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2012 Award Recipients & Nominees

  • Performing & Media Arts - Michael Christie, Consortium Aurora Borealis, Jean E. Pendziwol, Kelly Saxberg & Ron Harpelle  
  • Visual Arts - Judy Czank-Mayor, Rebecca Pugh, Stephanie Siemieniuk
  • Heritage - Elliott Cromarty, Dr. Peter Raffo, Paterson Building (TBT Engineering - Liana & Rob Frenette), Windrose (Liana & Rob Frenette)
  • Cultural Organization - CILU - LU Radio 
  • Emerging Youth Artist - Kate-Lynn Kramer 
  • Cultural Educator - Nicole Armstrong, Lora Northway 
  • Cultural Supporter - Biljana Baker, Gloria Cyr, Cathy Paroschy Harris 
  • Cultural Business - The Walleye Magazine
  • Small Business - The Walleye Magazine
  • Large Business - CIBC Thunder Bay

performing & media arts

Michael Christie Michael Christie
In 2011, Michael Christie's published his first book with Harper Collins Canada, entitled "The Beggar's Garden." This collection of short stories was nominated for the Giller Prize, the Frank 'Connor Award, was a finalist for the prestigious Rogers Writer's Trust Fiction Prize and won the Vancouver Book Award. He regularly reviews books for the National Post, and his stories and poetry have been published in Taddle Creek, Vancouver Review and The Walleye. Michal has been chosen along with two other authors, to edit The Journey Prize Anthology 24, which showcases the best short fiction published in Canada. In early 2012 he taught creative writing at Lakehead University and offered volunteer writing instruction and consultation for numerous local writers. In November 2012 he presented a writing workshop at a healing and wellness conference at the Fort Wiiliam First Nation Community Centre, centering on the importance of journalling, and how it can help us through difficult moments in our lives. In addition to his tremendous literary accomplishments nationally and internationally, he is strongly committed to nurturing writers in Thunder Bay, Canada and the world. 


performing & media arts
Consortium Aurora Borealis

Consortium Aurora Borealis 
Founded in 1979 by Artistic Director Elizabeth Ganiatsos and registered as a non-profit charitable organization in 1982, Consortium Aurora Borealis performs repertoire primarily from the Renaissance and Baroque eras, with occasional forays into the Mediaeval, Classical and Early Romantic eras. High artistic standards, varied and exciting programming and historically-themed concerts with authentic instruments add to its dynamic presence in the region. It has been hailed with great enthusiasm by audience and press alike. Now in its 32nd season, it continues with its mission to educate as well as to entertain, presenting up to six concerts of chamber music annually. 

performing & media arts ***award recipient***

Jean E. Pendziwol Jean E. Pendziwol
Jean E. Pendziwol is a writer who has tapped into the cultural and historical influences of the region as inspiration for her children's books. She has had the wonderful opportunity to speak in classrooms and present a number of workshops provincially and nationally discussing the craft of writing as well as exploring fur trade history with students of all ages. By theming her stories and presenting them in picture book form, she has expanded a limited library of fictional resources highlighting Lake Superior, Fort William, and Northwestern Ontario. These stories are valuable for the development and growth of children here and throughout the country, while at the same time they offer an enjoyable cultural experience to the mature reader. Jean in is inspiring would-be writers in the region who are sustained by her talent, enthusiasm, generosity, and commitment to her art.

performing & media arts
Kelly and Ron

Kelly Saxberg & Ron Harpelle 
Kelly is an award-winning film producer, director and editor who has worked on over 80 films, and has mentored several local independent producers. Ron is a professor at Lakehead University and an award-winning film-maker. Their company Shebabandowan Films, was established in 1996 and is an award-winning Canadian film, video and new media production company based on Thunder Bay. Together, they have produced numerous award-winning films, and they are the founders of the Bay Street Film Festival (est. 2005), which screens Northwestern Ontario-made "Films for the People," exploring themes such as social justice, community activism, human rights the environment. Net proceeds from the showings are directed to the Finnish Labour Temple's building preservation and enhancement fund. Both Ron and Kelley have made outstanding contributions to Thunder Bay arts, culture and heritage. This includes both their outstanding efforts to preserve local history and culture through the production of films about Thunder Bay history, as well as through continued efforts to promote and showcase local films and filmmakers through the Bay Street Film Festival.

