The Edmonton Radial Railway Society (ERRS) is a volunteer-based organization that operates a fleet of 100% electric historic streetcars between Old Strathcona and Downtown Edmonton, as well as in Fort Edmonton Park.
The Society offers a zero-emissions transit service to its patrons and has provided over 181,000 rides during its summer season in 2022. The High Level Bridge Streetcar line, repurposing the original 1913 Canadian Pacific Railway line, is a key feature and focal point of the Strathcona, Garneau, and Grandin neighbourhoods. ERRS has revitalized this corridor, which would have otherwise been lost to development, and provided a cultural resource in the city by running service on the High Level Bridge.
ERRS has also made it a priority to ensure that everyone can ride the streetcar, and it provides a wheelchair ramp at the Strathcona stop, allowing users of all abilities to ride the streetcar. The society’s extension of its track 250 meters to Whyte Avenue has enabled visitors to easily travel between downtown Edmonton and Old Strathcona via the High Level Bridge without a vehicle.
The ERRS is an essential part of the community, promoting economic vitality and supporting the city’s transportation and sustainability goals, which is why the Edmonton Radial Railway Society has been nominated for the Sustainable Tourism Award.
Prairie Gardens, located in Edmonton’s countryside, is a family-run business focused on sustainable tourism. Their vision is to create an educational and inspirational sustainable destination in Canada’s Alberta, where they teach guests, school children, and visitors from around the world how to grow their own food, regenerate the land, and leave it in better health than they found it. Prairie Gardens is committed to improving its sustainability and achieving a Sustainable Tourism Certification by undergoing a comprehensive assessment.
Their sustainability action plan includes maintaining their sustainability score of 94%, conserving habitat for floral and fauna, planting trees, conserving heritage breed chickens, recycling, and zero food waste. They also offer practical classes in growing food and back-yard orchardist skills for backyard fruit production. They also teach children where their food comes from and support a sustainable community through their affordable food box subscription program.
Their efforts have led to a nomination for the Edmonton Tourism Awards’ Sustainable Tourism Award. Prairie Gardens’ commitment to sustainability and responsible consumption has set an example for the tourism industry to follow, providing sustainable tourism opportunities for generations to come.
The River Valley Alliance (RVA) is a non-profit organization that has been nominated for the Sustainable Tourism Award. They are dedicated to sustainable tourism that educates and connects the Greater Edmonton community with the River Valley, and their trail system is the longest in North America.
The RVA advocates for responsible, ethical use of nature’s pathways and ensures low socio-economic and environmental impacts for local athletic groups. Their ongoing projects work with six municipalities to create an attraction on the world stage that prioritizes ecological protection and respect for the land. In addition, the RVA educates and provides opportunities through events, ambassador programs, and social media to highlight the importance of being a socio-economic champion trail user. Their main goals are to increase access to nature, encourage movement, and create connection, preservation, cultural awareness, and economic diversity along the River Valley.
The RVA invites visitors to connect with nature, themselves, and their communities while being a voice for a jewel in Edmonton. They have dedicated 20 years to developing the River Valley Trail, a significant natural corridor for wildlife and one of the world’s largest internationally recognized metropolitan parks. The RVA also works with local Indigenous communities, municipalities, and the general public to ensure the trail is respectfully and thoughtfully named. To encourage participation in the River Valley, the RVA has designed a calendar that includes photos from local photographers and highlights special trails to trek each month.
Marriott Hotels of Edmonton prides itself on serving the community. They believe they can make a difference and aim to make the communities where they operate better places to live, work, and visit. Their core value of “Serve Our World” guides how they do business, and they are passionate about making a meaningful impact through volunteerism, fundraising, and cash and in-kind donations.
In 2022, Marriott Hotels of Edmonton provided an outstanding contribution to the community that supported 59 organizations or events, ranging from food bank donations to providing much-needed items to local animal shelters. These efforts have been recognized through a nomination for the Outstanding Contributor to the Community Award.
Marriott Hotels of Edmonton teams volunteered over 1100 hours in 2022 to support various community efforts, including supporting the Blood Bank, Food Bank donation drive, and Food Bank hamper preparation. Additionally, they provided over $100,000 in in-kind donations, including a full-year contribution by TownePlace Suites By Marriott Edmonton South to a local Church valued at $50,000.
