16th Annual Tribute to Tourism Awards Gala

Tourism Westman is pleased to announce that the 16th Annual Tribute to Tourism Awards Gala held on June 5, 2019 at Prairie Firehouse Brandon, MB was a huge success. This special evening recognized and celebrated the exceptional individuals, businesses, organizations and communities within the Westman region that have made significant contributions to tourism development and promotion over the past year.

The evening included a lovely meal, entertainment and the Awards Ceremony, led by Mark Humphries, owner of Westwood Ranch Garden Centre in Elkhorn, MB.

A BIG CONGRATULATIONS goes out to all 24 nominees!


Aspiring Youth:

Jonah Neufeld, Boissevain
Magen Swift, Minnedosa
Ty Worthington, Brandon
Maddy Grant, Minnedosa
Samantha Cluett, Elkhorn

Event of the Year:

Tim Hortons Brier, Brandon
Grim Acres Scare Away Cancer, Brandon
Source For Sports AAA Hockey Challenge, Brandon
The Nightmare Factory, Deloraine
Rockin’ the Fields of Minnedosa

Marketing Excellence:

Chantelle Parrott, Minnedosa’s Valley Life Place Brand
Maddy Grant, Rediscover Minnedosa Video Series


Rotary Club of Brandon
East End Experience, Brandon
RM of Pipestone Recreation Development Area, Reston
Neepawa & District Chamber of Commerce

Service Excellence:

Crow’s General Store, Brandon
Prairie Firehouse, Brandon
Rick Felstead, International Peace Garden
Virden Lion’s Campground

Volunteer of the Year:

The Costume Closet Volunteers, Virden
Kathy Tomlinson, Minnedosa

Indigenous Tourism:

National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration, Brandon
Tipi Tours Legacy Project, Brandon

And the Winners are…

Aspiring Youth

Sponsored by Community Futures Westman
This tribute is presented to an individual under the age of 29 years in their capacity as a volunteer, employee, or entrepreneur.

Maddy Grant (Minnedosa) * Pictured is Chantelle Parrott, accepting on behalf of Maddy Grant*

In spring 2018, Maddy grant approached the Minnedosa Area CDC with her concept to create a series of three promotional videos focused on lifestyle and tourism which would appeal to a young audience and portray Minnedosa as a fun, active place to live and visit.  She got to work coordinating interviews and filming local leaders at local businesses, events and attractions; including Farmhouse 50, Inspire Studio, Rockin’ the Fields of Minnedosa, Ski Valley and Skate the Lake – to name a few.  In doing so, she managed to accomplish an engaging video series for the community that strongly conveys what she has known all along; that Minnedosa is much more than just a Summer tourist destination or retirement community – it is a four season destination with a unique lifestyle, healthy business environment and engaging community where young people can thrive!

Event of the Year

sponsored by Leech Printing
This tribute is presented to a hallmark festival or event that creates substantial economic impact within the local community, attracts visitors from outside the region/province/country, generates regional/national media attention and positively promotes Southwest Manitoba.

Tim Hortons Brier (Brandon) 

The 2019 Tim Hortons Brier was the capstone event of the Brandon first multi-year large event strategy, commonly referred to as the “Curling strategy”. While certainly focusing on the National Men’s Curling championship, the event also provided entertainment, merchandise and socialization opportunities beyond what was happening on the ice surface. Projected to fill 9000 rooms, the Brier was estimated to bring between $10 and $12 million in economic impact to the city of Brandon. This was the largest attendance compared to Brandon’s previous curling outings. Travelers came from near and far to come watch and participate in this event, with a goal to bring curling back to Brandon in a very big way (since the last time the event was held in Brandon 37 years ago) and cementing Brandon and Westman as Curling Country for years to come!

Marketing Excellence

sponsored by Travel Manitoba
This tribute recognizes a business, organization, event, or attraction that has developed an effective marketing campaign that increases tourism to Southwest Manitoba.

Chantelle Parrott – Valley life Place Brand (Minnedosa)

Having mainly been marketed as a retirement community and summer destination in the past, Chantelle Parrott, EDO of the Minnedosa & Area CDC identified that a new brand was required to develop appealing highway signage, advertisements, and promotional materials & campaigns for the Town of Minnedosa that would target young adults and families seeking an affordable, active and safe place to raise a family. By engaging local shareholders and soliciting their feedback, the ‘Valley Life’ brand was born and has captured the authentic vision and values of the Minnedosa community; resonating with both locals and visitors alike. With the development of the new brand has come a substantial increase in social media performance, increase in visitation to the community website and many more benefits. With media releases about the new brand, Minnedosa is beginning to become an up and coming destination and community for millennials which has generated even more interest in the community not only for tourism, but for living, working, and doing business as well!


sponsored by Prairie Firehouse
This tribute is presented to an alliance of local businesses and/or organizations and/or communities that have partnered together to promote tourism for a particular area.

