MORRISBURG – “The pandemic may have changed how we can interact and celebrate, but it does not change the recognition that so many businesses and individuals in our community deserve,” said Rob Hunter, South Dundas economic development officer, in a November 24th media release announcing the winners of the second annual South Dundas Awards of Excellence.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic challenges this year’s awards were presented individually at each of the businesses selected by the adjudication committee as this year’s winners. Short videos of each of the winners were recorded and released throughout the day yesterday.
Named the 2020 Business of the Year was The Morrisburg Leader.
South Dundas’ only accredited news publication, the independently owned Morrisburg Leader is the oldest continuously published weekly newspaper in SDG and is among the oldest weekly newspaper in the province. Predating confederation, The Leader has been publishing weekly for 156 years.
This year’s Community Builder Award was given to John Ross, Ross Video’s founder. In his retirement he has dedicated a significant amount of his time and energy to the Iroquois waterfront, most significantly funding a portion of the construction costs of a new Airport and Campground facility.
The 2020 Tourism Award recipient is Stone Crop Acres Winery and Vineyard. As winner of the inaugural New Business Award, this Tourism Award makes Stone Crop the first two-time recipient.
Throughout 2020 Stone Crop Acres has put in extra time and effort to meet all of the ever-changing pandemic-related gathering requirements to keep patrons able to visit the establishment safely. At the same time, Norene Hyatt-Gervais, who owns Stone Crop Acres with her husband Marc Gervais, has taken on a leadership role with the South Dundas Tourism Advisory Committee and works tirelessly to advocate for and champion local tourism efforts as the industry copes with the significant pandemic-related losses being experienced across the industry.
This year’s Young Professional Award goes to Matraca Villeneuve. Villeneuve is a fitness instructor often featured on the municipality’s social media channels. Her efforts to provide fitness opportunities locally have been exemplary throughout the pandemic.
The Award for Agricultural Leadership was given to Upper Canada Creamery. Owned and operated by Josh and Ellen Biemond, Upper Canada Creamery was selected for this award this year because they have continuously diversified their product line thus increasing their scope of product offerings.
The 2020 Innovation award recipients are Laura Jarvis and Marianne Vanderlaan of Community Living Dundas County. They were selected to receive the award because of their programming leadership efforts to help the people of CLDC stay connected even though many are facing pandemic-related isolation.
The Green Award for making a positive environmental contribution was awarded to Lakeshore Massage Therapy for renovating an existing building for their relocation. Through that renovation they lessened that building’s impact on the environment.
Eastern Ontario Fleet Parking and Power Restoration Inc. was selected as the New Business Award winner for 2020. Starting with a vacant property that business has expanded its Iroquois operations by constructing two new buildings to house its on-site operations which employ about 15 people.
“The resiliency shown by our business community during these difficult months has been inspiring,” said Mayor Steven Byvelds. “I would like to congratulate each of the award recipients and all of the businesses who were nominated. The Municipality looks forward to celebrating more local businesses and people in 2021.”