Marriott Hotels of Edmonton’s commitment to serving the community is outstanding, and its contributions have made a significant impact. Despite the challenges of the pandemic in 2022, their culture of serving the community remains strong. Their dedication to making a difference in the communities where they operate makes them deserving of their Edmonton Tourism Awards nomination.
OEG Sports & Entertainment (OEGSE) is an Edmonton-based organization that manages NHL and WHL franchises, entertainment venues, events, and the ICE District, Canada’s largest mixed-use sports and entertainment district. OEGSE also includes the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, which focuses on building safe and vibrant communities, supporting local communities, and advancing relationships with Indigenous communities.
Since 2001, the Foundation has contributed over $86 million to over 3000 charities and community groups. In the 2021-2022 season, the EOCF invested $20 million in the community, a record donation year for the EOCF, and the most ever donated by an NHL community foundation in a single season.
The Oilers, Oil Kings, and Live Events of OEGSE have had a significant impact on Edmonton’s economy, and they brought top global acts and events to Edmonton in 2022, such as the Eagles, Shawn Mendes, and the Toronto Raptors. With its entertainment, dining, and accommodation facilities, the ICE District has been a game-changer for Edmonton, revitalizing the city’s downtown core and attracting new businesses.
OEGSE’s commitment to community investment has helped build strong and safe communities by supporting critical programs aimed at feeding, housing, and supporting vulnerable communities in Edmonton, such as Boyle Street Community Services and Foodbanks Alberta. Due to their community contribution and success in sports and entertainment, OEGSE was nominated for the Edmonton Tourism Awards’ Outstanding Contributor to the Community Award.
The Edmonton Elks are a CFL team that has been a pillar in the community since their founding in 1949. They have won 14 Grey Cup championships, including five consecutive from 1978 to 1982. As a community-owned team, the Elks are committed to positively impacting the community and promoting the development of amateur football in Northern Alberta.
The Elks have been nominated for Edmonton Tourism Awards’ Outstanding Contributor to the Community Tourism Award for their remarkable initiatives and activities in the community. They have made significant economic contributions to the City of Edmonton, with an annual economic impact ranging from $26 to $30 million. The team has also led the community with multiple initiatives focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion, such as the 1st CFL broadcast in an Indigenous language and the Stand with Ukraine Game Day, which raised $172,000 for the Canada Ukraine Foundation.
As a not-for-profit organization, community engagement and outreach are top priorities for the Elks. Their events, such as the Elks Women’s Dinner, Purolator Tackle Hunger Food Drive, and 630CHED Santa’s Anonymous Game Day, have raised significant funds and donations for various charitable causes. Additionally, the Elks have partnered with Kids Up Front to bring over 10,000 youth participants to their games in 2022. The Edmonton Elks are an outstanding contributor to the community and continue to make a positive impact in the City of Edmonton
Fort Edmonton Park’s Indigenous Peoples Experience is a cultural exhibit that offers an immersive and authentic experience showcasing the diverse histories, cultures, experiences, and perspectives of local First Nations and Métis peoples in the Edmonton region.
Created through consultation with MOU Partners, the Métis Nation of Alberta, and the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, the exhibit features stories and artwork gathered through engagement with over forty local Indigenous nations, historians, educators, and community members. The exhibit operates year-round and employs over ten Métis and Indigenous interpreters, two Indigenous craftspeople, and one Indigenous Narratives Supervisor.
The Indigenous Peoples Experience offers teachings on Indigenous culture and traditions and is a unique and respectful meeting and event space. The exhibit also includes an outdoor trail system with local indigenous plants, an outdoor kitchenette, picnic tables, and a gathering pavilion, allowing for further outdoor activities such as live demonstrations, workshops, and special performances.
The Indigenous Peoples Experience at Fort Edmonton Park is the first exhibit of its kind in Canada. It provides an opportunity to uplift Indigenous communities during Canada’s reconciliation with Indigenous people. The exhibition is accessible to all ages and has been nominated for the Cultural Experiences Award for its focus on educating, sparking conversation, and recognizing and celebrating the knowledge, culture, and experience of Indigenous Peoples.
The Edmonton Radial Railway Society (ERRS) is a non-profit organization that operates streetcar services in Edmonton. They have one of North America’s largest historical streetcar fleets, with eight functional streetcars, including four from between 1908 and 1951, that have been restored to their original condition. The ERRS has helped put Edmonton on the tourism map and has been featured in television productions such as the Amazing Race Canada and BBC’s Great Canadian Railway Journeys.
