CONGRATULATIONS to our 2023 Award recipients!

Business & New Business of the Year

These recognition awards are presented to established Business Members of the Port Sydney/Utterson & Area Chamber of Commerce who have demonstrated qualities such as:

Previous recipients cannot be considered for the same award again. A Business of the Year nominee must: have been in operation for 2+ years; have demonstrated success and innovation over the years. A New Business of the Year nominee must: have been in operation for less than 2 years. (Change of location/ownership qualify.) (NOTE: Nominators must be current Members of the Port Sydney/Utterson & Area Chamber of Commerce, and each Nominator may submit up to one Nominee for consideration in each category each year.)

The 2023 Business Awards were revealed during our Annual General Meeting on November 7, 2023. The following remarks were shared by outgoing President Derek Watson-Brown.

“Our 2023 New Business of the Year award recipient has launched a business – quite literally from the ground up – with no prior experience in this field, but with plenty of enthusiasm and a sunny disposition! The acquisition of a dream property sparked a desire to spread joy to others through the raising of farm fresh flowers that are hand-picked and now sold at various festivals, markets, and retail locations throughout Muskoka in the summertime. Please join me in congratulating Kim Machado of Happy Acres Farm Muskoka, for becoming an outstanding chief bloomer!”

“Our 2023 Business of the Year Award recipient has combined two decades of knowledge with an entrepreneurial spirit to bring a new industry to the village of Port Sydney. This business owner is dedicated to educating the public on the therapeutic benefits of her products, and guiding customers toward the items that will best suit their needs. In the two and a half years since becoming our plaza neighbour, this business has established itself as the favourite dispensary in Muskoka, according to Please join me in congratulating Heather Huff-Bogart of The Green Bouquet Cannabis Inc. for her remarkable achievement!” 
(Heather was unable to attend, so her award was presented at a later date.)

The 2019 Annual General Meeting was held on Thursday, January 23rd, 2020 at the Port Sydney Community Hall. President Derek Watson-Brown was pleased to present the 2019 Business Awards to these recipients:

The 2019 Business of the Year Award was presented to Frances Balodis, owner of Creative Muskoka Cards. Frances has a passion for producing a high quality and unique product using ethically sourced materials while minimizing waste. Though her product is rooted in nature, she has embraced the use of technology in promoting her original line of hand crafted birch bark greeting cards, which truly are miniature works of art. Frances has demonstrated great commitment to the Chamber and it was a pleasure to honour her with this award. Congratulations Frances!

The 2019 New Business of the Year Award was presented to Anabel Sheyk, owner of ACS Beauty Studio and MediSpa. Anabel is an entrepreneur who has embarked on a new venture this year by bringing relaxation, renewal, and a high quality skin care product line to our community. She has also shown a commitment to client comfort and privacy, especially for those clients who are battling cancer. Anabel has been very supporting of our Chamber and it was a pleasure to honour her with this award. Congratulations Anabel!

Citizen of the Year

The Port Sydney/Utterson & Area Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award is presented annually to one person who has made a significant contribution to the Port Sydney/Utterson community. To qualify, a recipient must:

  • live in the community

  • exemplify community spirit

  • add to the quality of life for others in the community

  • and be known for ‘going the extra mile’ by volunteering when he or she sees a need

Our 2023 Citizen of the Year Awards were presented on July 1 during Canada Day festivities hosted by Port Sydney Parks and Recreation Group at Port Sydney Beach (Mary Lake).

President Derek Watson-Brown presented the 2023 Citizen of the Year Award as follows: “The people of Port Sydney/Utterson have a knack for noticing those in their midst who help however they can. This year we received nominations for citizens described as tireless, selfless, youthful, enthusiastic, and kind – exemplary neighbours who support friends in need of company and meals – active and dedicated individuals who participate in all aspects of community life. If this year’s candidates are not the ones helping with fundraising meals and community events at the Port Sydney Beach or Hall, they show up to support those who are, however, the more likely scenario is that when YOU attend an event, THESE folks will be among the ones who welcome you, and serve you a delicious meal. Whether it is at a Yard Sale BBQ, Canada Day festivities, the Turkey Dinner, or an event at V.K. Greer School, these nominees have been volunteering shoulder-to-shoulder for years. It was impossible to consider them as individuals, so this year we will be honouring TWO Citizens of the Year. Whenever they’re involved, this pair are always there, from beginning to end, with smiles and helping hands. They are burger flipping masters, sausage turning experts, potato peeling machines, and coffee brewing royalty. This dynamic duo support local businesses and trades, and they have set such an example for others that one of their nominators deemed them to be, ‘Who I want to be when I grow up!” It is my pleasure to present the 2023 Citizen of the Year Award to… Joan & Charlie Beatty! Congratulations Joan & Charlie, and thank you for all that you do!”

Our 2020, 2021, and 2022 Citizen of the Year Awards were presented on June 30 and July 1, as Canada Day festivities resumed after a two-year hiatus.

