Past Recipients of the Toronto Arts Foundation Awards

Recipients throughout the years

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2023 Awards

Nia Centre for the Arts, 2023 Recipient, Arts for Youth Award
Nia Centre for the Arts is a Toronto-based charitable organization that promotes and showcases art from Canada’s Black diaspora. The Centre supports the holistic development of artists through public art showcases, educational workshops and  professional development programs. A new 16,000 sq ft, purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility designed to nurture and support Toronto’s Black artistic community is currently being constructed, and is set to open in 2023. 

Arts for Youth Award 2023 Finalists: ONE MIC EDUCATORS and Théâtre français de Toronto

Oluseye Ogunlesi, 2023 Recipient, Breakthrough Artist Award
Oluseye is a Nigerian Canadian artist. Using diasporic debris - a term he coined to describe the found objects he collects from his travels across the Atlantic - he explores Black being across themes. He has exhibited at The Albright-Knox Musuem, Buffalo (2022); Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (2021); The Agnes Etherington Art Center, Queen’s University, Kingston (2021); and The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2015).   

Breakthrough Artist Award 2023 Finalists: Jorian Charlton and Rammah Mohammad

R.I.S.E. Edutainment, 2023 Recipient, Community Arts Award
R.I.S.E. empowers youth and emerging creatives through its unique Edutainment approach, combining education and entertainment to create meaningful work rooted in self knowledge and self-expression. Its programs provide platforms for performance, learning and leadership development, using art as a cathartic practice for self-expression and community healing.

Community Arts Award 2023 Finalists: Community Arts Guild and Tamil Archive Project

Naomi Johnson, 2023 Recipient, Margo Bindhardt and Rita Davies Award
Naomi Johnson, Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) Bear clan from Six Nations, has worked in the arts for 17 years as a curator/programmer and arts administrator. Since June 2020 she has served as Executive Director for imagineNATIVE, continuing to support Indigenous talent and arts workers within film and media arts.

Margo Bindhardt and Rita Davies Award 2023 Finalists: D. Brainerd Blyden-Taylor and Ann and David Powell

Joy Lapps, 2023 Recipient, Muriel Sherrin Award
Joy Lapps is an internationally lauded artist, composer and educator. Joy activates spaces for community building and creative expression, using the steelpan as her primary tool for engagement. Her most recent recording Girl In The Yard is an inspiring musical tribute to the women in her life. 

Muriel Sherrin Award 2023 Finalists: Measha Brueggergosman-Lee and Hilario Duran Torres

2022 Awards

Dwayne Morgan, 2022 Recipient, Celebration of Cultural Life Award
Dwayne began his career in spoken word in 1993. He has published 14 written and nine audio collections of his work, toured 18 countries internationally and been inducted to the Scarborough Walk of Fame. He works tirelessly to create platforms for other racialized artists.

Celebration of Cultural Life Award 2022 Finalists: Joy MacFadyen and Esmeralda Enrique

Shelly Grace, 2022 Recipient, Breakthrough Artist Award
Grace is a spoken word poet and photographer. She uses her art for community building and healing, focusing on the experiences of women and the Black community. In 2019 she won the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. She has worked with TDSB, Vibe Arts, CBC Arts and more.

Breakthrough Artist Award 2022 Finalists: Eponine Lee and Nathan Cole

Never Gallery Ready, 2022 Recipient, Arts For Youth Award
Never Gallery Ready delivers media-literacy-focused multidisciplinary arts programs in schools, libraries and museums. Since 2006, youth participants have created over 10,000 artworks ranging from paper collage to digital art, animation and augmented reality. Their learning resources and #WeMakeMedia podcast expand conversations about content creation, digital literacies and media futures.

Arts For Youth Award 2022 Finalists: Flaunt it Movement and Erin Brubacher

Meridian Credit Union, 2022 Recipient, Toronto Arts and Business Award
With more than 75 years of banking history, Meridian is Ontario's largest credit union, and second largest in Canada. Delivering on exceptional banking service and advice, they help grow the lives of over 370,000 members while dedicating a portion of their profits to helping local communities thrive.

In 2019, Meridian and TO Live announced a visionary partnership, with Meridian committing $30.75 million over 15 years; one of the largest agreements of its kind in the arts and culture community in Canada. The partnership includes sponsorship support and support to TO Live’s programming within three of its landmark city theatres; it marks Meridian and TO Live’s shared commitment to building strong and enduring communities. For its outstanding support for the arts through this partnership, Meridian is being awarded the Toronto Arts Foundation Arts and Business Award. 

Andrew Marzotto, 2022 Recipient, Emerging Jazz Artist Award
Andrew Marzotto has been playing guitar since the age of nine. After graduation from Berklee in 2016, Andrew returned to Toronto and developed into a performing and session guitarist accompanying world-class instrumentalists and vocalists, while also appearing on a diverse collection of albums ranging from hip-hop to cutting edge jazz. 

Emerging Jazz Artist Award 2022 Finalists: Madeleine Ertel and Aline Homzy

Ange Loft, 2022 Recipient, Indigenous Artist Award

Ange Loft is an interdisciplinary performing artist and initiator from Kahnawà:ke Kanien'kehá:ka Territory, working in Tsi Tkarón:to. She is an ardent collaborator, consultant, and facilitator working in arts based research, wearable sculpture, theatrical co-creation and Haudenosaunee history.

Indigenous Artist Award 2022 Finalists: Rebecca Baird and Sandra Laronde

Jesse Wabegijig, 2022  Mentee Recipient, Indigenous Artist Award
Jesse is an Indigenous, trans, two-spirited, non-binary, storyteller and Fire Keeper of the Ojibway nation, and a conservatory trained actor. They trained at Debajehmujig Storytellers and Centre for Indigenous Theatre. Their practice as a community oriented artist has its foundations in the styles of Jumblies, Clay and Paper Theatre and Shadowland.

2021 Awards

Greg Staats, 2021 Recipient, Indigenous Artist Award
Greg Staats Skarù:reˀ/ Kanien’kehá:ka, Hodinöhsö:ni. b. 1963, Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. A Toronto based artist whose Hodinöhsö:ni restorative aesthetic employs mnemonics of condolence and performative burdens articulated in visual forms that hold body and place including: oral transmission, text works, embodied wampum, photographic, sculpture, installation and video. Staats' practice conceptualizes Land as monument embodied within a continuum of relational placemaking with his on-reserve lived experience, trauma, and the explorations of ceremonial orality. Staats’ lens based language documents cycles of return towards a complete Onkwehón:we neha [our original ways] positionality, reciprocity and worldview.

Greg Staats, active since 1981 studied Applied Photography, Sheridan College, ON and is the recipient of the Duke and Duchess of York Prize in Photography. Solo exhibitions include: articule, Montreal, Kelowna Art Gallery, Urban Shaman Gallery, Winnipeg, MN, Tom Thomson Gallery, McMaster Museum of Art, KWAG, Mercer Union, Gallery TPW, G44, Trinity Square Video/Images Festival. Galerie Séquence, QC. Group exhibitions include; AGYU, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, National Gallery of Canada, Varley Art Gallery of Markham [OAAG award 2019], MOCNA, Sante Fe. Staats served as Faculty for two Aboriginal VA Residencies, Banff Centre: Archive Restored (2009) and Towards Language (2010). Staats’ works are held in public, private and corporate collections. Upcoming solo exhibitions: Art Gallery of Ontario, OPENING OCTOBER 23, 2021, CONTACT Photo Festival at Todmorden Mills. [2021] Art Gallery of Hamilton, ON (2023) and Agnes Etherington Art Centre, ON (2025). Staats was a finalist shortlisted for the 2021 Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography from the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography at Harvard University and the SCOTIABANK Photography Award [2018 and 2021].

Alfred Keye, 2021 Mentor Recipient, Indigenous Artist Award
Alfred Keye - Tawënaë:' is Turtle Clan of the Kanien’kehá:ka, [Mohawk] Nation, Hodinöhsö:ni’. b. 1943, Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Alfred is a Longhouse Faith Keeper,  Cayuga translator and transcriber, former Native Second Language and Cayuga Immersion Teacher, ironworker/welder and lacrosse player.

Alfred has been recognized as an Indigenous knowledge guardian at Deyohahá:ge: Indigenous Knowledge Centre, Six Nations Polytechnic, 2010.

Alfred is also a co-author along with Frances Froman and Lottie Keye of the English-Cayuga/Cayuga-English Dictionary University of Toronto Press, Jan. 1, 2002, 744 pages. Produced under the auspices of the Sweetgrass First Nations Language Council Inc.