Volunteers of the ERRS wear historically accurate motorman uniforms, give historical talks along the route, and answer visitor questions. The ERRS also hosts chartered events where local artists perform concerts or Alberta-based breweries, distilleries, and restaurants showcase their offerings through tastings.
The ERRS has been nominated for the Cultural Experiences Award for its contribution to cultural tourism in Edmonton. They offer a wealth of knowledge to visitors during their trip and encourage multiple visits or longer stays to ride all three cars. The service provided by ERRS is vital to festivals in Edmonton, especially during the 11-day Edmonton Fringe Festival, where over 14,000 passengers ride the streetcars. The barrier-free museum at the Strathcona Streetcar Barn, operated by the ERRS, showcases the history of streetcars in Edmonton. It includes artifacts, tools, models, and maps of the former system.
Edmonton International Airport (YEG) is committed to reconciliation and diversity, equity, and inclusion, as seen through its ongoing efforts to embed Indigenous partnerships and considerations into all aspects of its business.
YEG has collaborated with local Indigenous groups and allies to open the Indigenous Interpretative and Retail Centre, which provides an immersive Indigenous experience and retail space open year-round. The space was designed with the guidance of Elders and Knowledge Keepers from various Indigenous nations and communities, creating a gathering place full of meaning and possibility. The initiative was made possible in part thanks to a federal investment of $400,000 through the Canadian Experiences Fund.
YEG continues to seek opportunities to create meaningful partnerships and support Indigenous peoples and organizations in their region and beyond. YEG also offers Indigenous Cultural Awareness Training to their employees and supports NAIT’s Aboriginal Community Partnerships program to help Indigenous students participate in apprenticeship programs. YEG strives to be an airport for everyone through its commitment to economic reconciliation.
The Edmonton International Airport has been nominated for the Cultural Experience Award in recognition of its efforts to educate visitors and collaborate with Indigenous communities to provide genuine cultural experiences that promote economic opportunities and contribute to the City of Edmonton’s reconciliation objectives.
Campus Tower Suite Hotel, managed by Coast Hotels, is a 3-Diamond CAA/AAA property adjacent to the University of Alberta Campus in Edmonton. The hotel provides 90 spacious, modern suites with full and limited kitchenettes, a dining area, private bedrooms, an office desk, and pull-out sofas.
Campus Tower Suite Hotel recognizes the critical role staffing plays in the success of an organization. Thus, it is committed to creating a fair, flexible, and inclusive work environment that promotes personal and professional growth and benefits from the capabilities of its diverse workforce.
Campus Tower Suite Hotel has an inclusive and diverse staff that crosses multiple ethnicities, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, religions, life experiences, family backgrounds, socioeconomic and educational backgrounds, gender identities, and abilities. The hotel has several employees who have been with the organization for over five years, with the longest tenure being 25 years.
The hotel has comprehensive people and culture guides, policies on recruitment, workplace conflict, harassment and bullying, and inclusive language. Additionally, a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program is currently under committee review for implementation this year. Campus Tower Suite Hotel provides extensive employee training programs, a work environment that enables it to attract and retain the best people, and performance alignment that supports organizational goals and ensures ambassador engagement. Its commitment to diversity and inclusion has won the Campus Tower Suites Hotel numerous awards, including a nomination for the Great Place to Work Award within the Edmonton Tourism Awards.
Edmonton International Airport (YEG) is a community-based organization and a proud ambassador for Edmonton and Alberta. YEG is committed to providing a fast, convenient, and comfortable flying experience, making it a unique airport that combines the best features of the private and public sectors.
It is part of the social component of ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance Practices) and believes that employee diversity fosters new ideas and ways of seeking solutions to complex problems. It has strengthened its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) by increasing employee communication and awareness through leadership forums, training, and events. To nurture an open, inclusive culture, the SoWell committee brings employees together for ice cream socials, family events, and other fun activities.
YEG has implemented equitable hiring practices to build a cohesive and inclusive workplace. YEG recognizes the pandemic’s mental health concerns and promotes awareness of the resources available to employees. The airport offers a hybrid work model and encourages employees to use vacation time each year. YEG recognizes the contributions of its employees through the Years of Service Awards and the Applause Program.