President Derek Watson-Brown presented the 2020 Citizen of the Year Award as follows: “While we were adjusting to staying apart, our honourees for this year found a unique way to promote a sense of connectedness. During the first lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic, in the spring of 2020, people started to notice inspirational, hand-painted rocks placed throughout the village. Many of the rocks featured rainbows – a well-known symbol of hope – while several others featured encouraging phrases surrounded by floral designs. Whether they were spotted by a signpost, at the end of a driveway, in front of a local store, or on a church porch, these cheerfully painted rocks lifted people’s spirits and reminded everyone that we live in a caring community. These random acts of kindness were carried out anonymously by a number of people, of varying ages, who weren’t necessarily all connected to each other. While we DO know one of the organizers of this effort, we do NOT wish to spoil the mystery, and we will NOT be revealing any identities today, however… it is my pleasure to name ‘The Rock Fairies’ as our 2020 Citizen of the Year, and we hope that you will join us in showing appreciation to them for setting a tone of optimism and positivity, and for easing our community through a difficult time. Congratulations to ‘The Rock Fairies’!”

Vice President Brenda Murdoch presented the 2021 Citizen of the Year Award as follows: “Our 2021 recipient has been a hard-working volunteer in our community for many years. If you have attended a BBQ at the beach, or a fundraising meal at the Hall, you have almost certainly enjoyed it because this person helped to plan it, and run it – and to clean up after it! This individual is just always there, helping to make things happen for our community through organizations such as the Port Sydney Parks and Recreation Group, and the Stephenson District Lions Club. She has a soft spot for children, and she goes out of her way to help and support them however she can. Together with her husband, she has fostered a dedication to community service in her children and grandchildren, and in those around her. Despite her best efforts to shy away from recognition, the impact she has had has not gone unnoticed, and we are very grateful for everything she has done for our community. It is my pleasure to present the 2021 Citizen of the Year Award to… Barb Stillar! Congratulations Barb!”

President Derek Watson-Brown announced the 2022 Citizen of the Year Award as follows: “Our 2022 recipient has been active in the community through the Stephenson District Lions Club, and the Chamber of Commerce, and has generously supported a wide variety of local fundraising efforts over the years. This individual is well known for his friendly and helpful nature, as well as his outstanding customer service – traits that he has clearly fostered in his staff, many of whom are longstanding employees. We have noticed that even after they have retired, they still show up for work, which is a good indication that he has also been a great boss! It is our pleasure to announce that the 2022 Citizen of the Year is… Dean Smales! For the past 34 years, Dean has quite simply provided our community with a cornerstone through his Hardware business – first as an independent, then as Dean’s Pro Hardware, and most recently as Dean’s Home Hardware. As Dean is transitioning into retirement, we want to thank him for his immeasurable contribution to the fabric of our community.” As Dean was unavailable to attend the Canada Day presentation, his award was presented privately on June 30th and he was very surprised and pleased to receive it.

Our 2019 presentation took place on July 1st during the Canada Day celebrations at Port Sydney Beach, and our recipient was chosen for being one who:

  • never lets anyone down

  • always goes over and above

  • takes time out of his own schedule to help others

  • genuinely cares about our community and everyone who lives here

  • and, for being a positive person who always has a big smile

Born and raised in Port Sydney, this recipient is a well-known face in the community. He has developed a reputation for being knowledgeable, reliable, helpful, and friendly during his 25 plus years working at Dean’s Home Hardware. It was our pleasure to present the 2019 Citizen of the Year Award to… Greg Wilson! Congratulations Greg!

V.K. Greer Leadership Award

The Port Sydney/Utterson & Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Award” is presented to the Graduating Student at V.K. Greer Memorial Public School who has provided Exemplary Leadership.

There was no recipient for this award in 2023.

The 2022 presentation of this award took place on June 28th during the V.K. Greer Graduation ceremony.

This year, two students received this award for consistently ‘showing up’ for their school community. These students both took the initiative to get involved in any way they could to help with programs, activities, and events. They never needed to be asked – they just always seemed to know where help was needed, and they got the job done. These students have been supportive in all classroom initiatives, as well as with assemblies, fundraisers, sports, and music events at V.K. Greer. It was a pleasure for Chamber President Derek Watson-Brown to present this year’s Leadership Award to these deserving students: Corbin Gray and Skylar Swan! Congratulations Corbin and Skylar!

There was no recipient for this award in 2020 or 2021.

The 2019 presentation of this award took place on June 25th during the V.K. Greer Graduation ceremony, and this recipient was chosen (by school staff) for consistently demonstrating the following qualities during all of these elementary years here at V.K. Greer:

  • unfailing kindness towards all students, staff, and guests to the school

  • always taking the initiative to help others in any way possible, most often without needing to be asked

  • always having the best interests of peers in mind

  • and for always advocating for others to ensure that all are treated fairly

Because of these traits, this student was considered as one who quietly lead by example. On behalf of the Chamber, it was Derek Watson-Brown’s pleasure to present the 2019 Leadership Award to… Griffin Seifried! Congratulations Griffin!

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