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CORE Award Recipients announced

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We were honoured to present this years CORE Awards at the Downtown Kingston BIA Annual General Meeting. 

Award Recipients:

  1. Customer Service Excellence: A business or employee who consistently provides exceptional customer service.
    1. Recipient: Bailey Jewitt - Something in the Water

      1. I am nominating Bailey for the customer service excellence award as I have witnessed her commitment to delivering exceptional service. She creates meaningful connections in our downtown core while demonstrating professionalism even during the most challenging customer situations. Her thoughtfulness to create an environment of diversity and inclusion has had a huge impact on her workplace. Bailey has implemented various policies and initiatives throughout the year creating a sense of belonging among the local community. I believe that Bailey is highly deserving of this award and hope that you consider her for this recognition.
  2. Sustainability Champion: Businesses that demonstrate a commitment to sustainable practices, such as reducing waste, conserving energy, or supporting eco-friendly products and services.
    1. Recipient 1: Andre Soucy - Tourism Kingston's Visitor Information Centre

      1. I am nominating Tourism Kingston’s Visitor Information Centre (VIC) for a 2023 DBIA CORE Award’s Sustainability Champion award.

        Since 2022, Tourism Kingston has engaged in developing sustainable tourism in Kingston. In 2022, Tourism Kingston put forward a priority to create a sustainable tourism development plan as part of the city’s Integrated Destination Strategy. Tourism Kingston signed the Sustainable Tourism 2030 Pledge in May 2022 following attendance at the IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism Summit. This pledge is a commitment to improving their sustainability performance between now and 2030. Partnering with GreenStep Solutions in 2022, the VIC underwent a sustainable tourism assessment and certification. In May 2023, the VIC received a bronze certification from GreenStep, reflecting the VIC’s current activities and priorities.

        As part of the GreenStep Solutions certification, the VIC developed a three-year sustainable action plan, based on the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Standards and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The action plan identifies and supports the execution of sustainable actions in four categories: championing green education; reducing pollution, emissions, and waste; preserving cultural heritage, local environment, biodiversity, and wildlife; and developing and maintaining a sustainability management system. Actions executed this year include:

        - Replacing their single-use water bottle fridge with a refillable water station. In doing so, they joined the BlueW program, an online directory of restaurants, businesses, and public spaces that provide access to clean drinking water. Visitors are now encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottles and fill up at the VIC to stay hydrated and reduce their single-use plastic waste.

        - Sharing sustainability information and resources to staff through an internal newsletter. Information is shared on sustainable best practices, sustainable attractions, activities, and events in Kingston, and how to discuss sustainability with visitors.

        - Displaying visual panels for guests to scan QR codes to access various information on the VIC building and Engine 1095 history, as well as local history, including the Indigenous history of Katarokwi.

        - Collaborating with stakeholders to measure the VIC’s carbon footprint. The VIC is currently working with Sustainable Kingston and the City of Kingston Energy Management team to measure the building’s carbon footprint and identify areas to improve the sustainability of the building and operations.

        - Expanding their maker wall to include an Indigenous birch bark canoe pin, designed by local maker, Liv Rondeau of Flint and Maple. The pin celebrates the diversity of the Katarokwi community and recognizes it as a territory for gathering, hospitality, and building relationships since time immemorial.

        - Supporting Kingston Pride through the donation of 25% of proceeds from the Pride Collection sold at the VIC, as well as hosting community events such as Drag in the Park, where local drag performers gathered for an unforgettable night of community, entertainment, and inspiration in support of Trellis HIV & Community Care.