Alfred also worked for COOL - Cayuga Our Oral Language Program as the translator and transcriber of the Gaihwi:yo: Code of Handsome Lake into the Cayuga Language as well as other traditional ceremonies and speeches. This was a 5-year Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) Project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The official SSHRC title for this project is “Cayuga Language Maintenance” with project leaders Amos Keye, Jr., Director of First Nations Language Program at the Woodland Cultural Centre, and Dr. Carrie Dyck, Linguistics Professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Alfred Keye resides on the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.

Indigenous Artist Award 2021 FINALISTS: Joseph Sagaj and ​Cynthia Lickers-Sage

Naty Tremblay, 2021 Recipient, Community Arts Award

Naty Tremblay is a mixed blood identical twin & trickster, queer activist and community organizer, cyborg storyteller, arts educator-facilitator, artrepreneur, iconoclast and one-person band. They hail from a wee organic farm on Anishinabek three-fire confederacy & Haudenosaunee territory, Ontario, and uses ‘They’ and ‘Handsome’ as preferred pronouns.

Community Arts Award 2021 FINALISTS: Queen Kukyoi and Ruben Esguerra

Paprika Festival, 2021 Recipient, Arts for Youth Award
Since 2001, Paprika Festival has been a launching pad for young and emerging artists. Paprika runs free year-round training programs that culminate in the annual Paprika Festival, showcasing new work by new generation artists. Paprika has been the starting point for several of Canada’s most celebrated artists and arts leaders.

Arts for Youth Award 2021 FINALISTS: BAM Collective and Xpace Cultural Centre

Denise Bolduc, 2021 Recipient, Margo Bindhardt and Rita Davies Award
Bolduc is an established creative director and producer who programs to transform perspectives and activate change.  Her career of three decades represents countless contributions and connections with numerous celebrated artists, creative thinkers and leading cultural institutions with an emphasis on elevating Indigenous voices. Denise is French and Anishinaabe, a member of Batchewana First Nations with familial ties in Ketegaunseebee.

 Margo Bindhardt and Rita Davies Award 2021 FINALISTS: Del Mahabadi and Dwayne Morgan

Vivine Scarlett, 2021 Recipient, Muriel Sherrin Award
Vivine is Founder, Executive Director and Curator for dance Immersion, an organization that supports dancers and dances of the African Diaspora. Her inspired journey continues to provide a variety of platforms that serve Canadian artists of African ancestry with opportunities that have laid a foundation for continued growth and representation.

Muriel Sherrin Award 2021 FINALISTS: Mi Young Kim and Emily Cheung

Britta B., 2021 Recipient, Emerging Artist Award
Britta B. is a poet, performer, emcee, voice actor, and educator. She teaches poetry and social justice workshops with organizations like JAYU (pronounced JAH-YOU), the League of Canadian Poets and Prologue Performing Arts. Britta is currently a Creative Writing MFA candidate at University of Guelph.

Emerging Artist Award 2021 FINALISTS: Olivia Shortt and Irma Villafuerte

Joanna Majoko, 2021 Recipient, Emerging Jazz Artist Award
Toronto-based vocalist, composer, and bandleader Joanna Majoko has established a reputation for herself as one of Canada’s most exciting young singers, and is a regular presence on the bandstand with some of the country’s top musicians. Born to German and Zimbabwean parents, Majoko spent her childhood in Zimbabwe. She is equally at home singing neo-soul, orchestrating a jazz standard and playing the caxixi and the claves. This year Majoko has released her debut EP,  No Holding Back, an astonishing, powerful statement on her personal history, the fruitful collaborative relationships of her musical present, and her vision for the future to come. 

Emerging Jazz Artist Award 2021 FINALISTS: Virginia MacDonald and Sarah Thawer

Canada Life, Recipient, Toronto Arts and Business Award
Canada Life is a leading insurance, wealth management and benefits provider focused on improving the financial, physical and mental wellbeing of Canadians. For more than 170 years, individuals, families and business owners across Canada have trusted them to provide sound guidance and deliver on the promises they have made. Today, they proudly serve more than 12 million customer relationships from coast to coast to coast.


2020 Recipients 

JAYU, 2020 Recipient, Arts for Youth Award
JAYU is a charity committed to sharing human rights stories through the arts. Their year-round programming includes the Human Rights Film Festival, Last Tuesdays Virtual Screening Series, The Hum podcast, and iAM, an arts & social-justice training program for underserved youth in Toronto which leads to exhibition opportunities, employment, peer-to-peer leadership and more.

Sandra Laronde, 2020 Recipient, Celebration of Cultural Life Award
Arts innovator and leader Sandra Laronde has conceived, produced and disseminated programming that is Indigenous, multi-national, multi-and-interdisciplinary and intergenerational in scope. She is the Executive and Artistic Director of Red Sky Performance, a Toronto-based company that is a leader of contemporary Indigenous performance in Canada and worldwide.

Jamii, 2020 Recipient, Community Arts Award
Since 2011, The Esplanade – one of downtown Toronto’s most diverse communities – has been enlivened by the local arts group Jamii (Swahili for “community”). Through the production of over 120 memorable arts-based experiences that recognize and celebrate all people and genders while nurturing female leadership, Jamii strengthens community and lifts spirits.

jes sachse, 2020 Recipient, Emerging Artist Award
Presently living in Tkaronto, jes sachse is an artist, writer and choreographer who addresses the negotiations of bodies moving in public/private space and the work of their care. Often found marrying poetry with large scale sculptural forms, their work has been presented and supported by 7a*11d Performance Art Festival, Dancemakers, the Centre de Création et Recherche O Vertigo, Musagetes, Harbourfront Centre, among other centres.

Jesse Ryan, 2020 Recipient, Emerging Jazz Artist Award
Trinidad-born saxophonist and composer Jesse Ryan has been praised as a fresh new voice, with a unique perspective on the music of today. His Bridges project is an emerging, eclectic quintet that bridges both the jazz and Afro-Caribbean traditions - A true celebration of the cultural, rhythmic and expressive connections between North America and the islands.

PhemPhat Entertainment Group, 2020 Recipient, Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition
PhemPhat Entertainment Group produces the Honey Jam programme for young female artists of all cultures and musical genres that provides promotional, mentoring, networking, educational and performance opportunities. It is a welcoming, supportive sisterhood and a safe space for young women to be vulnerable, to learn, to build self esteem and long-lasting relationships. The initiative was started in 1995 by Ebonnie Rowe.

Concord Adex, 2020 Recipient, Toronto Arts and Business Award
Concord Adex has been building Canada’s largest lifestyle-forward urban communities for over 30 years. These communities are globally renowned for their vibrant urban planning as the developer is Canada’s most substantial contributor of city parks and privately funded public art. In addition to their design sustained neighbourhoods, the company’s green energy arm generates twice the amount of energy needed to power them.

2019 Recipients

Blank Canvas Gallery, 2019 Recipient, Arts for Youth Award
Blank Canvas is an art collective that continues to build a vibrant art community that drives culture forward and creates platforms for marginalized artists through events, panels, workshops and content creation. Blank Canvas seeks to reimagine spaces that allow emerging artists to explore their intersectional identities, where the ability to share narratives and raise awareness of culturally critical issues facing our communities is fostered. Using varying forms of artistic and cultural expression, Blank Canvas focuses on what’s best for their community, spreading positive energy, showcasing new artists, taking up space unapologetically and being a cultural conduit for creatives. 

​Joshua Vettivelu, 2019 Recipient, Emerging Artist Award
Joshua Vettivelu is an artist, programmer and educator working within sculpture, video, installation and performance. Their works explore how larger frameworks of power manifest within intimate relationships. Recently their practice examines the tensions that emerge when personal experiences are mined for art production, and how this allows institutions to posture and position themselves as self-reflexive. Currently, Vettivelu teaches in the faculty of Art and Continuing Education at OCADU and is the previous Director of Programming of Whippersnapper Gallery.

Gladstone Hotel, 2019 Recipient, Toronto Arts and Business Award
Christina Zeidler, President of The Gladstone Hotel, leads the entrepreneurial vision and business philosophy of the hotel, embracing creativity with dynamic contemporary art programming and immersive art events. Built in 1889 and restored by Christina in 2008, the hotel is an architectural backdrop for creative passions to play out. More than just a place to stay overnight, the Gladstone is an ongoing experiment in cultural entrepreneurship and urban development. It’s a place where local artists exhibit their work, perform and where artists and neighbourhood patrons come just to hang out. The Gladstone supports and promotes Toronto’s creative community while protecting and preserving artists’ place in the neighbourhood.

Eve Egoyan, 2019 Recipient, Muriel Sherrin Award
Eve Egoyan is an internationally acclaimed concert pianist based in Toronto. She has released a dozen discs and toured worldwide. Eve’s curiosity compels her to reinvent the piano for herself and her audiences, to curate exceptional programmes and to commission new works by like-minded artists and composers.