Rm of Pipestone Recreation Development Area, Reston

The RM of Pipestone Recreation Development Area has created a unique recreation to the area that has supported the local population, acting as a catalyst for tourism, and has developed an affordable and accessible recreation to the region for the locals! In 2016 the RM of Pipestone Council saw an opportunity for summer development in the region, as there was no option for swimming or a spray park within 30 minutes of their local population. It was decided that a spray park like no other in the province would be built and it would be located adjacent to the existing Reston Campground and Reston Golf Course. The recreation area now encompasses a spray park with a water slide, full-service campground, lake for swimming, a beach and a 9-hole golf course. What started as just an option for the local population has now blossomed into a regional recreation endeavor that now acts as a cluster for a tourism destination in the region!

Service Excellence

Sponsored by CAA Manitoba
This tribute is presented to a business or organization for the delivery of exemplary service and enhancement of visitor experiences as demonstrated through a high degree of visitor satisfaction.

Prairie Firehouse (Brandon)

Prairie Firehouse opened its doors in 2015 after many years of restoration and careful renovation of Brandon’s Historic Fire Hall built in 1911. Anna Dumas has revitalized one of the city’s most historically beautiful buildings in Brandon into a modern & trendy, yet comfortable and accessible dining experience. With a menu focusing heavily on local suppliers and an environment that bring downtown Brandon to life, Prairie Firehouse has been named a key spot to visit by Travel Manitoba more than once. This wonderful restaurant provides not only a fantastic dining experience, but innumerable local evens from Paint Night fundraisers, Oktoberfest, Open Mic Nights and karaoke. Anna consistently seeks feedback on the restaurant in order to improve the customer experience, whether through online reviews or personal interactions. She and the entire PFH crew are committed to always bettering themselves and through volunteerism at local events, attendance at conferences with Brandon First, and encouraging everyone in her business to do more, Anna leads by example!

Volunteer of the Year

sponsored by CJRB Radio
This tribute is presented to a volunteer (a person who has not received payment) who has demonstrated an outstanding effort in a tourism activity.

The Costume Closet Volunteers (Virden)

The costume Closet has been in operation since 1990 and moved into their own 4000 square foot space in January 2005. The Costume Closet’s mandate is to provide affordable costuming for drama groups, schools, festivals, community events, reunions, private events and more to Manitoba and Southeastern Saskatchewan. It is ran by three key volunteers, and each bring a unique gift to the organization. They often go above and beyond to meet individuals and community groups after hours to ensure that they can access the vast collection. These hardworking individuals help to construct, design, and catalogue costumes. They also are responsible for the loaning of costumes, checking returns, washing and mending. They have over 30,000 items in their collection, some pieces predate the 1900s. The collection housed in this building has been deemed second to none in Canada, and was praised by the costume department that worked on the movie A Dog’s Purpose when filming took place in Westman. These dedicated volunteers have recorded more than 1315.5 volunteer hours and have never skipped a beat to go the extra mile to help and selflessly give up their time!

Indigenous Tourism

sponsored by Chez Angela Cafe & Bakery
This tribute award is presented to an Indigenous product, service or experience that demonstrates cultural authenticity and sensitivity to the ecological, cultural and economic integrity of the community.

National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration (Brandon)

As part of a long-standing tradition of honouring the summer solstice, Brandon’s national Indigenous People Day (NIPD) event is a beautiful celebration of our nation’s Indigenous people’s culture and heritage; acquainting people with the cultural diversity of Fist Nations, Inuit and Metis people. Attendees can explore Canada’s deepest roots when visiting the cultural displays, tipi village and craft tables or enjoy on-stage entertainment; including Pow Wow demonstrations, square dancers, hoop dancers, traditional drummers and throat singers, as well as local Metis entertainers. NIPD is a free full day of cultural education that seeks to share the teachings that are ingrained in every aspect of First Nations culture. It creates space for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike to openly engage in learning about and celebrating the diversity of First Nations peoples, cultures, and heritage. The NIPD is comprised of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous representatives from many local organizations who are actively engaged in advancement of Indigenous individuals, cultural acceptance, and moving forward in a positive way!

Thanks to all who came out to celebrate!
(more photos available in gallery below, provided by Craig & Nichole Photography)