Edmonton International Airport also supports employee development plans to attract and retain excellent employees while boosting productivity and building the team’s capacity to innovate. YEG was nominated for the Great Place to Work Award for its commitment to DEI and employee well-being.
The 53 North Collection is a group of hotels and restaurants based in Edmonton that values hospitality, communication, personal growth, and work-life balance. Comprised of the Matrix Hotel, the Metterra Hotel, the Varscona Hotel, Ampersand 27 Restaurant, and Loft 106 Restaurant, the 53 North Collection is a testament to providing exceptional services to locals, travellers, and anyone who passes through the city. The organization was nominated for the Great Place to Work Award for its strong emphasis on employee engagement and development.
The leadership team at the 53 North Collection fosters an environment of respect and meaningful communication through regular team meetings, all-associate luncheons, and town halls. The organization promotes personal growth and development by offering training and educational opportunities to all employees, with incentives and promotions available based on performance. The culture of the 53 North Collection encourages a healthy work-life balance, and the organization offers fair compensation, benefits, and flexibility to support its team members.
Diversity and inclusivity are embraced at the 53 North Collection, where new team members receive mandatory diversity training, and collaborations and partnerships are encouraged among individuals of different cultures. A safe and positive work environment is also a top priority, with an internal health and safety committee in place to proactively address any concerns.
Large Tourism (greater than 100 employees)
Fort Edmonton Park is a cultural tourism attraction that offers guests an immersive experience with its multi-attraction space. Its management company, FEMCo, was founded in 2009 to ensure long-term sustainability by focusing on financial sustainability, relevant experiences, accessibility, and corporate social responsibility. In addition, FEMCo works with the local tourism industry to increase visitors’ length of stay and strengthen community connections.
The park underwent a $160 million enhancement and construction project in 2018, which included the Indigenous Peoples’ Experience and an expanded Midway. Unfortunately, due to COVID, the park was closed in 2019 and 2020, causing layoffs and cost mitigation plans.
In 2022, the park had a slower start but eventually had a successful general admission season, excellent retail results, and outstanding food and beverage and venue rental results. In 2023, FEMCo plans to build team capacity and strengthen operational processes while reassessing food and beverage services and developing new non-heritage experiences. Additionally, FEMCo aims to increase accessibility and inclusivity through physical accessibility, reduced admission costs, and increased awareness.
FEMCo strives for diversity, equity, and inclusion within the organization and the board, incorporating corporate social responsibility throughout its practices. Its efforts to ensure long-term sustainability and unique guest experiences have earned Fort Edmonton Park a nomination for the Tourism Business of the Year Award in the Large Business category.
West Edmonton Mall is a top tourist spot in Edmonton, nominated for the Tourism Business of the Year Award in the Large Business category. It boasts over 800 stores and restaurants, as well as 11 outstanding attractions, offering a unique shopping and entertainment experience for all. The mall draws over 36 million visitors annually, making it one of Edmonton’s most popular tourist destinations.
WEM provides an exciting range of activities all within its facility, including world-class attractions such as World Waterpark, Galaxyland powered by Hasbro, DRIVE Go Karts, Professor WEM’s Adventure Golf, Dragon’s Tale Blacklight mini golf, Ed’s Bowling, Ice Palace, Sea Life Caverns, and Birds of Paradise.
Galaxyland, powered by Hasbro, is an indoor amusement park that spans over 17 acres and features 27 thrilling rides and attractions, while World Waterpark is an indoor water park that covers over 5 acres and features a variety of water slides, wave pools, and play areas suitable for all ages. Meanwhile, Marine Life is committed to providing educational and conservation programs that enhance the experience of WEM guests by enriching their knowledge and encouraging respect and responsible management of all living creatures.
WEM is more than just a shopping mall, providing a range of exciting activities within its facility. It’s an outstanding tourist destination within our city that provides fun and entertainment for people of all ages.
Edmonton International Airport (YEG) is not just a transportation hub but also an important catalyst for the tourism industry in Edmonton. The airport collaborates with industry partners to attract new air services to support inbound tourism worldwide. Besides providing flights, YEG offers shopping, entertainment, hotels, and dining options in the terminal and across the airport property, striving to provide an inclusive experience for everyone.
YEG is dedicated to creating an exceptional passenger experience, with customer satisfaction at the core of its strategic and annual business plans. To achieve this goal, the airport closely monitors customer satisfaction with every element of the passenger experience through the Air Service Quality (ASQ) program of the Airport Council International (ACI).
