Mayor's Achievement Award

Mayor Kennedy Stewart

The Mayor's Achievement Award recognizes those who have a legacy and reputation for making life better for a broad segment of our population. In particular, those who made Vancouver shine with their long-term commitment to public engagement and volunteering.

Recipients are selected by the Mayor and are not open for public nomination.

2018 recipients

Marpole Students for Modular Housing

Youth category

When members of the Marpole community expressed concern about a plan to build modular housing for homeless people in the area, a group of high school students from Sir Winston Churchill Secondary researched the issue and started their own grassroots effort to show their support for the initiative. The Marpole Students for Modular Housing believe that by having tough conversations to address concerns, and discussing issues related to homelessness, that community fears about the new project can be resolved.

Recognizing that diversity brings strength to the city, the students made a cogent case for welcoming new members to the community who need housing, many of whom were already relying on a nearby church soup kitchen for meals. By encouraging community dialogue, engaging in public education efforts, and conducting rallies to demonstrate their support for the housing project, the Marpole Students for Modular Housing has been a valuable voice for inclusivity and diversity in Vancouver.

Vanessa Richards

Individual category

Vanessa Richards, born in Vancouver, is an artist and community engagement facilitator. Her work focuses on creativity and participatory culture as central to civic and personal well-being. It explores the question, “What can life become when we turn more often toward each other than away from each other?”

She is the founder and song leader for the Woodward’s Community Singers, a drop-in, no-cost, low-barrier choir, and director of Creative Together, a song based facilitation process. She volunteered for 7 years on the City of Vancouver Black History Month Citizen’s Advisory and more recently the Hogan’s Alley Working Group and has been a Big Sister. In May she began working with 312 Main, Vancouver’s new centre for Social and Economic Innovation as the Director of Community Engagement.

The Overdose Prevention Society

Organization category

Since the fall of 2016, the volunteers of the Overdose Prevention Society have aimed to reduce the number of opioid related deaths in Vancouver by providing a safe space for drug users, and providing assistance to clients in the event of an overdose. 

That simple but incredibly important goal remains and since then, the Overdose Prevention Society (OPS) has provided a harm reduction and overdose prevention site in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver that saw over 105,000 visits and recorded reversing 239 overdoses in its first year of operations thanks to its volunteers and peer-based services. 

Soon after it began with a few tables under a tent with a supply of naloxone and clean needles, OPS started receiving support from the provincial government. That enabled the continuation of its work which inspired the creation of almost 20 other sites throughout the province that have collectively reversed hundreds of overdoses.

OPS is now housed in a building on East Hastings Street, and remains unique in that it sits right next to an alley which offers privacy to clients and it provides a space for clients .