​Nina Lee Aquino, 2019 Recipient, Margo Bindhardt and Rita Davies Award
Nina Lee Aquino is a leading Filipina-Canadian director and dramaturge based in Toronto. She was founding Artistic Director of fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre, Artistic Director of Cahoots, and is currently Artistic Director of Factory Theatre. She is recipient of the Ken McDougall Award (2004), the Canada Council John Hirsch Prize (2008), and two Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Outstanding Direction.

Mark Godfrey, 2019 Recipient, Emerging Jazz Artist Award
Mark Godfrey has emerged as one of the leading new faces in Canadian jazz. Awarded the Grand Prix de Jazz from the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2014 along with his ensemble Pram Trio, his work as a co-leader, bassist and composer has garnered international recognition. Equally versatile on both double and electric bass, he has established himself a mainstay on the Canadian jazz scene, performing at jazz festivals across the country and with a variety of Canadian artists, including Kellylee Evans, Barbra Lica, Jake Koffman and the Toronto Jazz Orchestra. Godfrey, who released his debut EP in 2018, also works as a jazz educator.

Collette Murray, 2019 Recipient, Community Arts Award
Collette Murray is a dance performer, instructor, mentor, and cultural arts programmer. Also known as “Miss Coco,” her performance background includes traditional West African drum/dance and Caribbean folk dance. Collette’s mobile dance education business offers dance instruction and performance rooted in African and Caribbean experiences. Currently, Collette is a MEd candidate at York University’s Faculty of Education, where her graduate research focuses on the successes and challenges of culturally responsive artists teaching in the Ontario education system.

2018 Recipients

RISE Edutainment, 2018 Recipient, Arts for Youth Award
Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere (RISE) is a youth-led grassroots movement that provides opportunities and spaces for youth to develop artistically, socially, and spiritually. RISE creates safe and inclusive spaces that foster self-expression and healing through the performance arts and storytelling. RISE came from a need by young people to have a safe space to express and be themselves; to tell their stories about their lives, and their successes and challenges to inspire positive change.

​Jivesh Parasram, 2018 Recipient, Emerging Artist Award
Jivesh Parasram is multidisciplinary artist, researcher, and facilitator of Indo-Caribbean descent. His work has played across Canada, and Internationally. He is the Artistic Producer at Pandemic Theatre and the Associate Artistic Producer at Theatre Passe Muraille. Jiv grew up in K’jipuktuk (Halifax) and currently endeavours to split his time between T'karón:to (Toronto) and the Unceded Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver).

Active Green + Ross - Complete Tire and Auto Centre, 2018 Co-Recipient, Toronto Arts and Business Award
Lyndsay Ashby, Owner/Operator of Active Green+Ross #779 in Etobicoke, not only services her customer vehicles, she is also an active member in the community, contributing both time and services. Lyndsay was so engaged by The HopeWorks Connection, which provides arts programs to youth in marginalised communities, that she increased her first-time sponsorship within the same fiscal year.

RBC, 2018 Co-Recipient, Toronto Arts and Business Award
RBC recognizes that the arts play an important role in building vibrant communities and strong economies. The RBC Emerging Artists Project, which has supported over 8,000 artists since 2015, helps artists to bridge the gap from emerging to established by supporting organizations that provide the best opportunities to advance their career trajectory.

Ruth Howard, 2018 Recipient, Celebration of Cultural Life Award
Ruth Howard is the founding Artistic Director of Jumblies Theatre. She has created multi-year residencies in a series of Toronto neighbourhoods, resulting in large-scale productions and independent Offshoots. She has worked as a theatre designer and mentored many artists and organizations. Recent projects include the 2016 Touching Ground Festival, the Four Lands tour, and Round the Table, a musical meal.

The WholeNote, 2018 Recipient, Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition
Now in its 23rd year, The WholeNote is an independent, Toronto-based monthly print and online magazine, supporting live local musical culture. With 30,000 free copies per issue in print and an active website (, we publish free event listings, reviews, columns and features, in genres from classical, new, and world music, to jazz, opera and musical theatre. 

Rebecca Hennessy, 2018 Recipient, Emerging Jazz Artist Award
Rebecca Hennessy is a highly sought-after Toronto-based trumpeter, composer and bandleader. As a leader and co-leader, Rebecca has released eight albums and has toured Mexico, Panama, Sri Lanka, Europe, USA and in Canada. She has performed and recorded with internationally recognized artists including Adele, Ron Sexsmith, Andy Kim, Owen Pallett, Broken Social Scene, Feist, Ab Baars and Ken Vandermark. Rebecca co-leads modern jazz quartet Way North. In 2016, her FOG Brass Band was nominated for both the Montreal Jazz Festival’s Grand Prix de Jazz and the Halifax Jazz Festival’s Galaxie Rising Star Award. Her most recent CD, Two Calls was rated best Canadian jazz albums of 2017 by Ottawa Citizen.

UrbanArts, 2018 Recipient, Community Arts Award
UrbanArts is a progressive not-for-profit local arts service organization (LASO) linking the needs of those who create/make art, those who engage the artist as an essential element of their own development, and those who support UrbanArts because it adds value (sense of identity, lifestyle, prosperity) to the neighbourhood. UrbanArts is committed to the goal of building inclusive, engaged communities by enriching people’s lives through the arts, culture and heritage, with programs, services and resources delivered within the former City of York boundaries, with a focus on York South-Weston.

2017 Recipients

The Artists Mentoring Youth Project, 2017 Recipient, Arts for Youth Award
The AMY Project is a free performing arts training program serving young women and non-binary youth. AMY breaks down barriers to participation by providing meals and transportation; accessible, queer and trans inclusive and anti-racist environments; and more. With the mentorship of professional artists, AMY participants learn to tell their stories with honesty, integrity, and artistic rigour.

Anique Jordan, 2017 Recipient, Emerging Artist Award
Anique Jordan  is an artist, award-winning writer, educator, curator and entrepreneur. Her recent work thinks about working class aesthetics, time travel, invisibility, Caribbean carnival, and Black Canadian futurities. In 2017 Jordan was awarded the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist award, she recently completed a 2017-2018 artist residency at the University of  the West Indies (Trinidad and Tobago) and is the 2018-19 Osgoode Hall Law School Artist-in-Residence.

Aviv Restaurant, 2017 Recipient, Toronto Arts and Business Award
Aviv Restaurant specializes in locally sourced authentic Mediterranean Cuisine inspired by dishes from Israel, Middle East, Italy, Greece and Morocco. Aviv, located just south of Casa Loma, is the hospitality sponsor at Tarragon Theatre. Robert Chee at Aviv is a true partner and champion whose constant promotion of the local theatre is invaluable. Many Tarragon patrons love having brunch (Cubana Eggs Benedict or Spicy Shakshuka) at Aviv before heading to the theatre. Since winning this award, the restaurant has moved to St. Clair West and has re-branded as Aviv Immigrant Kitchen.

Yvonne Ng, 2017 Recipient, Muriel Sherrin Award
Yvonne Ng is a choreographer, presenter, arts educator and founder and artistic director of princess productions. Her works have toured internationally for the past fifteen years. Her company’s arts education programs such as Swallowing Clouds (youth) and Picture Us! (Cross-generational) are active in 18 library branches. She is also the driving force behind the presentation series dance: made in canada/fait au canada (created in 2001) which has transitioned into a biennial festival that presents contemporary choreographers from across Canada.

Her commissioned choreography and performances have earned her fifteen Dora Mavor Moore nominations. She also received numerous accolades including the Jacqueline Lemieux Prize, Soulpepper Community Artist Award, K.M. Hunter Artist Award, the New Pioneers Arts Award and the Chalmers Arts Fellowship. A multiple nominee, in 2000 she was honoured with a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance. In 2007, Ng received the Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts – New Talent Award.

Jacoba Knaapen, 2017 Recipient, Margo Bindhardt and Rita Davies Award
As a champion for the performing arts, Jacoba has passionately worked in Toronto’s cultural sector for over three decades. Deeply committed to the ongoing development of theatre, dance and opera, she is the past recipient of a Harold Award for her contribution and mentorship to the Independent Theatre community and a recipient of a Vital People Award from The Toronto Community Foundation. She is a long-time producer of the Dora Mavor Moore Awards. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA). She also serves as the Chair of ArtsVote Toronto and teaches Arts Marketing at the Arts Administration – Cultural Management Program at Humber College.

Larnell Lewis, 2017 Recipient, Emerging Jazz Artist Award
Toronto native Larnell Lewis is a musician, composer, producer, educator and clinician. One of Canada’s most promising up-and-coming drummers, Lewis has garnered international status with his most recent works with the three-time Grammy Award winning band, Snarky Puppy. He is a part-time music professor at Humber College, has been featured on the cover of Modern Drummer (September 2016), and has performed with such artists as Fred Hammond, Lalah Hathaway, Lisa Fischer, and Laila Biali.

