Nominations for the Whistler Excellence Awards are open until Feb. 3 

Annual celebration of local business and arts community set for April 30

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOERN ROHDE / COURTESY OF THE WHISTLER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE - AWARDING EXCELLENCE Developer Steve Bayly accepting his 2018 Citizen of the Year Award at last year's Excellence Awards. Nominations for this year's event are being accepted until Feb. 3.
  • Photo by Joern Rohde / Courtesy of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce
  • AWARDING EXCELLENCE Developer Steve Bayly accepting his 2018 Citizen of the Year Award at last year's Excellence Awards. Nominations for this year's event are being accepted until Feb. 3.

Nominations are now open for the Whistler Excellence Awards, the annual celebration of the resort's business and arts community hosted by the Whistler Chamber of Commerce.

The black-tie gala, scheduled for April 30 at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, honours "excellence in the areas of service, innovation, sustainability, outstanding leadership in the arts, business and community service," according to the chamber.

"It's an opportunity for the community to celebrate its achievements and the leaders of our business community. It's really that time that we get to, as a group, as a community, celebrate those that really shine," explained chamber CEO Melissa Pace.

Nominations are open until Sunday, Feb. 3.

The 2019 event will feature nine separate categories, including the return of the Above & Beyond award, which recognizes an individual that has made "an outstanding contribution or accomplishment eclipsing normal individual and/or company boundaries that will benefit our community in unique and meaningful ways," according to the chamber's criteria. It replaces last year's Locals' Choice Award.

The other award categories are:

Citizen of the Year. First handed out in 1969, this longstanding award is selected by the Community Foundation of Whistler to honour an "outstanding community member who contributes significant volunteer time to enhancing quality of life in Whistler."

Innovative Business of the Year. This award is given to a Whistler-made business that has shown "recent innovative talent in developing a new product or service" that is "creative, cutting edge, unique and out of the ordinary."

Rising Star of the Year. This honour recognizes a Whistler businessperson aged 39 or younger who is "starting to make an impact beyond their years," gives back to the community, and is "on a clear leadership track."

Whistler Experience Large Business Service. This award goes to an eligible business with 25 employees or more that has scored high marks in both the 2018 summer and 2018-19 winter Whistler Experience Secret Shopping program and has made an impact on the Whistler guest experience.

Whistler Experience Small Business Service. This award is identical to the Large Business Service category, but is instead eligible to businesses with 24 employees or fewer.

Sustainability in Action Business. This is meant to recognize a Whistler business that has made "considerable positive impact" in advancing sustainability in their company, sector and community.

Whistler Champion of Arts & Culture. This award recognizes an individual, organization, artist or local business that has contributed to the development of arts and culture in Whistler in a meaningful way.

Pace said it is particularly important to celebrate the accomplishments of local companies given the current business landscape in Whistler.

"We know there are a lot of struggles out there, and in part, what the chamber is trying to achieve is to really get out there and start to really understand what's going on in the business community, even more so today," Pace explained. "So when we get to the Whistler Excellence Awards, this is an opportunity not only for the business community to celebrate but it's also for the chamber to celebrate the achievements of the businesses coming through what I would consider, what many people would consider, a really challenging year on so many different levels."

Early-bird tickets are available at whistlerchamber.com.

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