THE TRIUMPHS OF 2011: Plenty to celebrate for Nanaimo residents

It was a year of honours and recognition for Nanaimo residents.

  • Dec. 30, 2011 6:00 a.m.

It was a year of honours and recognition for Nanaimo residents.

Individuals who worked tirelessly to improve their community received high provincial and national honours. Athletes reached the podium to stand in glory. The City of Nanaimo was recognized as having the Greatest Street in Canada and was noted as being among the best in the world for air quality.

The New Bulletin looks back at some of the triumphs accomplished over the past year.


Iconic Canadian radio host and broadcast journalist Shelagh Rogers was awarded the prestigious Order of Canada. Rogers, who lives on Gabriola Island, has hosted CBC Radio One programs such as This Morning and Sounds Like Canada. The Officer of the Order of Canada is the country’s highest civilian honour and is awarded for lifetime achievement and merit in service to Canada or humanity.


Wheelchair racer Michelle Stilwell wins three gold medals and one silver medal at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships in New Zealand. She garnered gold in 100, 200 and 400 metre events, setting new event records in 100 and 200 metre competitions, and earned silver in the 800m.


Dover Bay Secondary School bested hundreds of contestants in the Staples Canada Recycle for Education Computer Lab Contest to win a $50,000 tech lab for the school. The reward recognized all the green initiatives the Dover Bay Eco Club has put in place over the past few years. The school beat out close to 300 schools from across Canada.


Sandra Thomson received the Honour in Culture Award from the City of Nanaimo in recognition of her decades of work to establish the Port Theatre. She worked alongside well-known and respected Nanaimo artists to fundraise more than $13 million to build the theatre downtown.

The Nanaimo News Bulletin won the top prize for general excellence in the largest circulation category at Saturday’s B.C. and Yukon Community Newspaper Association annual Ma Murray awards.


Commercial Street was voted the Greatest Street in Canada out of 6,000 nominations through the national contest hosted by the Canadian Institute of Planners. Lantzville’s Snaw-Naw-As community took third place in the contest’s Great Neighbourhoods category.


Mary-Lynn Epps won Teacher Educator of the Year Award from the Association of B.C. Deans of Education. The Grade 4 and 5 Randerson Ridge Elementary School teacher has taught for more than 30 years in Nanaimo and tries to encourage her students to take responsibility for their own learning and personalize the education experience.


Four men receive Canada’s Medal of Bravery from Governor General David Johnston for their attempts to rescue a crash victim who plunged into the Millstone River on Jan. 15, 2008. Michael Anderson, Glen Watts, Brent Blackmore and RCMP. Const. Shane Nicoll all entered the water trying to save 86-year old James McAllister.


Warni Fernando, a security guard with Casino Nanaimo, was recognized with  Great Canadian Gaming Corporation’s Chairman’s Award of Merit for saving the life of an RCMP officer who was being attacked near the casino.

The Pacific Biological Station at Departure Bay was named a national historic event by the federal Ministry of Environment. The biological station was the first fisheries research institution in the country, established in 1908.


Snuneymuxw First Nation elder Ellen White receives the Order of B.C. White, 89, is renowned as a tireless educator and advocate on cultural and women’s issues. She was among 14 people named as recipients for the 2011 award, the province’s highest honour.


Michael Hogman, 24, was honoured by Canadian Blood Services at its Honour Our Lifeblood awards ceremony for donating his bone marrow stem cells to save the life of a man in Ontario. Hogman is an army reservist and a service technician for Nanaimo-based Oughtred Coffee & Tea.


Four inductees were honoured as new members of Nanaimo Sports Hall of Fame. Wheelchair athlete Michelle Stilwell, NHL player Alan Hill, soccer player Ernest “Fat” Edmunds and parks and recreation builder Larry McNabb were inducted in a ceremony at the Nanaimo Museum.


Nanaimo’s air quality was ranked one of the top 10 urban cities in the world for best air quality in the World Health Organization’s study ranking 1,100 cities in 91 countries. Canada finished third in the world for best air quality tied with Australia.


Riley Richters is awarded the Mid-Island Science and Technology and Innovation Council’s youth innovator award. The Grade 12 student in Nanaimo school district’s Career Technical Centre program is fascinated with inventing and will finish high school with his first level of training to become an electrician.


Ashtyn Lively, 12, was named the Gutsiest Citizen in British Columbia and the Yukon by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada for her efforts to raise money and awareness about the disease. She was one of six individuals named across Canada.