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Planning, Property & Development

Mayor's Business Improvement Zone Awards

On May 9, 2019, Mayor Brian Bowman presented the Mayor's BIZ Awards to recognize and celebrate the contributions that Winnipeggers and businesses have made to enhance their local Business Improvement Zone.

"Business improvement zones play an important role in building our city as well as enhancing pride in our city," said Mayor Brian Bowman. "It's great to have an opportunity every year to show our appreciation for all the great work our BIZs do making our communities and city a better place to live, work, and do business."

Thank you to the 16 Business Improvement Zones representing 5,000 local businesses in Winnipeg. Below are links to the 2019 BIZ Award Recipients.


BIZ Awards Recipients
Mayor Bowman


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Academy Road Business Improvement Zone Award
Academy Road Business Improvement Zone

Award recipient: Marli Sakiyana

Marli recognized the need for a proactive approach to addressing concerns about petty, yet regular crimes in her neighbourhood. To come up with an innovative solution, she used a cross-sector approach, working with the Winnipeg Police Service, community members, and Councillor John Orlikow.

To address neighbourhood crime issues, they came up with the Motion Light Project, where residents and businesses were provided with a motion light, along with free installation. The motion light detectors were installed in back lanes throughout the area.

As a result of the Motion Light Project, businesses and residents in the Academy Road BIZ Zone feel safer – and a safer neighbourhood encourages businesses to move into the area.

Corydon Avenue Business Improvement Zone Award

Corydon Avenue Business Improvement ZoneAward recipient: Lisa Tjaden

Radiance Gifts on Corydon Avenue has become known as place that celebrates love, peace and community. Since opening in 1995, Radiance Gifts has become one of Winnipeg's largest metaphysical headquarters, supplying an array of spiritual and healing resources.

In 2007, Lisa became owner of Radiance Gifts and developed it into a place for social gatherings, which attracted old and new friends to the Corydon strip. Her dedication to the neighbourhood has added to business longevity and attraction.

As a Corydon Avenue BIZ member, Lisa's community contributions have included the CEO Sleepout, Change for the Better, and the Never Alone Foundation. She is proud to support local suppliers, producers and artists.

Downtown Winnipeg Business Improvement Zone Award

Downtown Winnipeg Business Improvement ZoneAward recipient: Prairie Theatre Exchange.
Accepting the award is Artistic Director Thomas Morgan Jones.

Prairie Theatre Exchange, commonly known at the PTE, was formed by a group of volunteers in 1972. And in 1989, the theatre moved to its current location on the 3rd floor of Portage Place.

This move resulted in bringing 75,000 people downtown every year, along with over 7,000 children and their families, who often experience their first taste of live theatre at the PTE's holiday shows.

PTE has never forgotten its roots as a provider of theatre education. In partnership with the Winnipeg School Division, PTE instructors visit elementary schools, or bring students to their theatre space, offering a special outlet for expression that many children would not be able to otherwise experience.

As well, the community programs that the theatre has created over the years are simply too numerous to mention.

Exchange District Business Improvement Zone Award
Exchange District Business Improvement Zone

Award recipient: Forth Projects.
Accepting the award is Hospitality & Operations Manager, Pamela Kirkpatrick.

On top of running a bar, restaurant, coffee shop, event space, and office space, Forth Projects also participates in First Fridays and Nuit Blanche.

Forth Projects frequently partners with other BIZ members to create unique and engaging events, including the ForthWith music festival, aerial yoga, beer and botany, open mic nights with the Purple room, and photography workshops with Don's Photo.

Forth was featured in the Globe and Mail in 2017 as a "must see" place to dine. As well, they were recognized with an award in commercial conservation from Heritage Winnipeg that same year, for the restoration of their building - which is a designated heritage building - into a multi-use community space.

Forth Projects promotes a culture of creativity and collaboration, which enriches the Exchange District as a whole.

North End Business Improvement Zone Award
North End Business Improvement Zone

Award recipient: Jessica Thompson.

Jessica is the owner of Paws for Thought Boutique for Pets. This popular North End business provides safe, affordable, Canadian pet foods. In addition to caring for animals, Jessica's other passion is community outreach – through the provision of pet advice and educational events.

Jessica has offered the Care Cat program since October 2001. The program's focus is on helping cats, and their people, throughout the North End.

She also enjoys hosting special events with rather unique names, including:

  • Neuterama
  • St. Catricks Neuter Day
  • Kitty Trivia
  • and Cat Ladies & Gentlemen’s Club

Jessica believes that community outreach and business go hand in hand. She enjoys offering a unique and peaceful shop experience that supports local artists. As a result, Paws for Thought has become a destination for animal lovers from all over Manitoba.

