Mayor's Arts Lunch Celebrates Toronto Arts Foundation Awards

Awards given to artists spanning many disciplines creating exceptional work locally, nationally and internationally.

May 28, 2015, TORONTO -- Mayor John Tory and a broad spectrum of Toronto business and cultural leaders attended The Mayor's Arts Lunch on Thursday May 28th at the Arcadian Court for the presentation of the 2015 Toronto Arts Foundation Awards, totalling a value of $47,500. In addition, all winners received a commissioned work by Toronto-based artist, Shary Boyle.

The annual awards luncheon was hosted by Canadian television and film actor, and multiple award winner, Allan Hawco, renowned for his role in the television series "Republic of Doyle". The event celebrates individuals and organizations in five categories that have made outstanding contributions to Toronto’s vibrant artistic and cultural life.
"This is a new era for the Toronto Arts Foundation Awards.” Claire Hopkinson, Director & CEO of Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation comments, “There has been an extraordinary response from both the arts and corporate sectors to new funding initiatives, which has been reflected in a record number of nominations and an impressive line-up of finalists this year."
Arts for Youth Award – $15,000 cash prize

Winner: The Remix Project
An Arts incubator for underserved youth, whose mission is to help refine young artists' raw talent to help find their own measure of success.

Celebrating an individual, collective or organization that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to engaging Toronto’s youth through the arts and artistic creation. Established in 2007 by Martha Burns, Jim Fleck and Sandra and Jim Pitblado.
Emerging Artist Award – $10,000 cash prize

Winner: Emilie Lebel
Composer and the 2015 RBC Emerging Composer-In-  Residence for the National Youth Orchestra.

Celebrating the accomplishments and future potential of an emerging Toronto artist working in any discipline. Established in 2006, the award is generously sponsored by Susan Crocker and John Hunkin to support the development or completion of new work. The award given to finalist honourees was established in 2014 through the generous donation of the Bulmash – Siegel Fund.
Muriel Sherrin Award For International Achievement – A $10,000 cash prize.

Winner: Paul Read
Pianist, saxophonist, composer, educator and founder of NMC Jazz Camp

Presented biennially to an artist or creator who has made a contribution to the cultural life of Toronto through outstanding achievement. The recipient will also have participated in international initiatives, including touring, studying abroad and participating in artist exchanges. The award alternates between music to dance, and this year is made in the field of music.
Margo Bindhardt and Rita Davies Award – A $10,000 cash prize

Winner: Scott Miller Berry
 who has been running artist-run, community-based nonprofit arts collectives, including Images Festival, for almost 20 years.

Presented biennially to an individual who has demonstrated creative cultural leadership in the development of arts and culture in Toronto. Administrators, volunteers, artists and creators are eligible for consideration.
Toronto Arts and Business Award – Honourable Recognition

Winner: The Working Group 
A web strategy and digital product design studio. Their project leads and mentors guided 10 performing arts organizations through the Lean Methodology an approach for creating and managing start-ups, on how to apply it to their current projects.

Recognizing a local business that has sponsored the arts for the first time and made an important contribution to the arts in Toronto through innovative, transformative and entrepreneurial partnerships. Presented in partnership with Toronto Arts Foundation, Business for the Arts and The Toronto Star, this award was established in 2006.
This year’s nominees were chosen by a multidisciplinary jury of Toronto arts leaders: Amanda Hancox, Executive Director, Dancer Transition Resource Centre, National Office; Luis Jacob, Artist, Curator, Writer; Brenda Kamino, film and stage actor; Cynthia Lickers-Sage, Executive Producer, Aboriginal Pavilion, Aboriginal Leadership Partners; Nahed Mansour, Visual/Video Artist, Curator and Director at Mayworks Festival; Jeff Melanson, CEO, Toronto Symphony Orchestra; Ray Tizzard, musician, Orchestra Personnel Manager, National Ballet of Canada; Gili Zemer, Founder and Executive Director, Drum Artz Canada.
A separate jury of Nichole Anderson, Liz Forsberg, and Dilshad Hassen was assembled for the Toronto Arts and Business Award.

Corporate Partners
2015 marks CIBC’s second of a two-year Presenting Sponsorship of the Toronto Arts Foundation Awards.
“CIBC is committed to building strong, vibrant communities and by promoting artistic excellence we are investing in the social and economic development of Toronto. That is why we are proud to be the Presenting Sponsor of the Toronto Arts Foundation Awards presented at the Mayor’s Arts Lunch, celebrating the exceptional artists and arts organizations that enrich our community,” said Tracy Best, Region Head, Retail and Business Banking, CIBC.
Toronto Star, Cieslok Media, NOW Magazine, The Walrus, Toronto Life and Torontoist are the Toronto Arts Foundation Media Partners.


About Toronto Arts Foundation
Toronto Arts Foundation is a charitable organization that encourages artistic excellence and increases access to the arts throughout the City of Toronto through private sector investment. Our vision Creative City: Block by Block is to connect every Toronto neighbourhood with the transformative socio-economic benefits of the arts. By supporting, celebrating, financing and advocating for Toronto’s artists, we can improve the quality of life for all Torontonians.
About CIBC
CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 11 million personal banking and business clients. CIBC and our employees are committed to the social and economic development of our communities, with a focus on Kids, Cures and Community. In 2014, CIBC supported over 420 communities across Canada, contributing more than $42 million to 1,780 charitable and non-profit initiatives, including the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, the CIBC Children's Foundation and United Way. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC on our corporate website at


Contact information:
For more information on the Toronto Arts Foundation Awards and The Mayor's Arts Lunch please visit

Media Contact: Kim Galvez, Galvez + associates, (416) 702-0901,