        The VIC places significant importance on sustainability, as an integral part of their triple bottom-line approach to tourism. They recognize the responsibility to engage in tourism practices that consider environmental, social, and economic outcomes. Their goal is to give visitors meaningful and authentic experiences while also positively impacting the local Kingston community. By prioritizing sustainability in 2023 and beyond with their sustainable action plan, they aim to fulfill a duty to create a more responsible and diverse tourism destination.
    2. Recipient 2: Kendra Allen - Moxie and Mine + Katrina Kryza - Thrifty Girl

      1. I really love how this unique shop offers a wide range of preowned clothing. Upcycling at its finest. I do alot of thrifting and found a beautiful vintage dress for a wedding that is one of kind. Everything between the service, the feel and look of how they organize things makes you feel at home and want to come back and support them.
      1. Moxie and Mine is a sustainable bridal shop that offers future brides a chance to purchase beautiful wedding gowns at a reasonable cost and past brides to offer their gowns for consignment. What a wonderful opportunity women are given in celebrating marriage and wearing thrifted wedding gowns for their special day!
      2. New concept store, two businesses under one roof, so unique! And every single item is either local or secondhand! A wonderful community business that’s also helping the planet.
      3. Kendra Allen of Moxie and Mine has dedicated her brand to sustainability and helping used clothing find a new home through her business. A single mother to two young children, her business epitomizes the fundamental idea of shopping and supporting local, as her clothing is curated and sold by collaboration with other members of the community who donate to her store. Her hard work and dedication to the business, supporting local, and the drive to help others are some of the many reasons I am inspired by her, and inspired to nominate her as a Sustainability Champion in Kingston.
      4. The hard work and dedication that goes in to Thrifty Girl’s business along with the conscious effort to always stay green every step of the way! The use of biodegradable packaging for her revamped and thrifted clothing is an amazing way to stay sustainable in today’s environment!
      5. Kat is such a young inspiration to the Kingston community. She has created a thoughtfully curated sustainable brand, Thrifty Girl in downtown Kingston for all to shop. She’s extremely hardworking and always has the biggest smile on her face when you walk into her amazing store.
  1. Exceptional Street Presence: Attractive and eye-catching additions to the exterior of a business that significantly improves the overall appearance of the downtown area.
    1. Recipient: Montreal Street Collective

      1. The people behind Montreal Street Collective are outstanding contributors to community building, sustainable shopping and vibrancy in Kingston's downtown. They are constantly collaborating with and lifting up other local businesses and bringing people together in fun and creative ways including hosting vintage markets and a Christmas market. They provide a space for small independent sellers and makers to showcase their wares, thereby creating economic opportunities for many people in our city. The four shop owners, Vanessa, Emma, Calvin and Liam are wonderful human beings who make everyone feel welcome and included. They have been providing Kingston with an incredible vintage shopping experience that rivals what is found in major cities across North America. We love them and believe they deserve to be celebrated for what they do!
  2. Innovator Award: A creative member-led event, campaign or activation that brings new life into the downtown experience.
    1. Recipient: Yessica Rivera Belsham -

      1. Remarks: A remarkable event took place in Downtown Kingston on November 5th 2023. Yessica Rivera Belsham, of, executed the most beautiful and meaningful event full of amazing performances, food, and lots of decorations. The 2023 Día de los Muertos Kingston Community Celebration of Life took place at the H'Art Centre on Wellington Street and I know she has also hosted a great deal of Ollin Drum Circles in Downtown Kingston over the years. Her events/gatherings are very inclusive and a testiment to community arts and culture. This year she has also hosted Earth Day Kingston Celebration and International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples Celebration in Downtown Kingston as well. Dispite having no funding for these events/gatherings, she has been continously been enriching Downtown Kingston with these inclusive events. I'm not only inspired to nominate Yessica, but it's that she inspires me greatly as a person.
  3. Downtown Revitalization Award: Recognize businesses or individuals who have made significant investments in renovating or restoring historic buildings, contributing to the revitalization of the downtown area.
    1. Recipient: Erica Braunstein - Lay Low

      1. I would like to nominate Erica Braunstein for the revitalization award. She recently renovated 241 princess street into a beautiful new restaurant. Her vision, passion, and dedication in revitalizing the historical building, meticulously restoring and maintaining its beautiful features while upholding the historical significance of the building is truly outstanding. The transformation has not only revitalized the aesthetic appeal of our community but has also created new opportunities for Economic growth. In my opinion it is one of the nicest restaurants in downtown Kingston. She is a young female entrepreneur and is very passionate about her community. I know that she will continue to uplift Kingston with more innovative endeavours.
  4. Gary Poupore - Exceptional Dedication Award: An individual who has made a significant impact on the downtown business community through their dedication and contributions.

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