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Appreciation Award Winners

Nov 02, 2015



Vancouver’s people deserve to be celebrated as much as our city’s natural beauty. That’s why the annual Downtown Appreciation Awards shine a well-deserved spotlight on the individuals and organizations that make our city such a world-class destination. 

From acclaimed painter Jack Shadbolt to homeless youth advocate Covenant House Vancouver, past recipients of the Downtown Appreciation Awards represent the important leaders, organizations, and innovators that helped shape our community for the better. For more than two decades, the DVBIA has sought to recognize these notable movers and shakers who have given their all to our young city, whether it’s through art, philanthropy, or innovative contributions to our infrastructure.

New to this year’s honours, the DVBIA recognized the positive impact that a fresh face can bring to the table with their Emerging Leader award. This year’s recipient was the much talked about blog Vancity Buzz. With four million monthly visitors and almost 100,000 Twitter followers, Vancity Buzz has become a go-to source for Vancouverites who want to stay on top of their city’s news, lifestyle, and must-see events.

“A young city needs people to take it to the next level, and help truly elevate it on the world stage.” – Karm Sumal, Vancity Buzz publisher & co-founder

Landscape Architect Cornelia Oberlander earned the esteemed Lifetime Achievement Award for her work that transformed our downtown core into a beautiful place to live and play. She brought nature back into the city when she created the stunning Robson Square rooftop park nearly forty years ago, and contributed her unique vision to UBC’s Museum of Anthropology and the Vancouver Public Library. Oberlander joins the ranks of esteemed Vancouverites like Dal Richards, Jack Poole, Murray Goldman, and Art Phillips, all leaders in their field who left an invaluable mark on Vancouver’s culture and heritage.

“Landscape architecture is the art and science of the possible.” – Cornelia Oberlander 

The local office of commercial real estate firm Cadillac Fairview has worked tirelessly to build excitement in the downtown core, which is why they earned the Organization award this year. From sponsoring local events and festivals to developing the new Nordstrom location, they are an active and enthusiastic member of downtown Vancouver community at every level.

“It’s exciting to be part of the growth and improvement of our vibrant city.” – Tom Knoepfel, senior vice president and portfolio manager, western Canada portfolio

2015’s Individual award winner Kathleen Bartels has been a crucial part of Vancouver’s art scene for over a decade. Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery since 2001, she has taken the 84-year-old gallery’s programming into the 21st-Century, ensuring we’ll get to experience the best the art world has to offer well into the future. With plans to grow the gallery’s size and scope with a new location at Georgia and Cambie, the Vancouver Art Gallery will continue to be a pillar of our city’s cultural makeup.

“I look forward to working together in realizing our vision for a new, purpose-built Vancouver Art Gallery that will enhance Downtown’s cultural landscape and reputation.” – Kathleen Bartels


This story is part of a monthly series highlighting milestone events or evolutions in downtown Vancouver’s history over the past 25 years in recognition of the DVBIA’s silver anniversary. See all the stories to date.

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