Syrus Marcus Ware, 2017 Recipient, Community Arts Award
Syrus Marcus Ware is a Vanier Scholar, a visual artist, community activist, researcher, youth-advocate and educator. For 12 years, he was the Coordinator of the Art Gallery of Ontario Youth Program. Syrus is currently a facilitator/designer for the Cultural Leaders Lab (Toronto Arts Council & The Banff Centre). He is the inaugural artist-in-residence for Daniels Spectrum (2016/2017). Syrus is also a core-team member of Black Lives Matter Toronto.

2016 Recipients

Young Peoples Theatre, 2016 Recipient, Arts for Youth Award
Young People’s Theatre (YPT) has been producing and presenting theatre for young audiences nationally for 55 years. It also creates and engaging experiences in schools and the community through its comprehensive Education and Participation programs providing youth and children inspiring ways to develop their whole being. These programs involve workshops in community shelters and agencies, educational initiatives in classrooms, Drama school programs in four locations throughout Toronto, as well as training and apprenticeship opportunities. YPT has won an outstanding 62 Dora Mavor Moore Awards and 13 Chalmers Children’s Awards. In 1996 the company was also awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the Arts.

Benjamin Kamino, 2016 Recipient, Emerging Artist Award
Benjamin Kamino is a dancer and curator whose work undertakes dance as armaturge for ulterior modes of study. His endeavours in performing, making dance, and dance pedagogy are enmeshed as a continual research of “what is dance?” His recent interest concerns dance and choreography as distinct ideas towards the possibility of a languageless condition.

Bridgewater Family and Wealth Services, 2016 Recipient, Toronto Arts and Business Award
Nominated by Studio 180 Theatre for their exceptional commitment to arts enrichment and education, BridgeWater Family Wealth Services’ multi-year sponsorship supports an innovative workshop program for high school students called Studio 180 IN CLASS. This multidisciplinary program uses theatrical techniques to humanize social and political issues and helps students by generating discussion, developing critical thinking skills, exploring multiple viewpoints, promoting empathy and inspiring creativity. BridgeWater’s support plays an integral role in the program and has helped over 1,500 students from across Toronto and the GTA access arts enrichment programming over the last three years.

David Buchbinder, 2016 Recipient, William Kilbourn Award
David Buchbinder is a JUNO award-winning trumpeter, composer and cultural inventor, known for his diverse musical projects the Flying Bulgars, his Jazz Ensemble, Nomadica and Odessa/Havana and was founding artistic director of the Ashkenaz Festival. He produced Shurum Burum Jazz Circus, Tumbling Into Light and Andalusia to Toronto, and is the founder of the urban transformation organization Diasporic Genius.

Ritesh Das, 2016 Recipient, Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition
Musician, composer, and teacher Ritesh Das, founder of the Toronto Tabla Ensemble, has brought his unique musical heritage and vision to Canadian audiences for 25 years, through his recordings, performances and his tireless dedication to training future generations in the South Asian musical tradition at his tabla academy in Toronto.

​Amanda Tosoff, 2016 Recipient, Emerging Jazz Artist Award
Amanda Tosoff is a Toronto-based pianist and composer. She has performed with internationally recognized artists like Ingrid Jensen, Emilie-Claire Barlow, Phil Dwyer, Brad Turner, and Kelly Jefferson, and her groups have opened for jazz legends Bobby Hutcherson, Renee Rosnes, Oliver Jones, and Brazilian singer Luciana Souza. Amanda has been awarded such honours as General Motors Grand Prix de Jazz at the 2009 Montréal Jazz Festival, and a 2014 graduating scholarship from the University of Toronto – an award given out to graduates deemed to have potential to make a contribution to music. On her fifth release, Words (2016), Amanda has taken an adventurous leap beyond the confines of conventional jazz. She has taken poems and lyrics that possess a personal resonance for her and framed them in original new compositions that utilize vocals for the first time (sung by highly-regarded singer Felicity Williams of band like Hobson’s Choice, Broken Social Scene, and Bahamas). The result is an eclectic collection that incorporates elements of art song, classical, folk and jazz.

Regent Park Film Festival, 2016 Recipient, Community Arts Award
Regent Park Film Festival (RPFF) is a non-profit cultural and educational media arts organization. It is Toronto’s longest-running, free community film festival, and is the sole community film festival in Canada’s largest and oldest public housing neighbourhood. RPFF is dedicated to showcasing local and international independent works relevant to people from all walks of life. The key communities they serve are Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities, people who are low-income, people who live in public housing, and Regent Park residents. The films they present break stereotypes and show that no one place or person has just one story.

2015 Recipients

The Remix Project, 2015 Recipient, Arts for Youth Award
The Remix Project was created in order to help level the playing field for young people from marginalized and underserved communities. Their programs and services serve youth who are trying to enter into the creative industries or further their formal education through alternative, creative, educational programs, facilitators and facilities. Its mission is to help refine the raw talents of young people in order to help them find success as participants define it and on their own terms. Their three main academies are the Business Arts Academy, Creative Arts Academy and Recording Arts Academy.

Emilie Lebel, 2015 Recipient, Emerging Artist Award
Canadian composer Emilie Cecilia LeBel has presented her work across Canada and internationally. In 2013, Emilie completed her Doctorate in Composition at The University of Toronto. She is an Associate Composer at the Canadian Music Centre and a member of the Blue Moss Ensemble, and was the Composer-in Residence for the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

The Working Group, 2015 Recipient, Toronto Arts and Business Award
Nominated by Canadian Dance Assembly, and Orchestras Canada for their role in a progressive star-up experiment called LEANARTS, The Working Group is a web strategy and digital product design studio. Their project leads and mentors guided 10 performing arts organizations through the Lean Methodology and how to apply it to their current projects.

Paul Read, 2015 Recipient, Muriel Sherrin Award
Paul Read is a pianist, composer, arranger and educator. His instruments include: piano, saxophones, flute and clarinet. He has recorded 8 CDs, including Arc-en-ciel (Addo Records). He was the founder of NMC Jazz Camp and served on the Executive Board of the International Association for Jazz Education. Paul Read has served as Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Toronto and Humber College. Most recently, Paul Read completed multiple arrangements of Oscar Peterson’s “Hymn to Freedom” for The Coalition- The Voice for Music Education in Canada. He currently curates a blog for the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers (ISJAC). In 2017 he was inducted into the MusicFest Canada Hall of Fame and in 2018 he won the KPMT Lifetime Achievement Award with Trish Colter.

Scott Miller Berry, 2015 Recipient, Margo Bindhardt and Rita Davies Award
Scott Miller Berry is a filmmaker and cultural worker. He has been working with artist-run, community based and/or not-for-profit arts collectives and organizations for 20 years. He is the Managing Director of Workman Arts, an arts and mental health organization, and was Director of the Images Festival from 2005-2015. Scott holds an MA from the New School for Social Research and maintains an independent filmmaking and programming practice. His films are mostly shot on 16mm and/or Super 8 film and address themes of mortality, grief, memory and collective histories and are sometimes processed by hand. His film ars memorativa screened in competition at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival after debuting at Experimenta India in Bangalore.

Justin Gray, 2015 Recipient, Emerging Jazz Artist Award
Justin Gray is a bassist, composer and producer based in Toronto. His main influences include Jazz and North Indian Classical music. Justin co-leads the Toronto based Indo-Jazz ensemble Monsoon, and contemporary jazz ensemble Gray Matter. Justin is also on faculty at Humber College, where he leads the Indo-Jazz Collective. Over the course of his career, Justin has had the opportunity to perform with a number of renowned jazz artists, including; Dave Liebman, Dave Douglas, Mike Stem, Ingrid Jensen, Seamus Blake, Dan Weiss, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Greg Osby, John Riley, Tony Mallaby, Pat Labarbera and David Mott. In 2010, Justin invented and co-created the Bass Veena, an instrument designed for Indian classical and Indo-jazz music. Justin is now emerging as the first artist to perform traditional and original music on this instrument worldwide. Justin has previously received generous support from the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts to pursue original composition, recording and formal studies.

2014 Recipients 

CUE, 2014 Recipient, Arts for Youth Award
CUE is an arts initiative dedicated to providing mentorship, project funding and exhibition opportunities for new generation artists who live and work on the margins in Toronto. Since 2008 (to 2014), CUE has disseminated over $160,000 to support the creation of 156 art projects in multiple disciplines. CUE operates the Margin of Era Galleries, a multidisciplinary arts space. Its points of focus include grassroots outreach, high-access applications and project-development mentorship, support and mentorship through production, peer-leadership and continuing support to grant recipients.