visual arts
Judy Czank-Mayor

Judy Czank-Mayor 
Judy is a multi-medium visual artist whose works have been accepted to juried shows nationally and internationally. Judy expresses her  passion for art and her love of nature, animals and wildlife through vivid and life-like works. Judy enjoys helping children to express their creative minds through art. She has created a large body of work, including collage, painting, wall murals, projects within the local schools and in partnership with young artists. 


visual arts Rebecca Pugh

Rebecca Pugh 

Rebecca has demonstrated dedication and experience in the field of visual arts. She has been involved in a visual arts internship at Superior Collegiate and Vocational Institute, supported local arts events and exhibitions, and taught courses at a variety of locations including the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. During an internship at the Thunder Bay Historical Museum she incorporated visual arts in the education program, and she has continued to mentor local youth in the visual arts. Rebecca is the recipient of Painted Turtle Art Shop and Johann Winckelmann Art History Award for her artwork at the annual juried exhibition of student works from the Visual Arts Department of Lakehead University.  

visual arts Stephanie Siemienuik***award recipient***

Stephanie Siemieniuk

Stephanie obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Lakehead University, concentrating on painting in acrylics, watercolours and oils, and later moved to Toronto to study illustration and cartooning at George Brown College. She returned to Thunder Bay to pursue her Honours and Bachelor Education degrees. She has exhibited extensively in solo and group shows, has supported various community groups with donations of artwork and volunteer time, and has been the recipient of multiple artistic awards. She has developed programming and taught art classes and workshops for all ages. She has also participated in focus groups and info gathering sessions for various city arts and culture related events and proposals. Stephanie is truly dedicated to sharing her creative expression through her art, and to teaching others various methods of creating.

heritage Elliot Cromarty

Elliott Cromarty
Elliott's dedication towards preservation of First Nations culture is well documented in his decade-long employment with Fort William Heritage Park (FWHP) that began in 2003, and with his capacity as Native Program Officer for the last three years. Elliott has been an award recipient for his heritage programming work, and for working with youth as a committee member of The Coalition Unified for the Protection of our Children and Youth (CCUPCY). Elliott is an accomplished singer, dramatist, drummer, as well as a skilled artisan, constructing both authentic snowshoes, mukuks (birth bark containers), and heritage wigwam shelters. His research in traditional Ojibwa history, along with several years of experience, serves him well as teacher and leader with his Native heritage staff. His broad ties and liaison efforts with the local First Nations community and his various skills and years of experience, combine to make Elliott an excellent role model within the Aboriginal community and an excellent ambassador for FWHP and the city.

heritage ***Award recipient***

Dr. Peter RaffoDr. Peter Raffo
In a career that has spanned four and a half decades, Dr. Raffo has researched and written on local history, produced radio documentaries for the CBC, and received numerous awards in recognition of his efforts. He was the scriptwriter for The Fatal Flower, a re-creation of a silent movie made in Port Arthur in 1929 by the Port Arthur Amateur Cinema Society. He has served as a lecturer, associate professor of history and adjunct professor of history at Lakehead University for an uninterrupted period beginning in 1967.Dr. Raffo is a tireless promoter of the history and heritage of Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario. Through research, publications, and productions, he has enhanced the understanding of our historical roots, and ensured that our heritage is preserved for future generations to enjoy and learn from.  

heritage The Frenettes

Paterson Building  - TBT Engineering (1918 Yonge St) - Liana & Rob Frenette
The Paterson building was constructed in 1908 and named after Senator Norman McLeod Paterson who entered the grain business with his father, went on to form N.M. Paterson and Company in Fort William (1908), and form Paterson Steamships Ltd. This location became the corporate headquarters of his business until 1980. The property was sold to TBT Engineering Ltd. in 2009, who have since refurbished it along with two buildings, including the Paterson Sailors Memorial Park, which was created in 1946 and re-dedicated in 2010. In keeping with the previous use of the wharf, TBT cleaned the area, added a new road and built a lookout deck now used by the local community to view the Kam River and Mount McKay. Their goal is to develop a small private marina along the river. 

