Congratulations to the winners of the 17th Annual Manitoba Tourism Awards!

Aboriginal Tourism

Louis Riel Institute: This non-profit organization promotes, preserves, and shares the Métis culture through programming, tours, and workshops delivered at the Riel House National Historic Site.

Royal Winnipeg Ballet: Going Home Star - Truth and Reconciliation: This original ballet uses the power of dance to connect and engage audiences with the many experiences - told and untold - of survivors and their families from the Indian Residential School System.

Aspiring Youth

The Christie Sisters: As managers of Falcon Trails Resort and Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes, these three sister work together to promote sustainable tourism while nourishing a sense of community in the Whiteshell.

Jessica Mayes: As the youngest person on the Pierson Parks and Community Rejuvenation Board, this 16 year-old is helping to create a green space that focuses on local history as well as organizing sustainable community events.

Sylvie Fouasse: As the tourism officer for CDEM and assistant at Rivers West, she is going above and beyond to promote Franco-Manitoban tourism destinations and attractions as well as tourism development of the Red River Corridor.

Event of the Year under $5,000

Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre - Unveiling of Suzy Mosasaur: This special event saw the unveiling of the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre's most significant exhibit in 10 years, resulting in major media coverage.

Event of the Year over $5,000

Arborg Ag Society Fair & Rodeo: With attendance growing from 500 to 5,000 in five years, this event has upgraded infrastructure, invested in their community, and showcase their rural roots.

Fire & Water Festival: Located in Lac du Bonnet, this is festival for artists by artists that has seen at 40% increase in attendance due to new partnerships, community support and expanded programming.

Virden Indoor Rodeo & Wild West Daze: As one of the biggest events of its kind in rural Manitoba, a change in venue, retrofitted sound system, upgraded website, and addition of Family Day contributed to this event's estimated economic impact of over $80,000.

Innovation Award

Assiniboine Park: Journey to Churchill: The zoo's signature exhibit is the most comprehensive northern species exhibit in the world. Rooted in real places and landscapes, the exhibit - including its stars, the polar bears - has dramatically increased visitation and revenue.

Oak Hammock Marsh: A Bird in the Hand: This experience allows visitors to explore the marsh via voyageur canoe and participate in bird banding, including holding the bird in their hands as they release the bird back into wild.

RAW: almond: This innovative, pop-up restaurant that serves gourmet meals on the frozen river celebrates winter and promotes Winnipeg as culinary destination.

Marketing Excellence Award

Festival du Voyageur: To celebrate the festival's 45th anniversary, this campaign combined archived photography and witty copywriting to show the festival is "Woven in Time".

Royal Winnipeg Ballet: Going Home Star - Truth and Reconciliation: An expanded media distribution list, combined with a direct mail and new media campaign resulted in national coverage and surpassing sales goals.

Winnipeg Art Gallery: Dali Up Close and Masterworks of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery Exhibition:This multi-faced campaign from the WAG and Doowah Design, which asked visitors to "Do a Dali", resulted in achieving attendance goals of over 40,000.

Partnership Award

Souris Events: This community partnership brought together five organizations to pool resources and efforts to host the town's first ever arena concert.

Parks Canada & Variety the Children's Charity of Manitoba: This partnership resulted in the creation of Lower Fort Scary - an accessible, inclusive, and immersive Halloween program for children and caregivers of all abilities at Lower Fort Garry.

Sustainable Tourism Award

FortWhyte Alive: A five-year sustainability plan outlines FortWhyte Alive's dedication to programs and initiatives that place it on the leading edge of environmental education, outdoor recreation, and social enterprise.

Churchill Wild: Providing customized adventures in the arctic ecosystem without disturbing its inhabitants, Churchill Wild promotes conservation of native wildlife and vegetation while creating social and economic benefits for local communities.

Winnipeg Folk Festival:As a Leave No Trace event, the Winnipeg Folk Festival carefully considers the environment and is committed to working with partners and suppliers that share their goals.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Gary Day: This volunteer host on The Manitoba Museum's Nonsuch shares his passion and knowledge with visitors, groups, and during special events after hours.

Dave Carty: In lieu of payment for his work as a ski instructor at Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes, Dave's wages are donated to Big Brothers and Sisters of Winnipeg allowing children and youth to come skiing.

Rénald Parent: His leadership was instrumental in the development of the Musée St. Joseph Museum and the Centre Parent Tourism Centre, which he continues to maintain throughout the year.

Jane Graham: For 40 years Jane has volunteered with the Winnipeg Folk Festival, including positions in Liaison Crew, Site Office Crew and even as Chair of the Board of Directors.

Award of Distinction - Individual

Gerry Turenne: For more than 40 years, Gerry was a passionate contributor to tourism development in Manitoba, including the Festival du Voyageur, Fort Gibraltar, Folklorama, Travel Manitoba, and Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge.

Don Walkoski: Don has helped to make polar bear viewing in Churchill a world class experience. For more than 30 years, Don has been providing northern adventures with Polar Rover viewing vehicles, the Tundra Lodge and the newest addition, the Northern Lights viewing lounge for Great White Bear Tours.

Dana Forster: From program development, to marketing, to making fires for bannock, Dana has played a critical role in the creation, expansion and professionalization of FortWhyte Alive's tourism department and increased involvement in the tourism industry.

Winnipeg Airports Authority Award of Distinction

Oak Hammock Marsh: iThis award-winning wetland interpretive centre is a leader in wetland education and ecotourism. Affordability and accessibility ensures the centre's programming has an incredible reach to connect people with wetlands.

Folklorama: Attracting more than 400,000 visits every year, Folklorama is the largest and longest-running multicultural festival of its kind in the world. The festival, along with its travel, talent, and teaching divisions, is a leader in promoting Manitoba's ethno-cultural communities.

Churchill Wild: As a family owned and operated company operating three ecolodges in Manitoba's north, Churchill Wild is committed to delivering an authentic Arctic experience to guests, 50% of which are international, while minimizing the impact to the environment.