Jordan Tannahill, 2014 Recipient, Emerging Artist Award
Jordan Tannahill is a Canadian novelist, playwright, and director of film and theatre. Jordan’s plays have been translated into ten languages and widely honoured in Canada and abroad. He has twice won a Governor General's Literary Award, Canada's highest state honour for literature; for Drama in 2018 for his plays Botticelli in the Fire & Sunday in Sodom, and in 2014 for Age of Minority: Three Solo Plays. He was also a finalist for the award in 2016 for Concord Floral. 

Heights Development Inc., 2014 Recipient, Toronto Arts and Business Award
A joint venture partnership between developers Context and Metropia to revitalize the Lawrence Heights area. Metropia – A real estate development company that strives to offer a wide range of housing options with an emphasis on community, affordability and a responsibility to the environment. Context – A real estate development company, focused on the development of innovative residential condominiums in Toronto’s urban centre, providing artful and efficient solutions to the design challenges of urban sites.

Philip Akin, 2014 Recipient, William Kilbourn Award
Philip Akin has been acting and directing for over 30 years. He was a founding member of Obsidian Theatre (established in 2000), Canada’s leading Black theatre company, and has served as artistic director from 2006 - 2020. He has worked tirelessly to provide opportunities and guidance for emerging artists.

Michie Mee, 2014 ​Recipient, Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition
Michie Mee is known within the music industry for her unique rap style of combining reggae and dancehall with hip-hop. As Canada’s first female MC, with over two decades in the entertainment industry, the Juno-nominated rapper and actress is not only an inspiration for female musicians, but also all artists nationwide.

Chelsea McBride, 2014 Recipient, Emerging Jazz Artist Award
Chelsea McBride is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer, and band leader based out of Toronto, Ontario. After relocating to Toronto from Vancouver to obtain her B.Mus at Humber College, Chelsea now leads two of her own projects: Chelsea and the Cityscape and Chelsea McBride's Socialist Night School, both of which feature her original compositions and talents as a saxophonist. Her highly personal blend of modern jazz, pop-rock influences, and subtle, moody orchestrations has coalesced into a bright and fresh new sound that listeners of all stripes can enjoy.

2013 Recipients 

Arts Starts, 2013 Recipient, Arts for Youth Award
Since their inception in 1992, Art Starts inspires and cultivates social change by bringing professional artists and Toronto residents together to create community-building arts projects across all artistic disciplines. They bring professional artists and communities together to work in and across all artistic disciplines by encouraging social change in Toronto’s underserved neighbourhoods. They work towards nurturing local talent, beautifying public spaces and providing safe, inclusive environments for self-expression and creative collaboration. Community programming for children includes arts and dance programs. Art Starts also provides artistic mentorship for professionals, youth, emerging and newcomer artists through exhibits, performances, residencies and professional development programs.

Daniel Karasik, 2013 Recipient, Emerging Artist Award
Daniel Karasik is a writer, actor and director. Published books include: The Crossing Guard & In Full Light, a volume of plays (Playwrights Canada Press), The Remarkable Flight of Marnie McPhee, a play for children (Playwrights Canada Press), and Hungry, a poetry collection (Cormorant Books). His plays have been produced professionally across Canada, in the United States, and regularly in translation in Germany. His honours include the CBC Literary Award for Fiction, The Malahat Review‘s Jack Hodgins Founders’ Award for Fiction, the Canadian Jewish Playwriting Award, and the SummerWorks Performance Festival’s Jury Prize for Outstanding New Play. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Paprika Festival and the Playwrights Guild of Canada, and on the juries of the SummerWorks Performance Festival and the Governor General's Literary Awards (Drama). His poems and stories have appeared in leading journals across Canada and in the United States, including The Malahat Review, The North American Review, and Air Canada’s EnRoute Magazine, and he is one of eleven poets featured in the Cormorant Books anthology Undercurrents: New Voices in Canadian Poetry, ed. Robyn Sarah. As an actor, Daniel has performed lead roles on major stages across the country, including Tarragon Theatre and the Arts Club Theatre, as well as in fi lm/TV.

Sun Life Financial, 2013 Recipient, Toronto Arts and Business Award
Sun Life Financial is proud of their long-standing and award-winning support of the arts, which includes many cultural organizations in Toronto. For many years they have been the Season Sponsor of Tafelmusik. As National Partner of Culture Days, they further strengthen their commitment to the arts and extend their support to more than 800 cities and towns across Canada.

Denise Fujiwara, 2013 Recipient, Muriel Sherrin Award
Denise Fujiwara is a choreographer, dancer, dance teacher and impresario. She began her movement career as a member of the Canadian gymnastics team. After competing at the international level, she then turned to dance. In 1978 she co-founded the collective Toronto Independent Dance Enterprise (TIDE) along with other choreographers. She created Fujiwara Dance Inventions in 1991 to further her solo projects.  In 1997 she co-founded and continues as the Artistic Director of the CanAsian International Dance Festival, which commissions and showcases Canadian dance artists. Her work EUNOIA, a multimedia work based on Christian Bök’s Griffin Poetry Prize winning book, premiered at World Stage in Toronto. It was nominated for three Dora Mavor Moore Awards and named in NOW’s Top 5 Dance Shows of 2014. Her six solo dance concerts, Spontaneous Combustion, Vanishing Acts, Sumida River, Elle Laments, Brief Incarnations and Komachi have garnered praise across Canada and have toured to festivals in the United States, South America, Europe and Asia.

​Che Kothari, 2013 Co-Recipient, Margo Bindhardt and Rita Davies Award
Che Kothari is a photographer, director, producer, organizer, manager, instigator, & artist, most affectionately known as “Che.” He is the founding Executive Director of Manifesto Community Projects, whose mission is to unite, inspire and empower diverse communities of young people thorugh arts and culture. His photography career has included intimate portrait sessions with well-known artists such as Damian & Ziggy Marley, Nas, Erykah Badu, Ashanti, Ice Cube of NWA, Chuck D of Public Enemy, Common, Cypress Hill, A Tribe Called Quest, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez and many others. Che has also established a Management and Creative Services Company called Gifted Management, where he has worked with artists such as Ms. Lauryn Hill, Machel Montano, Protoje, Mustafa the Poet and more. One of Kothari’s biggest accomplishments in advocacy was co-founding the movement and chairing it's mobilization committee which lead to putting a fee on the billboard industry in Toronto which raises approx. $18 million per year earmarked for public youth arts initiatives in marginalized communities. He has mentored over 30 young people and leads workshops, talks and month-long mentorship programs. 

Robert Foster, 2013 Co-Recipient, Margo Bindhardt and Rita Davies Award
Robert Foster is Founder, President and CEO of Capital Canada Ltd., an independent investment banking firm. Robert's passionate vocation has always been his volunteer work in Toronto's arts and cultural community. He has served on or chaired for a vast range of 30 not-for-profit Board of Directors, such as Toronto Artscape, Business for the Arts, Luminato, the Harbourfront Foundation and The Mayor’s Task Force for Arts and Theatres. In 2011, Foster was the lead Co-Chair for a year-long examination of Toronto’s cultural capacity and priorities, which resulted in the Creative Capital Report for the City of Toronto.

Mammalian Diving Reflex, 2013 Recipient, Community Arts Award
Mammalian creates performances by looking for contradictions to whip into aesthetically scintillating experiences. They create site and social-specific performance events, theatre productions, participatory gallery installations, videos, art objects and theoretical texts to foster dialogue and dismantle barriers between individuals of all backgrounds by bringing people together in new and unusual ways.

2012 Recipinets

Supporting our Youth, 2012 Recipient, Arts for Youth Award
Supporting our Youth (SOY) is a community development program by Sherbourne Health that actively works to support the health and well-being of all queer and trans spectrum youth under 29 through programming events and community group initiatives such as Intersections - SOY’s Tuesday health and wellness hub, Express – for newcomer immigrant and refugee youth, and the Black Queer Youth Initiative. SOY provides one-on-one support and mentorship as well as peer leadership training. SOY also provides housing support for LGBT2SQ youth through their independent living housing model in partnership with St. Clare’s Multi-Faith Housing Society.

Chris Curreri, 2012 Recipient, Emerging Artist Award
Chris Curreri is a Canadian artist who works with film, photography and sculpture. His work is premised on the idea that things in the world are not defined by essential properties, but rather by the actual relationships that we establish with them. His work and films have been presented throughout Canada and internationally. He holds an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College.

