah
July 24, 2012 Marg Meikle
July 13, 2012 Wong Toa
November 25, 2008 Jeff Wall
November 25, 2008 Peter Oberlander
November 25, 2008 Cornielia Hahn Oberlander
October 6, 2005 Fred Herzog
September 20, 2005 Walter Gordon Hardwick
March 25, 2003 Choo Chiat Goh and Lin Yee Goh
October 1, 2002  Norman Young 
January 23, 2001 Al Etmanski
December 7, 1997 Gordon Smith
July 7, 1997 Dave Brown
September 24, 1996 Kathleen Heddle
July 30, 1996 Mimie Ho
July 11, 1996 Evelyn Atkinson
January 16, 1996 Edmund Desjardins
April 11, 1995 Kay Stovold
January 31, 1995 Milton Wong
February 22, 1994 Dal Richards
January 11, 1994 Beatrice Leinbach
January 11, 1994 Joe Average
April 6, 1993 Tom Robinson
April 6, 1993 Hugh Pickett
December 3, 1991 Mary A Hill
December 3, 1991 Barry Scott
February 19, 1991 Len Norris
February 19, 1991 Dr Sydney Segal
July 12, 1988 Jack Pomfret
October 21, 1986 Ethel May Anders
January 7, 1986 Brian Creer
January 7, 1986 Reginald T Rose
June 11, 1985 Ivan Ackery
May 9, 1985 Steve Fonyo
February 12, 1985 Dr W Kaye Lamb
October 23, 1984 Yvette Michel
August 23, 1984 Diane Rakiecki
August 23, 1984 Brent Foote
August 23, 1984 Rick Hansen
August 23, 1984 Paul Steele
August 21, 1984 Pat Turner
August 21, 1984 Lori Fung-Jackson
July 24, 1984 Harald Weinreich
March 6, 1984 Dorothy Somerset
October 4, 1983 Hilda Symonds
June 28, 1983 Albert Thomas Alsbury
April 22, 1982 Robert Spray
December 15, 1981 Douglas Sutcliffe
January 29, 1980 Elsie Armstrong
December 6, 1977 William Livingstone
December 6, 1977 Alan Best
March 15, 1977 Stephen Gordon Brown
March 16, 1976 Theresa Galloway
March 9, 1976 Rebecca Watson
February 5, 1974 Frederick Wellington "Cyclone" Taylor
October 2, 1973 Bruce Robertson
December 19, 1972 Charles Bentall
December 5, 1972 Charles Rumball
December 5, 1972 Fred "Pappy" Read
January 7, 1970 Harry Duker
May 13, 1969 Jan Cherniavsky
March 7, 1968 Nancy Greene-Raine
January 23, 1968 Arthur Delamont
March 14, 1967 Elaine Tanner Nahrgang
December 29, 1965 Harvey Reginal MacMillan
October 8, 1963 Mary Stewart McIlwaine
November 21, 1960 Frank McKenzie Ross
June 23, 1960 Lynn Seymour
January 1954 Douglas Hepburn
March 19, 1952 Len Walters
September 2, 1950 Eleanor McKenzie Miller
September 2, 1950 Irene Strong
September 2, 1950 Dr George Athans
August 14, 1944 Maj Gen Bertram Hoffmeister
April 27, 1943 Joan Langdon McLagan
October 26, 1942 Lt Col Charles Merrit