Norwood Grove Business Improvement Zone Award
Norwood Grove Business Improvement Zone

Award recipient: Karla Mozdzen

Coronation Park features a BIZ Band Shell, which was under-utilized for most of the year, with the exception of one summer concert.

The park was also home to weekly Zumba classes with local instructor Karla Mozdzen.

Karla had hosted an annual Zumbathon for MS for several years in Coronation Park, partnering with the Norwood Grove BIZ to put on the yearly event. As a result, the park became a desirable location for her Zumba group.

In 2018, Karla took on the role of helping to program activities in the park through a "BIZ Summer Series". Her passion for the community put the park on the map. Requests to book the park, along with other summer programming, significantly increased.

The Norwood Grove BIZ would like to thank Karla for investing her time and energy into the marketing of Coronation Park.

Old St Vital Business Improvement Zone Award
Old St Vital Business Improvement Zone

Award recipient: the St. Mary's Road United Church Food Bank.
Accepting on behalf of the organization is Joan Boone.

The St. Mary’s Road United Church Food Bank has tirelessly served the Old St. Vital BIZ neighbourhood for 20 years. The Food Bank is open every Wednesday afternoon year round, and is a valuable resource to over 60 local families.

The Food Bank is a labour of love for Coordinator Joan Boone. And every week, Joan is assisted by a team of friendly and dedicated volunteers to run the Food Bank. This team includes students and teachers from a variety of nearby schools.

The Old St. Vital BIZ recognizes the Food Bank as a vital volunteer organization and would like to thank all of the dedicated community members who come together to make this happen every week.

Osborne Village Business Improvement Zone Award
Osborne Village Business Improvement Zone

Award recipient: Jillian Zdunich

Jillian's Shop Take Care provides a safe, inclusive, gender-neutral shopping experience for everyone. Her store provides a vast selection of consignment clothing - from extra-small to plus size.
Shop Take Care believes in sustainability, ethically-sourced and recycled fashion, along with the importance of giving back to the community through monetary contributions and clothing donations.

Shop Take Care has worked with several non-profit organizations, including Main Street Project and the Rainbow Resource Centre. As well, Jillian has donated several thousand clothing items to the city's most vulnerable populations.

Jillian was recently a finalist in the CBC Manitoba Future 40 - recognized for the important business and community work that she has done through Shop Take Care.

Provencher Blvd Business Improvement Zone Award
 Provencher Blvd Business Improvement Zone

Award recipient: Constance Menzies.

Owner of Chocolatier Constance Popp, Constance has been a Provencher Boulevard BIZ member and business owner for six years. During that time, Constance has participated in countless events and promotions that have drawn city-wide and national attention – not only to Chocolatier Constance Popp, but to the BIZ Zone, as well.

Her dedication has directly impacted the community by creating a special destination within the zone. Promotions and events including Culture Days, Festival du Voyageur, and the Winnipeg Folk Festival - along with numerous in-store promotions - have attracted many locals and visitors to Provencher storefronts.

In addition to business savvy, Constance is a community advocate and supporter of local organizations that contribute to the BIZ zone and Winnipeg as a whole.

St James Village Business Improvement Zone Award
St James Village Business Improvement Zone

Award recipient: the 2018 St. James Village BIZ Green Team.
Accepting the award is Councillor Scott Gillingham.

For three seasons, the St. James Village BIZ was fortunate to have a consistent group of students who made up the Summer Green Team.

Chelsea McBey, Jeremy Woods and Chelsea McNabb teamed up to promote St. James Village BIZ programs - in the community, and through social media.

Their established teamwork was a huge asset in terms of running the St. James Village BIZ extended watering program last summer, which assisted other BIZ Zones.
The team also took on the promotion of the BIZ Instagram account. Their posts were creative, featuring beautiful photos, along with the popular "Dogs of St. James" feature. Their work helped to increase awareness of the BIZ to a wider audience.

St Norbert Business Improvement Zone Award
St Norbert Business Improvement Zone

Award recipient: Marilyn Firth.

Marilyn has been Executive Director of Le Marché St. Norbert Farmers' Market for 12 years.

The market attracts an estimated 150,000 annual visitors to the area who support over 200 local producers. Over the years, the St. Norbert Farmers' Market has grown from a summer market, to a place where local producers can sell year round. This year, the market is celebrating 31 years in operation.

Under Marilyn's direction, a $1 million site and building improvement was completed in 2018, which included a new market building, washroom facilities, and other improvement to the grounds.