Daniels Corporation, 2012 Recipient, Toronto Arts and Business Award
Over the past two decades, The Daniels Corporation has become one of Canada’s preeminent builder/developers and has earned a reputation for quality and integrity in all forms of residential construction. Among its many initiatives, Daniels was chosen to partner with Toronto Community Housing to revitalize Regent Park – 69 acres in Toronto’s Downtown East. Committed to community.

Jini Stolk, 2012 Recipient, William Kilbourn Award
Jini Stolk, Toronto Arts Foundation Research Fellow, and co-founder and Creative Champions Lead, is a current member of the board of Toronto Outdoor Art Fair and has served on many boards including the Centre for Social Innovation and Toronto Arts Council. She was founding chair of the Ontario Nonprofit Network; and has chaired the Artscape, Hum dansoundart and Six Stages Theatre Festival boards. She has led producing and arts service organizations including Creative Trust, Toronto Dance Theatre and the Toronto Theatre Alliance; and has advised boards of directors across Toronto and Ontario. Her contributions as a leader and advocate in the arts have been recognized by the William Kilbourn Award for the Celebration of Toronto's Cultural Life, among other awards. 

Lydia Adams, 2012 ​Recipient, Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition
As an ambassador of the Canadian Music Centre and hailed by the CMC as “the new leading exponent of the Canadian choral composer”, Lydia Adams has dedicated her career to the growth of Canadian choral music. She is Artistic Director the Elmer Iseler Singers, national leaders in commissioning, premièring, performing and recording Canadian choral works. In the fall of 2016, Lydia was appointed director of the Western University Singers. In Spring 2018, Lydia Adams received the honorary degree,  Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, from Cape Breton University for her dedication “to the preservation and evolution of musical culture.“

2011 Recipients 

The Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, 2011 Recipient, Arts for Youth Award
The Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre (CCDT) was established in 1980 by Artistic Director Deborah Lundmark for emerging dance artists under the age of 19. Its members and audiences alike have enjoyed some of Canada’s most prestigious dance luminaries such as David Earle, Carol Anderson, Danny Grossman, Margie Gillis, Peggy Baker, Robert Glumbek, and Peter Chin and, most recently, Ofilio Sinbadinho, Colin Connor, Jennifer Archibald, Kevin Wynn, Sylvie Bouchard, Apolonia Velasquez, and Hanna Kiel. Members have gone on to perform at the Canada Dance Festival in Ottawa as well as Toronto’s Princess of Wales and Royal Alexandra Theatres for the Creative Trust and Dancers for Life galas. Most recently they were featured at the Harbourfront Centre’s inaugural Junior International Festival and at Fall for Dance North

CCDT has engaged with over 300,000 young people through its Ontario Arts Access Program. The company has represented Canada internationally at the inaugural Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival in Glasgow, Scotland and has also gone on to tour Singapore, Malaysia and China. CCDT has a repertoire of over 100 works by renowned Canadian and international choreographers, all made approachable for youth, students and family audiences alike. Their three annual programs are: WinterSong – dances for a sacred season, Teasing Gravity and Gravity’s Edge. 

Adam Garnet Jones, 2011 Recipient, Emerging Artist Award
Adam Garnet Jones (Cree/Métis/ Danish) is a Two-Spirit screenwriter, director, bead-worker and novelist from Edmonton Alberta. His first feature, Fire Song, debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015. Fire Song went on to win the Audience Choice Award at ImagineNATIVE, before picking up three more audience choice awards and two jury prizes for best film at other festivals. Adam has recently shifted his artistic practice away from writing and directing film and is focusing on writing fiction. His first novel, Fire Song (based on the film) was published in the spring of 2018.

​TD Bank Group, 2011 Recipient, Toronto Arts and Business Award
TD Bank Group plays a leadership role in the cultural development in Canada's next generation of artists and audiences. Perhaps best known for its sponsorship of major music festivals, TD also supports cultural education programs and increases accessibility to those programs among Canadian children and youth. From student rush ticket programs to tours to remote communities, TD helps performing arts organizations engage and inspire the next generation. TD is one of Toronto's - and Canada's - most important champions of arts education.

Dr. Trichy Sankaran, 2011 Recipient, Muriel Sherrin Award
Dr. Trichy Sankaran is an Indian percussionist, composer, scholar and educator. His expertise is is in playing the mridangam, a South Indian percussion instrument. His artistry has bridged eastern and western pedagogical styles and has influenced many of his students who have become notable artists themselves. He has published two major books: one on the theory and techniques of South Indian classical drumming, and the other on the Art of Konnakkol (Solkattu). He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 2012 and awarded the "Tiruchirapalli Carnatic Musicians Lifetime Achievement Award" in 2017. He currently resides in Toronto and is a professor and founding director of Indian music studies at York University. 

Jane Marsland, 2011 Recipient, Margo Bindhardt and Rita Davies Award
Jane Marsland is an articulate advocate for the arts and has served on a wide range of boards, advisory groups and committees for many years. Since 1999, Marsland has worked with more than 90 arts organizations. Marsland was a co-founder of For Dance and Opera, co-founder and Director of Technical Assistance of The Creative Trust: Working Capital for the Arts, as well as co-founder and director of ARTS 4 CHANGE, a three-year program designed to create positive change for and by arts professionals in Toronto. She was General Manager of the Danny Grossman Dance Company from 1983-1999. In 1995, Jane was awarded the first M. Joan Chalmers Award for Arts Administration for outstanding contribution to leadership in the arts.

2010 Recipients 

Manifesto Community Projects, 2010 Recipient, Arts for Youth Award 
Founded in 2007 by a collective of youth and urban arts community members, Manifesto Community Projects is a platform for contemporary youth arts and culture, curating programming in music, visual arts and dance. Programs include art shows, block parties, workshops and summits, pop-ups and the annual Manifesto Festival of Community & Culture. Its mandate involves cultivating local arts, culture and community by helping local artists thrive and provide an enriching experience for young people to aspire to. The locally-established organization has built a network of collaborations with global artists and creative leaders.

Jamie Travis, 2010 Recipient, Emerging Artist Award
Jamie Travis is a Toronto-based filmmaker who has written and directed award-winning short films, music videos and television commercials. He received international recognition for his two short film trilogies, The Patterns and The Saddest Children in the World. His six short films all premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and his work has had numerous retrospective screenings at festivals and art galleries.

BMO Financial Group, 2010 Recipient, Toronto Arts and Business Award
BMO was recognized for its long-standing commitment to mid-sized Toronto theatre organizations, as it continues to support companies who take profound artistic risks, forge new producing and presenting models and push ideas of what theatre might be. Their consistent and stable support enables companies to focus on what is really important – the art.

Mallory Gilbert, 2010 Recipient, William Kilbourn Award
Mallory Gilbert (1937 - 1999) joined the staff at Tarragon Theatre in its second season and became an important member of its founding family. She started as Tarragon’s Theatre Manager in the 1972/73 season and became General Manager in 1975, remaining in that position until 2006. In her time at Tarragon, she was instrumental in creating a space where Canadian artists could thrive and create in an overwhelmingly supportive environment. In 2006, PACT celebrated its 30th anniversary by creating the Mallory Gilbert Leadership Award for outstanding arts managerial leadership. As an independent arts consultant, she worked extensively with the Creative Trust, a non-profit project initially dedicated to helping small and mid-size arts groups build up endowment funds. 

José Ortega, 2010 ​Recipient, Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition
José Ortega is the co-founder and artistic director of Lula Lounge - a performance venue in Toronto showcasing a diverse line-up of upcoming and established artists . Lula Lounge grew out of Open City, a non-profit organization which programmed and promoted many arts events including dance, poetry, visual arts and live music. Lula Lounge has become ground-zero of Toronto’s exploding Latin, Brazilian and world music scene. It is an important part of the nurturing and support of this new and vibrant Canadian music.

2009 Recipients 

Mammalian Diving Reflex, 2009 Recipient, Arts for Youth Award
Founded in 1993, Mammalian Diving Reflex is a research-art atelier dedicated to investigating the social sphere, always on the lookout for contradictions to whip into aesthetically scintillating experiences. It strives to create site and social-specific performance events, theatre productions, participatory gallery installations, videos, art objects and theoretical texts to foster dialogue and dismantle barriers between individuals of all backgrounds by bringing people together in new and unusual ways. Mammalian Diving Reflex uses artistic social practice to uplift and empower children and youth and the ways in which they engage with the world. Projects include: All the Sex I’ve Ever Had, Haircuts by Children, Teentalitarianism, Sex, Drugs & Criminality, Nightwalks with Teenagers, The Children’s Choice Awards, These are the people in your neighbourhood and Eat the Street.

Mammalian Diving Reflex has won numerous accolades including the Neighbourhood Arts Network TD Arts Diversity Award (2013), the Toronto Community Foundation’s Vital Toronto Award in (2013) and the Harbourfront Centre’s Fresh Ground New Works Award (2012). 