heritage The FrenettesWindrose

Windrose (1100 Ridgeway St E) - Liana & Rob Frenette
Liana and Rob purchased the Queen Anne Revival style home in 2003. The home was built in 1910-12 and lovingly restored to its original state in over a course of nine years by the Frenette family. The Frennette's made exceptional efforts to employ local contractors and traditional craftsmen, and to purchase supplies from local suppliers. Their commitment and meticulous restoration effort is evident in the numerous and exceptional details that abound in this home. The amount of care, integrity, research and craftsmanship required to undertake this effort is exceptional. The Frenettes have generously welcomed the public into their home, as participants in Doors Open Thunder Bay, and to provide a venue for wedding photos and tours. They are currently working with the City's Heritage Advisory Committee to have Windrose designated as a heritage building, and to restore the heritage home next door.

cultural organization ***award recipient***

CILU Radio LogoCILU - Lakehead University Radio 102.7FM
CILU features music and content not played on commercial radio. In addition to music, the station features news and interviews about artists from all disciplines. Programmers routinely highlight art shows, readings, workshops, big productions and intimate house concerts, CD or book launches, government arts opportunities and the city`s cultural events. CILU features ethnic programmers share music and news in their own languages, daily children`s programming, opportunities for youth and credible shows about local sports, health, politics, environmental issues and community concerns.  

emerging youth artist Kate-Lynn Kramer***award recipient***

Kate-Lynn Kramer
Kate-Lynn is a student in her final year of school at Westgate Collegiate and Vocational Institute, participating in the Specialist High Skills Major in Arts and Culture where she has Honor Roll Standing and has received highest marks in the Visual Arts. Her ability to manipulate media into beautiful works of art comes naturally, especially her drawing and painting skills. She has exhibited at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery Secondary School Art Show, and her work is showcased at her school including a permanent mural she is creating. Katie has volunteered her time and talents for various organizations and events in the city, including a cop-op placement at the Baggage Building Arts Centre. She plans to apply to the Visual Arts program at Lakehead University. 

Nicole Armstrongcultural educator ***award recipient***

Nicole Armstrong
Nicole has contributed to the arts community in a myriad of ways through her teaching initiatives, her volunteer efforts, her event coordination, her performances, and her work with community theatre. She has travelled to various workshops to work with some of Canada's most influential teachers. She obtained her associated teaching qualification with the Cecchetti Society of Canada at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, and in the spring of 2012 obtained her Advanced II level.

Nicole has a firm belief in providing arts education to all demographics, and has worked with every age group from children to adults. In the last two years she has worked with the Royal Conservatory's Learning Through The Arts "Youth Empowerment Program"  and the Community Arts & Heritage Education Project. She organized, produced and directed An Evening with the Arts; coordinated, directed and produced the Arts and Alzheimer Education Project; partnered with Paramount Live to create programming for children; directed and coordinated Camp Conference; directed a full length musical with children; and played female lead in a local musician's music video. She has also worked with recreational therapy students at Confederation College, and with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine to educate about the benefits of drama therapy and improvisational theatre. Nicole continues to contribute to Thunder Bay's arts community in any way she can, and wants to continue to strengthen and enhance our arts community.  

cultural educator  Lora Northway

Lora Northway
Lora is an artist, arts administrator, and outreach coordinator based out of Thunder Bay. She graduated from Lakehead University with a Bachelor of Fine Art and minor in Women's Studies, and has worked with Definitely Superior Artist-Run-Centre for the past five years in the capacity of Community/Youth Outreach Administrator. Northway's contributions through her role with Definitely Superior, and her presence in the art community have contributed to the cultural strength of the arts community in a myriad of ways. In 2012 alone, her initiatives with the youth art collective, Die Active, resulted in two public art commissions, one exhibition, and a Zine and numerous other public engagements. Under her guidance, dedicated and innovative programming, these projects contribute to a cultural climate which is premised upon collective exchange in education. 