The airport is continuously improving its services and amenities, with plans to submit a new master plan to Transport Canada in 2023. In partnership with Copenhagen Optimization and CLEAR, YEG has launched a new virtual queuing system for Central Security called YEG EXPRESS, which is designed to expedite the security screening process and enhance the overall passenger experience.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, YEG is quickly regaining air service, serving more destinations than before the pandemic. The airport is expected to reach 90% of pre-pandemic passenger levels by the end of 2023. With a commitment to excellence, it’s no surprise that YEG has been nominated for Tourism Business of the Year in the Large Business category. There’s no doubt that YEG is poised to continue its role as a critical driver of the tourism industry in Edmonton.
Small to Medium-sized Tourism (99 or less employees)
The Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market (OSFM) is a historic farmers’ market in Edmonton’s Old Strathcona neighbourhood. With over four decades of history, it is Alberta’s largest indoor farmers’ market and a unique destination for tourists and locals. The market is committed to visitor satisfaction, offering a shopping experience that is accessible, exciting, and showcases local businesses of all sizes.
Recently, the OSFM has been nominated for the Tourism Business of the Year Award in the Small Business category, and to ensure its long-term success, the market is revamping its building with a multi-million dollar renovation project. This transformation will make the OSFM a one-of-a-kind local hub, and the only multi-day farmers’ market in Alberta. The expanded operations are estimated to attract over a million customers annually, create more than 50 new jobs in Edmonton’s tourism, hospitality, and retail sector, and increase revenue from food and beverage sales, catering contracts, product sales, private events, and ticket sales from in-house events.
The future is bright for OSFM, and the organization has plans for growth, innovation, and product and service development that will attract tourists to Edmonton and further develop the province’s tourism industry.
Edmonton International Raceway (EIR) in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, has provided high-octane entertainment for racing fans since 1968. The track, formerly known as Sunset Speedway, was taken over by Ron and Loretta Thiering in 1995 and officially renamed in 2005. EIR is the only NASCAR-sanctioned racetrack in Western Canada, with weekly races on Saturdays from June to September on a 1/4 mile semi-banked paved oval track.
EIR’s highlight is the NASCAR Pinty’s Bayer 300, part of the Canadian National NASCAR Racing Series. This event attracts top racers like Alex Tagliani and Andrew Ranger, competing for 300 laps over 75 miles. In addition, EIR hosts other races, such as the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series and various race classes like Future Stock and Stacker Cars.
EIR offers unique experiences like Canada’s only stock car test drive, where guests can drive a real race car on a NASCAR track. The 15-lap stock car test drive and track walk with an instructor offer an ultimate race experience.
Edmonton International Raceway prides itself on providing an outstanding entertainment experience for racing fans of all ages, creating a family-oriented community of Edmonton locals and tourists alike. For these reasons, Edmonton International Raceway has been nominated for Tourism Business of the Year in the Small Business category.
Live It Up Lifestyle Adventures is an Edmonton-based tourism business that provides customizable experiences for clients. Founded in 2016, the company manages accommodations, activities, transportation, and more. Live It Up has been nominated for the Tourism Business of the Year Award in the Small Business category due to its commitment to excellence and outstanding customer service.
Associated with MagicBus Tours, the company offers tour options in and around Edmonton, bus trips to the Rockies, executive teams travelling to Canadian destinations, and regional corporate experiences.
Live It Up’s attention to detail, such as adding fresh strawberries and champagne to a traveller’s room during their special anniversary or gifting a customer a branded jacket for their multi-week Canadian Rockies ski getaway, demonstrates their commitment to providing unique and unforgettable experiences for clients. Live It Up also prioritizes sustainability by using eco-friendly equipment and partnering with local organizations to promote responsible tourism practices and support conservation efforts.
Live It Up Lifestyle Adventures’ key business strategy is its focus on tour innovation, investing in new technologies, training, and tour development to offer its customers the latest and greatest adventures. The company prioritizes collaboration with clients and interoffice coordination to build tours with unique and unforgettable opportunities. Live It Up always goes above and beyond to ensure that every interaction with its clients is an opportunity to create a positive and lasting impression.
West Edmonton Mall is a popular tourist destination that hosts over 38 million guests from around the world each year. WEM takes pride in being a part of the community and the city, and its Guest Services team is responsible for ensuring that every guest has an enjoyable experience.