Anusree Roy, 2009 Recipient, Emerging Artist Award
Anusree Roy is an actor, director and playwright who completed an M.A. in Drama at the University of Toronto. She moved to Canada from India with her family when she was a teenager and went on to complete an undergraduate degree at York University in Toronto. Her play, Pyaasa, and her performance of all four characters earned her two Dora Mavor Moore Awards in 2008 in the category of independent theatre division.  In 2011, Brothel #9 was the winner of the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play.  Roy’s play Sultans of the Street, about four children begging on Kolkata, India, premiered at the Young People’s Theatre in Toronto on April 28, 2014, and went on to sweep all five Dora Mavor Moore Awards 2014 in the Theatre for Young Audiences Division.

​Scotiabank, 2009 Recipient, Toronto Arts and Business Award
Scotiabank and its employees have provided millions to Arts & Culture initiatives, including contributions in support of programs, projects and organizations in the communities in which we live and work.

Christopher House, 2009 Recipient, Muriel Sherrin Award
Resident Choreographer for Toronto Dance Theatre since 1981, Christopher was named Artistic Director in 1994. He also served as the Artistic Advisor to the Professional Training Program at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre for many years. In addition to contributing over fifty works to the TDT repertoire, he has created choreographies for many other companies and individuals, directed two collaborations with alt-pop band The Hidden Cameras, and made several short films and videos. His work has toured across Canada, the USA and to major centres in Europe and Asia. He stepped down from his role at TDT in 2020. 

Miriam Adams, 2009 Recipient, Margo Bindhardt and Rita Davies Award
Miriam Adams is the Co-founder/Director of Dance Collection Danse (DCD), a national dance archives and publishing house that has published 38 dance books encompassing biography/memoir, cultural history, educational resources and reference books including the Encyclopedia of Theatre Dance in Canada/Encyclopédie de la Danse Théâtrale au Canada. Adams graduated from the National Ballet School and is a former dance with The National Ballet of Canada. She and her late husband, principal dancer Lawrence Adams, taught choreographed and founded the 15 Dance Laboratorium, Toronto’s first experimental dance venue. Together they initiated ENCORE!ENCORE! in 1983, a reconstruction project designed to rescue Canadian choreographic works from the 1940s and 1950s.

2008 Recipients

SKETCH,  2008 Recipient, Arts for Youth Award 
SKETCH provides creative training initiatives for street-involved, homeless and at-risk youth aged 16-29. Its model of youth engagement enhances both practical and transferable skills, while serving as a conduit for increased well-being and social and civic participation. The basis of its programming is founded on a commitment to fairness and inclusion through accessibility, anti-oppression and transformative justice. Forms of art that are taught at the studio include ceramic arts, culinary arts, media arts, movement, screen printing, music, industrial arts, textile and visual arts. SKETCH also provides one-on-one arts mentorship for young artists seeking to pursue an arts project. 

Weyni Mengesha, 2008 Recipient, Emerging Artist Award
Award winning director Weyni Mengesha started her career directing 'da Kink in my Hair' across North America and in London, helping build it into an international sensation; and composing its Dora-nominated score. Recent directing work includes the Canadian premiere of Father Comes Home from the Wars by Suzan-Lori Parks at Soulpepper Theatre Company (Winner “Outstanding Production” 2017 Dora Award) and Breath of Kings, an original adaptation of the Herniad Cycle, and Hosanna at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. In 2018 Weyni Mengesha became the Artistic Director of Soulpepper Theatre Company.

Tory's LLP, 2008 Recipient, Toronto Arts and Business Award
The award honours Torys' pro bono work with CARFAC Ontario (Canadian Artists' Representation/le Front des artistes canadiens) in operating the Visual Artists' Legal Clinic of Ontario (VALCO). Since 2005, more than 30 of Torys' lawyers have advised artists on a pro bono basis through VALCO. Most of those artists would not otherwise have afforded legal representation.

Thomas Hendry, 2008 Recipient, William Kilbourn Award
Thomas Hendry's (1929-2012)  bold work as a playwright, theatre administrator and arts activist had a meaningful impact on the Canadian Arts Community. Hendry helped to define and develop Canadian theatre through his own brilliant writing and through his support of Canadian works and premieres. In addition, Hendry  developed policy and institutions that helped support the arts. His efforts as co-founder of Arts and the Cities and Policy Director of the Toronto Arts Council (1984-1995) contributed to dramatic increases in municipal spending on the arts and improved equal access to these benefits.

Richard Underhill, 2008 ​Recipient, Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition
Richard Underhill is a Canadian jazz saxophonist. A founding member of the jazz fusion group The Shuffle Demons, he has toured Europe and Canada to critical acclaim for over 27 years. Underhill won a 2003 Juno Award for his jazz solo debut Tales from the Blue Lounge, and was nominated for the Prix du Jazz at the 2003 Montreal Jazz Festival. He followed up with the Juno nominated Moment in Time in 2005, Juno nominated Kensington Suite in 2007 and the CD/DVD Free Spirit in 2010.

2007 Recipients 

VIBE Arts (formerly Arts for Children and Youth), 2007 Recipient, Arts for Youth Award
Established in 1995, VIBE Arts is an award-winning charitable organization committed to providing children and youth in under-resourced communities with high quality community and school based arts education. With a 20 year trajectory, VIBE Arts has become one of the most celebrated community arts organizations in Toronto.

d’bi.young.anitafrika, 2007 Recipient, Emerging Artist Award
d’bi.young anitafrika is an African-Jamaican London-based international dub poet, theatre interventionist and decolonial scholar who is committed to creating and nurturing art that ritualises acts of recovery from violence inflicted upon the people and the planet. Shx is a multi-award-winning Canadian Poet of Honor, author of twelve plays, seven albums and four collections of poetry and was recently recognised as a Global Artist and Leader in Theatre & Performance by Arts Council England. Shx has facilitated global artist residencies in the Anitafrika Method with hundreds of practitioners worldwide, in addition to teaching hxr decolonial framework at universities across the globe. d’bi.young has worked as Theatre Interventionist in the UN's Global Initiatives Fellowship and is currently planning the inaugural Dub(b)in Poetry & Theatre Festival premiering online Dec 1-9, 2020. Hxr latest book is Dubbin Theatre: The Collected Plays of d’bi.young anitafrika (the fourth title in her Dubbin Praxis pentalogy).

Robert Lowrey's Piano Experts, 2007 Recipient, Toronto Arts and Business Award
Robert Lowrey's Piano Experts has established itself as a generous and committed supporter of artists and arts organizations across the GTA. From a children's concert to a TSO event, Robert Lowrey continues to show his support for Toronto musicians by donating his time, pianos, moving and tuning services, as well as sponsoring competitions.

Lawrence Cherney, 2007 Recipient, Muriel Sherrin Award
Artistic Director of Soundstreams, Lawrence Cherney is committed to showcasing the work of living Canadian and global composers/musicians, often bringing to focus contemporary conversations to communities. A proponent of new music in Canada, Cherney commissioned more than 30 new works for oboe during his career. He is a charter member of the National Arts Centre Orchestra and a founding member of the York Winds.

​Franco Boni, 2007 Recipient, Margo Bindhardt and Rita Davies Award
Franco Boni is a recognized cultural innovator, facilitator and community builder with a demonstrated history of artistic credibility and financial acumen which has resulted in the flourishment of many local art organizations and festivals. Boni’s leadership with the Theatre Centre led the company to a $6M Capital Campaign, the building of its new performance venue in Toronto, and the development of its prestigious Residency Program. He also established the Free Fall Festival and co-founded Progress Festival. He served as Festival Director of the Rhubarb Festival from 1998-2000 and as Artistic Producer of the SummerWorks Festival from 1999-2004. Boni is the inaugural recipient of the Ken McDougall Award for Emerging Directors. He also received The George Luscombe Award for Mentorship in Theatre, and the Exemplary Citizen Award from Deputy Mayor Ana Bailao.

2006 Recipients 

Natasha Mytnowych, 2006 Recipient, Emerging Artist Award
Natasha Mytnowych is currently the Managing Director at The Globe and Mail Centre. She was responsible for the programming, facility and administrative management for Artscape Youngplace, a cultural community hub in the West Queen West area and Artscape Sandbox, a creative event space in the entertainment district. She is an award-winning arts leader and theatre director. 

CIBC Mellon, 2006 Recipient, Toronto Arts and Business Award
CIBC Mellon was nominated for the award by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir. In her nomination, Jeanne Lamon, music director of Tafelmusik said “The involvement of senior executives from CIBC Mellon has been crucial to the success of Tafelmusik. Their direct involvement has helped the orchestra to expand strategically and artistically to ensure a strong and vibrant future as an international centre of musical excellence.”

