Exceptional achievements honoured at 2023 Calgary Awards

Crowshoes and granddaughters
















Elders Reg Crowshoe and Rose Crowshoe received the Grant MacEwan Lifetime Achievement Award. They are pictured with Mayor Gondek and Grant MacEwan granddaughters Fiona Foran and Lynwyn Foran-Aebli. 


Building an incredible city takes the heart, effort, and vision of multiple individuals, businesses, and organizations.

On June 14, Mayor Jyoti Gondek and Members of Council announced recipients of the 2023 Calgary Awards during a ceremony with the 2023 recipients, families, and close friends.

“Our city is filled with incredible Calgarians who commit their lives to make our community a better place to live,” said Mayor Gondek. “On behalf of City Council, it is my honour to celebrate the accomplishments of our 2023 Calgary Awards recipients.”

Awards criteria and additional recipient information are available at:

Community Achievement Awards (nine categories)

Arts - East Side Dance Festival Society - Many Calgary youth face barriers in accessing arts education and performance opportunities. Thanks to East Side Dance Festival Society, kids receive dance training and mentorship in a non-competitive, inclusive environment.

Calgarian of the Year - Usman Tahir Jutt – Usman supports youth, sport, and young women in the community and the workplace through varied business, volunteer, and philanthropic endeavors. As an entrepreneur and Canada’s youngest McDonald’s owner/operator, he finds opportunities to help Calgarians thrive.

Community Advocate (Individual) - Meenu Ahluwalia – Meenu is an accomplished lawyer and enthusiastic community leader. As a board member and volunteer with non-profit organizations, Meenu has enabled women, families, and immigrants to access health and crisis support.

Community Advocate (Organization) - Centre for Sexuality - This organization helps Calgarians access reliable information on their reproductive health, and supports and advocates for human rights, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Education - Chantalle Bourque - Chantalle is a teacher at the Calgary French and International School. She creates programs that go beyond the classroom, inspiring students to learn from experiences such as travel, mentorship, and equity and diversity initiatives.

Grant MacEwan Lifetime Achievement - Elder Dr. Reg Crowshoe and Elder Rosemary Crowshoe -The Crowshoes are major contributors in preserving, sharing, and celebrating Blackfoot culture. They continue to establish new ways for individuals and groups to respectfully learn about and work with Indigenous people.

Heritage - Josh Traptow - As CEO of Heritage Calgary, Josh has poured his energy into educating and promoting Calgary’s heritage; not just places, dates and buildings, but the stories of people, both past and present.

Social Impact - Business - inclusion FACTOR – This company helps organizations unleash their talent potential by designing spaces where employees can contribute, innovate, collaborate, and thrive. Their innovative programs help leaders role model diversity, equity and inclusion values, and aid companies in attracting and retaining talent.

Youth (sponsored by University of Calgary) - Jeanae Elisha C. Ventura – Elisha’s performance art, food and toy drives have provided proceeds to help Calgary families and children. She also advocates for diversity and inclusion on behalf of girls and young Filipinos in our city.

The Award for Accessibility - Garden Loft - The firm designs and produces prefabricated living units that can be installed in the backyards of existing residential properties, enabling seniors and people with disabilities to live semi-independently near family support.

The Environmental Achievement Award - Carbon Upcycling - This company transforms waste from one industry into valuable materials for another, for example using cement replacements that offset carbon emissions associated with concrete. Their products fill a market niche, reduce pollution, and divert waste from landfills. 

The International Achievement Award - Dr. Kristina Rinker - Kristina is a biomedical engineering professor and the co-founder of Syantra Inc. The company developed a new method of blood testing to enable early detection of complex diseases.

The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize - Suzette Mayr, The Sleeping Car Porter - Suzette’s sixth novel is a historical fiction set in 1929 that takes readers on a delirious, luxury express train ride from Montréal to Vancouver, with a fateful stopover in the Rocky Mountains. Suzette published her first book in 1995 and teaches creative writing at the University of Calgary. The Sleeping Car Porter won the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

The City of Calgary established The Calgary Awards in 1994 to recognize and celebrate Calgarians who make outstanding contributions in their communities.  An annual Call for Nominations is made in January.