cultural supporterBiljana Baker

Biljana Baker
Biljana is an accomplished and professional visual artist who has a studio and private gallery in Thunder Bay. In addition to creating attractive paintings, for many years she facilitated learning for youth and adults and has increased the population of watercolourists in the region. For the past two decades, Biljana has extended her huge reservoir of energy, know-how and talent to elevate the posture of the arts and how it leads to community building and cultural association. She has initiated many civic activities and served on numerous committees such as the City's Clean, Green and Beautiful Committee, Cultural Services Advisory Committee, Grant Review Commitee and Public Art Committee. She has initiated artist projects for St. Joseph's Health Care, and created the Store Window Galleries program for local artists to display art in vacant storefronts. Biljana is generous with her time, talents and resources as she continues to give by supporting organizations by donating her paintings for fundraisers and providing a University Bursary for a student studying visual art. She is a well-versed and active ambassador who plays a significant role in the development of culture in Thunder Bay.

cultural supporter

Gloria Cyr  Gloria Cyr
Over the last decade, Gloria Cyr has worked tirelessly to support and promote Thunder Bay's Arts & heritage sectors. Mrs. Cyr has been director and president of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, YES Employment, St. Anthony's Catholic Women's League, and the Canadian Federation of University Women. She has dedicated herself to local charities, the St. Andrew's Cemetery Advisory Board (Chair), the Aesthetics Committee at Confederation College (President), the Sister City Committee (Coordinator), and the City of Thunder Bay's Heritage Advisory Committee. her contributions of time and energy have been exemplary; she often works 'behind the scenes; and helps the organizations she is involved in with very meaningful and valuable ways. The expertise, passion and leadership that she brings and shares, and her willingness to assist wherever help is needed, have helped these groups and committees achieve impressive results.

cultural supporterCathy Paroschy Harris ***award recipient***

Cathy Paroschy Harris
Cathy Paroschy is a talented choreographer, innovator, educator, and dance instructor who has spent the last 27 years as the volunteer Artistic Director of Chaban Ukrainian Dance Group. Cathy has a passion for all things Ukrainian, especially the preservation of Ukrainian culture through dance, and has been a strong promoter of Chaban in the community, nationally, and internationally. She has vision and a strong belief in Chaban's youth and family volunteers, and lives her motto that Chaban is not only a dance group but it is a community. She exemplifies volunteerism, while maintaining a full-time profession, raising a family, and being a part-time Lakehead University graduate student.

cultural business ***award recipient***Walleye logo

The Walleye Magazine
Since its first publication in July 2010, The Walleye Magazine has quickly emerged as Thunder Bay's definitive source of information on the arts and culture scene. Every month, the magazine assembles a series of engaging stories that highlight the best of Thunder Bay. Through their small group of freelance writers, photographers and graphic designers, the magazine covers events (including the much anticipated event calendar) and arts/culture previews/reviews. Over 3,000 people read the magazine online, and hard copies seem to vaporize every month to the point that's it's a challenge to find a hard copy. The Walleye is locally-owned, donates 1% of all revenue to the Thunder Bay Field Naturalist's Nature Reserve Program, and regularly sponsors a variety of arts and culture events in the city.

small business ***award recipient*** Walleye logo

The Walleye Magazine
Since its first publication in July 2010, The Walleye Magazine has quickly emerged as Thunder Bay's definitive source of information on the arts and culture scene. Every month, the magazine assembles a series of engaging stories that highlight the best of Thunder Bay. Through their small group of freelance writers, photographers and graphic designers, the magazine covers events (including the much anticipated event calendar) and arts/culture previews/reviews. Over 3,000 people read the magazine online, and hard copies seem to vaporize every month to the point that's it's a challenge to find a hard copy. The Walleye is locally-owned, donates 1% of all revenue to the Thunder Bay Field Naturalist's Nature Reserve Program, and regularly sponsors a variety of arts and culture events in the city.

cultural business - large ***award recipient***

CIBC Thunder Bay CIBC Logo
The CIBC has a longstanding and active commitment to promoting arts and creativity in Thunder Bay, particularly among youth, and in 2012 they took a new leading role by becoming the Summer Season sponsor for the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. This partnership allowed the gallery to assemble one of its most ambitious exhibitions ever: Circle Vision: The Art of Roy Thomas, a Retrospective Exhibition. The CIBC`s financial and volunteer contributions have also allowed the gallery to run two Family Days at a very low cost to parents, ensuring that all members of the community can participate. The CIBC has also sponsored and provided volunteer support for the gallery`s 2012 Garden Tour. In 2012 CIBC Thunder Bay went the extra mile to invigorate, enrich, celebrate and preserve the artistic heritage of the city.