Peter Chin, 2006 Recipient, Muriel Sherrin Award
Chin is a choreographer / dancer, a singer / instrumentalist / composer, designer, writer, director, and performance artist. His works have been presented internationally and throughout Canada. With Chin’s company, Tribal Crackling Wind, he has created over 40 original works, from solos  to works that have involved over 26 performers, live non-western orchestras mixed with western instrumentation, rich visuals/sets, and international and Canadian dancers/interpreters.

Albert Schultz, 2006 Recipient, William Kilbourn Award
Albert Schultz is a former Canadian actor, director and the founding artistic director of Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre Company, which he left in 2018. 

Jeanne Lamon, 2006 ​Recipient, Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition
Jeanne Lamon served as Music Director of Tafelmusik from 1981 to 2014. She is now Tafelmusik’s Music Director Emerita. During her tenure as director, Tafelmusik evolved into one of the world’s preeminent baroque orchestras. For this work, Ms. Lamon has received numerous awards. In 2000 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada, and in 2014, a Member of the Order of Ontario. Ms. Lamon guest directs orchestras across Canada and is a passionate teacher of young professionals.

2004 Recipients 

Marshall Pynkoski, 2004 Recipient, Muriel Sherrin Award
In 1985 Marshall Pynkoski founded Opera Atelier with his partner Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg and he has since directed a wide range of period productions of Baroque and early Classical opera and ballet in close collaboration with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. He has acted as guest instructor at the Centre for Baroque Studies, Versailles under conductor Marc Minkowski with whom he premiered North America’s first period productions of The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni.

Djanet Sears, 2004 Recipient, William Kilbourn Award
Djanet Sears is a Canadian playwright, actor and director, nationally recognized for her work in African-Canadian Theatre. Sears has many credits in writing and editing highly acclaimed dramas such as Afrika Solo, the first stage play to be written by a Canadian woman of African descent; its sequel Harlem Duet; and The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God.

​Molly Johnson, 2004 Recipient, Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition
Known as one  of  Canada’s greatest  voices, award-winning jazz vocalist  Molly Johnson is a mother, singer-songwriter, artist and philanthropist. Molly has performed throughout  Canada, the  United States, and France  alongside many renowned artists. She  has been awarded the  Queen’s Jubilee  medal, and in 2008, was honoured with becoming an Officer of  The Order Of  Canada (O.C.) in recognition for her philanthropic work and international contributions to the  arts. In 2009, Molly won  a Juno  Award  for  Best  Vocal  Jazz  Album  for  “Lucky,” and received the  2009  National Jazz  Award  for  Best  Female Vocalist. In 2016, Molly launched the  Kensington Market  Jazz Festival, which showcases 150+  shows over one  weekend in September to more  than 5000 music fans. Her most  recent  album, “Meaning To Tell Ya,” was released in 2018. 

2002 Recipients

Danny Grossman, 2002 Recipient, Muriel Sherrin Award
Danny Grossman is a Canadian dancer, choreographer, and activist. He created the Danny Grossman Dance Company in 1977, which closed in 2008. Underpinning Grossman's work is his fierce belief in the use of the arts as an agent for social justice. Grossman has created and restaged his work for a wide variety of companies, including the Paris Opera Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada and Canadian Children's Dance Theatre.

Joy Hughes, 2002 Recipient, William Kilbourn Award
Joy Hughes is a fiber arts artist and an administrator for the Cedar Ridge Studio Gallery, a non-profit art collective.

Roger D. Moore, philanthropist, 2002 ​Recipient, Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition
Roger D. Moore (1939–2019) provided financial support to organizations large and small, such as Tapestry Opera, The Music Gallery, and Off Centre Music Salon, and the Canadian Opera Company. At the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, he founded the Roger D. Moore Distinguished Visitor in Composition.

Mr. Layne Coleman, 2002 Recipient, Margo Bindhardt and Rita Davies Award
Layne Coleman is a writer, actor and director. He is the former Artistic Director of Theatre Passe Muraille, Canada’s oldest alternative theatre, where he played the title role Hamlet and developed over 150 new Canadian plays. As an actor, he is best known for his performances in George Walker’s Suburban Motel series. Highlights of his directorship career include: Riot (winner of a Chalmers Award), One Eyed Kings, A Common Man's Guide To Loving Women, In The Wings, The Drawer Boy, A Good Idea (In Theory), Highway 63 (The Tar Sands Story), and King's Conscience. Layne Coleman has also won the George Luscomge Award for mentoring and the Silver Ticket Award from the Toronto Association for the Performing Arts.

2000 Recipients 

Joe Sealy, 2000 Recipient, Muriel Sherrin Award
Joe Sealy has enjoyed a highly successful career as a musician, composer, recording artist and radio broadcaster.  In 1997 he won a Juno Award for Africville Suite. As a pianist, he has toured with “Blood Sweat and Tears” and performed with such artists as Joe Williams, Milt Jackson, Veronica Tennant, and Timothy Findlay. 

Rina Singha, 2000 Recipient, William Kilbourn Award
Rina Singha is a Kathak performer and choreographer. Rina has choreographed traditional and experimental works that reflect her life experiences and social issues related to life in Canada such as Songs From Exile Walls, Lullabye and Lament, Prithvi (an Earth Narrative) and full length Biblical works including The Seekers: from the Garden of Eden to the Walls of Jericho. In 1992, Rina Singha founded Rina Singha Kathak Dance Organization (RSKDO). 

Tom Hendry, 2000 Recipient, Margo Bindhardt and Rita Davies Award
Tom Hendry (1929-2012) was a playwright/administrator. He co-founded the Manitoba Theatre Centre in 1958. He became the first literary manager of the Stratford Festival 1969-70. In 1971 he co-founded Playwrights Co-op which is now the Playwrights Guild of Canada and in the same year he also co-founded Toronto Free Theatre. He also co-founded the playwrights colony at the Banff Centre for the Arts and headed it from 1974-76.

His notable plays include: Trapped (MTC, 1962, directed by Hirsch), Satyricon (Stratford, 1969, Hirsch), Fifteen Miles of Broken Glass (Central Players, Toronto, 1969, Martin Kinch), How Are Things With The Walking Wounded? (Toronto Free Theatre, 1972, Kinch), Gravediggers of 1942 (Toronto Free Theatre, 1973, Eric Steiner), Byron (Toronto Free Theatre, 1976, Kinch), Hogtown: Toronto the Good (Toronto Truck Theatre, 1981, Brian MacDonald), Not in My Back Yard (Golden Horseshoe Players, Toronto, 1994). He also wrote for the CBC television series King of Kensington.

1999 Recipients 

Louis Applebaum, 1999 ​Recipient, Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition
Louis Applebaum (1918-2000) was a Canadian film score composer, administrator, and conductor. He was the first music director of the Stratford Festival and in 1955 established the Stratford Music Festival as an offshoot of the then two-year-old theatre festival.

1998 Recipients

David Earle, 1998 Recipient, Muriel Sherrin Award
David Earle is a Canadian choreographer, dancer and artistic director. In 1968 Earle was co-founder and co-artistic director of Toronto Dance Theatre alongside Patricia Beatty and Peter Randazzo, where Earle choreographed new modern dance pieces. In 1996 Earle started his own company called Dancetheatre David Earle.

Doris McCarthy, 1998 Recipient, William Kilbourn Award
Doris McCarthy, CM, O.Ont (1910 – 2010) was a Canadian artist specializing in abstracted landscapes. McCarthy's work has been exhibited and collected extensively in Canada and abroad, in both public and private art galleries Including: National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Doris McCarthy Gallery[1] at the University of Toronto Scarborough, and Wynick/Tuck Gallery.

​Maureen Forrester, 1998 Recipient, Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition
Maureen  Forrester, CC OQ (1930 – 2010) was a Canadian operatic contralto wo performed regularly in concert and opera in Canada and internationally. She was a strong champion of Canadian composers, regularly scheduling their works in her programs, especially when she toured abroad. 

1997 Recipients

Hart/Murdock Artists Management, 1997 ​Recipient, Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition
Established in 1974, Hart/Murdock Artists Management was one of the largest and most successful artist management agencies in Canada at the time. They represented (mostly) classical musicians, nurturing and building their careers, and finding them engagements in recital and with orchestras and choral groups around the world. 

1996 Recipients

Jeanne Lamon, 1996 Recipient, Muriel Sherrin Award
Jeanne Lamon served as Music Director of Tafelmusik from 1981 to 2014. She is now Tafelmusik’s Music Director Emerita. During her tenure as director, Tafelmusik evolved into one of the world’s preeminent baroque orchestras. 

Jessie Iseler, 1996 ​Recipient, Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition