Chamber awards night celebrates Whistler 

Steve Bayly named Citizen of the Year

click to enlarge PHOTO BY MEGAN LALONDE - LOCAL LEGEND: Brett Tippie had the crowd laughing during his acceptance speech for the locals' choice award.
  • Photo by Megan Lalonde
  • LOCAL LEGEND: Brett Tippie had the crowd laughing during his acceptance speech for the locals' choice award.

With a long list of changes and challenges affecting Whistler's community in recent years, it's not uncommon to hear some questioning whether Whistler is losing its soul.

But if last night's Whistler Excellence Awards were any indication, that spirit is still alive and kicking.

Around 500 people gathered in the Fairmont Chateau Whistler's ballroom to celebrate Whistler's best. It was the largest crowd in the award ceremony's history, noted Whistler Chamber of Commerce CEO Melissa Pace, the host of the sold-out evening.

The winner of the prestigious Citizen of the Year award was Steve Bayly, someone who "advocates for the underrepresented in our community," said 2017 Citizen of the Year Heather Paul.

Over the course of his career, the builder, developer and landlord has developed eight projects in Function Junction, along with others in Barnfield, Lakecrest, and Nesters Crossing. He was also the founding director of the Whistler Housing Authority and director of the Whistler 2020 Development Corporation (WDC), in addition to building the 2010 Olympics athletes' village now known as Cheakamus Crossing.

Newly added to the awards roster this year was the locals' choice award for favourite local legend. The list of nominees was packed full of beloved longtime locals like "Princess" Stephanie Reesor, Ace McKay Smith, the Hairfarmers, Tara O'Doherty, Sue Adams, Mo Douglas and Barrett Fisher. However, it was Brett Tippie, a pioneer of freeride mountain biking, former World Cup snowboard racer and announcer with a personality to match his list of accolades, that came out on top.

Here are the rest of last night's winners and nominees:

Business Person of the Year

Winner:

- Matheo Durfeld

Finalists:

- Sarah Strother

- Kerri Jones

Citizen of the Year

Winner:

- Steve Bayly

Finalists:

- Linda Epp

- Shelagh Weightman

Innovative Business of the Year

Winner:

- ULLR Adventure Maps

Finalists:

- Gogglesoc

- WNorth

Sustainability in Action Business

Winner:

- Sea to Sky Removal

Finalists:

- Sea to Sky Soils

- Whistler Blackcomb

Rising Star of the Year

Winner:

- Josianne Fox - SmartFox Consulting

Finalists:

- Blair Kaplan - Blair Kaplan Communications INC

- Isaac Marangoni - Whistler Performance Lubricants

Whistler Champion of Arts & Culture

Winner:

- Angie Nolan

Finalists:

- Ace McKay Smith

- Dave Petko

Whistler Experience Service - Small Business

Winner:

- Rocks and Gems Canada

Finalists:

- The Fitzsimmons Pub

- Farfalla Hair and Esthetics

Whistler Experience Service - Large Business

Winners:

- Canadian Wilderness Adventures

- Basalt Wine + Salumeria

Finalist:

- Whistler Public Library

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