Marilyn is passionate about the community and has initiated many events, including a non-certified organic garden farm. She also serves on the boards of Group Action St. Norbert and Shakespeare in the Ruins.

Selkirk Avenue Business Improvement Zone Award
Selkirk Avenue Business Improvement Zone

Award recipient: Fivie Gunn.
Accepting the award on his behalf is his brother Bernie Gunn.

Fivie has been dedicated to the Selkirk Avenue neighbourhood for his entire life. His parents established Gunn's Bakery in 1937 and he and his brother Bernie continued to operate their parent's kosher bakery after their father's passing in 1973.

Fivie's role as a business leader includes being the Selkirk Avenue BIZ Vice-president. And today, even after selling the family business, he still attends meetings to keep in touch and provide advice.

Fivie's contributions to the Selkirk Avenue BIZ and community are too numerous to mention, but a few highlights include: the 1990s mural program; employing underprivileged youth; participating on the Merchant's Corner recruitment sub-committee; and contributing to the North End Business Development strategy.

Even with the recent sale of Gunn's Bakery, Fivie remains dedicated to Selkirk Avenue and plans to help the new owner make a smooth transition. What more can a BIZ ask of a community leader?

South Osborne Business Improvement Zone Award
South Osborne Business Improvement Zone

Award recipient: Chaeban Ice Cream.
Accepting the award are owners Joseph Chaeban and Zainab Ali.

Chaeban Ice Cream provides Lebanese-style ice cream, which includes exotic flavours like rosewater, orange blossom, and toasted pistachios.

Since opening its doors in December 2017, the business has become a sought-after restaurant destination.

In addition to creating ice cream flavours sold at their shop and through restaurants, Chaeban launched an ice cream cart so their business could be transported to events around the city.

In 2018, they received a Foodie of the Year award from Western Living magazine, as well as a Great Manitoba Food Fight award.

The shop is proud to display five core values in their space: put people before payment; make everything from scratch; be environmentally friendly; support local producers; and give back whenever possible.

On this note, the business is extremely thankful to the community who helped bring their family members to Winnipeg.

Transcona Business Improvement Zone Award
Transcona Business Improvement Zone

Award recipient: Bjorn Johnson.

The Transcona BIZ Student Art Banner program showcases 58 street banners throughout the neighbourhood every year. This program would not be possible without the dedication of Bjorn Johnson, an art teacher from Murdoch Mackay Collegiate. For over six years, he has assisted students from across the River East Transcona School Division in creating banners that help to beautify the BIZ Zone.

To enable creation of the banners, Bjorn supervises an annual three-day banner painting workshop. During this time, BIZ staff and parents join him in assisting students with painting their unique creations.

In 2017, the banner program was recognized by the Canada Summer Games. This recognition would not have been possible without Bjorn’s enthusiasm and leadership. He also contributes to the Transcona BIZ by consulting on art projects and creating sketches for the BIZ photo booth for Canada Day celebrations.

West Broadway Business Improvement Zone Award
West  Broadway Business Improvement Zone

Award recipient: Jennifer Diakiw LaBuick.

Jennifer has been a dedicated board member of the West Broadway BIZ for several years. She oversaw the roll out of the streetscape master planning document and went on to become Chair and Vice Chair of the West Broadway BIZ board. Her creativity, project management and planning skills were invaluable.

Her role with the BIZ started as an opportunity to build a bridge between Great-West Life (now called Canada Life) and the community. Jennifer served as a key link between the BIZ and the insurance company, partnering on numerous projects that benefited the West Broadway neighbourhood in the areas of economic development, vibrancy and safety.

Jennifer is inspired by the people of the West Broadway community and by the passion they have as business owners and residents. She feels privileged that the BIZ continues to work with her on the betterment of the neighbourhood.

West End Business Improvement Zone Award
West End Business Improvement Zone

Award recipient: The Sons of Italy.
Accepting the award is President, Berardino Petrelli.

The West End BIZ is proud to have partnered with The Sons of Italy for the past 13 years to host a special Christmas Eve Feast.

Through this annual event, The Sons of Italy have consistently given back to the community by feeding those less fortunate, including newcomers to our city. Their annual Christmas Eve Feast provides food and gifts to over 600 people. In addition to receiving a meal and a welcoming environment, warm clothing and gifts for children are provided at this annual event.

The Sons of Italy support a variety of charitable causes and community organizations throughout the year. At their most recent gala, The Sons of Italy raised $300,000 for the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre.

The Sons of Italy also supports the Sargent Street Fest, spring clean ups, and several West End charities.


Previous Mayor's BIZ Awards

Last update: July 31, 2019