The WEM Guest Services team is resourceful and efficient, and they go out of their way to provide exceptional service, often going beyond their job duties. They advocate for their guests and make suggestions to departments on their behalf, such as adding products to the web store and allowing mobility devices to be reserved online.
West Edmonton Mall also recognizes guests who go above and beyond through their Good Guest program, which gives staff members incentives to thank these outstanding visitors for making the mall great. The team’s dedication to their guests is reflected in their Best in Class Customer Service Award nomination. They ensure that each visitor has what they need, creating a memorable experience that will be shared with others. From driving reprinted Santa photos to guests’ homes to crawling under bathroom stalls to help, the Guest Services team at West Edmonton Mall is always committed to going the extra mile.
The Winspear Centre for Music is the performance home of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (ESO), one of Canada’s leading orchestral ensembles. Founded over 71 years ago, the ESO has played an integral role in the cultural life of Edmonton and beyond. The orchestra’s 56 musicians perform a range of repertoire from classical masterworks to pop and children’s concerts, with tours taking them throughout Alberta and Canada’s northern territories. They also contribute to the artistic community as performers, clinicians, and teachers.
The Winspear Centre, located in downtown Edmonton, offers an intimate and unique musical experience with its exceptional acoustics that have become legendary since its opening in 1997. The Centre is dedicated to providing excellent customer service to every patron entering the building, whether for an ESO performance or a rental event.
Their commitment to customer service excellence has earned them a nomination for the Best in Class Customer Service Award. They achieve this through their hands-on approach to training and development, encouraging staff to learn from mentors and refine their skills, and providing opportunities for new team members to experience being a patron. The presence of the orchestra and its contribution to the community’s quality of life are key elements in the stature and profile of Edmonton on the national and international scene.
This award recognizes the very best Edmonton restaurant in food, drink, and hospitality. The recipient of the Restaurant of the Year Award is a restaurant that demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, service, and operations.
The Canadian Hydrogen Convention (CHC) is the largest in North America, held annually at the Edmonton Convention Centre. The event, organized by dmg events, Edmonton Global, and TC Energy, gathers global leaders to discuss innovations and solutions for low-carbon hydrogen production, energy infrastructure, storage, and achieving a net-zero future. In addition, the CHC provides a platform for the entire Canadian supply chain to unite and establish a roadmap to develop Canada’s hydrogen economy.
The CHC was nominated for the Event of the Year Award for its remarkable success in bringing together over 4,000 attendees. Despite its short planning period and uncertainty during the Omicron wave of COVID-19, the CHC delivered a direct economic impact of approximately $1.8 million and supported nearly 800 jobs in Edmonton.
The CHC presented an opportunity to engage younger generations of future talent, allowing them to learn more about the sector. High school students from Edmonton Public Schools and university students from the University of Alberta and NAIT were given free conference passes.
Many economic developments were announced during the event, such as the Edmonton International Airport’s agreement to incorporate hydrogen and biofuels into their fleet and the Government of Alberta’s announcement of $50 million in funding to boost the development of Alberta’s hydrogen sector over four years.
DARK is an Alberta-based event that offers a spine-chilling experience to thrillseekers. The annual event is designed to entertain, frighten and stimulate curiosity in the supernatural. In its fifth year, from October 7-30, 2022, DARK took over Fort Edmonton Park and thrilled visitors with three terrifying haunts, exclusive DARK merchandise, hotel packages, food & beverage offerings, giveaways, online quiz nights, Capitol Theatre performances, and unforgettable roving entertainment.
DARK received a nomination for the Event of the Year Award for its ability to stimulate tourism and economic activity in the Edmonton Region. The 2022 event welcomed 23,226 visitors from the US and Canada, generating over 1.2 million dollars in sales. The success of DARK is attributed to the local team that custom-built the event for Fort Edmonton Park. The event is designed to grow yearly, positioning DARK as a world-class Halloween event destination.
DARK is not only an excellent tourist attraction but also an outstanding employer that provides opportunities to actors, artists, performers, technicians, and crew. The event creates employment opportunities within the entertainment sector, and each year, over 200 people are hired to work at the event.
Taste of Edmonton, produced and organized by Events Edmonton, is Western Canada’s largest food and free outdoor music festival. With its mission to enrich the lives of people in the Edmonton area, the festival has become a highly anticipated summer event in the community, drawing over 300,000 attendees to Churchill Square in downtown Edmonton for 11 days each year.
The festival highlights local restaurants, food trucks, and performers, supporting local charities through Events Edmonton’s volunteer partnership honorarium program and Community Endowment Fund donations.
In recognition of its many achievements and contributions, Taste of Edmonton was nominated for the Event of the Year Award. This is a testament to the festival’s economic contribution, performance platform for emerging and established artists, volunteer participation, collaboration, and its role as an outlet to bridge cultural diversity and promote inclusion. The festival maintains access for all abilities and ensures representation for different groups, including women, black, indigenous, LGBTIQ2S+ and other owned businesses.
With the support of over 1000 volunteers, sponsors, contractors, and staff, Taste of Edmonton continues to bring people together and celebrate the community’s diverse culinary and artistic culture.
The Muttart Conservatory is Western Canada’s most extensive indoor botanic garden and one of Edmonton’s top tourist attractions. The unique architecture of four pyramids set in the city’s River Valley makes it a standout landmark. Three of the pyramids house displays of plants from tropical, temperate, and arid regions, while the fourth is a show pyramid featuring ornamental flowering plants and themed exhibits that change several times a year.
After a period of rehabilitation, the facility reopened in June 2021 but had to limit attendance due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, return visitation eventually achieved 80% of pre-pandemic attendance numbers due to the introduction of innovative and inclusive new programming. The enhanced visitor experience included new seating, improved outdoor space, educational displays and programs, and school curriculum-based programming.
The facility welcomed 117,931 visitors in 2022 and saw substantial attendance numbers in January and February 2023. The facility’s operations benefit local businesses, with an estimated annual impact of approximately $200,000. The Muttart Conservatory’s contributions to enhancing Edmonton’s tourism and hospitality industries have led to its nomination for Attraction of the Year.
The Edmonton Radial Railway Society (ERRS) is an organization that operates a fleet of 100% electric historic streetcars on two distinct lines in Edmonton. The society’s main attraction is the High Level Bridge Streetcar, which takes passengers on a scenic trip over the High Level Bridge while providing historical talks by motormen in era-authentic uniforms. The streetcar service also operates within Fort Edmonton Park, making the vast property much more walkable and adding a unique feature to the historical park.
The ERRS is one of the largest streetcar fleets in North America. It encourages visitors to support local businesses by providing a stopover ticket that allows guests to return on any trip of their choosing. The society also operates a barrier-free museum with admission by donation at the Strathcona Streetcar Barn, showcasing the history of streetcars in Edmonton.
The High Level Bridge Streetcar has received high ratings on both Google and TripAdvisor and was nominated for Attraction of the Year for its unique cultural experience, historical accuracy, and contribution to the tourism industry in Edmonton. In addition, the ERRS works with other organizations to foster tourism in the city and cross-promotes with Edmonton-area museums.
West Edmonton Mall is a premier tourist destination in Edmonton that offers a unique shopping and entertainment experience. WEM has been nominated for the Best Attraction of the Year Award for its contribution to the local economy and the exciting range of activities it offers. With over 800 stores, restaurants, and 11 world-class attractions, WEM has something to cater to everyone’s needs.
WEM’s world-class attractions include Galaxyland, powered by Hasbro, the only Hasbro-themed park in Canada and features 27 thrilling rides and attractions, World Waterpark, an indoor water park that covers over 5 acres and features a variety of water slides, wave pools, and play areas suitable for all ages, and DRIVE Go Karts, the first indoor multilevel racetrack in Canada.
WEM also offers two 18-hole miniature golf courses, Professor WEM’s Adventure Golf and Dragon’s Tale Blacklight mini-golf, and an Ice Palace that is a hub for sports, recreation, and entertainment. Additionally, Ed’s Bowling offers a 28-lane bowling alley with an additional six lanes in the Kingpin suite, a full-service restaurant and bar, and an Alien Outbreak Escape Room, Billiards, and Arcade. Visitors can also enjoy a fleet of 5 majestic paddle boat swans at Birds of Paradise. Overall, WEM offers an exciting range of activities within its facility, making it a must-visit destination.
OEG Sports & Entertainment brought the NBA Canada Series to Edmonton, where the Toronto Raptors faced off against the Utah Jazz at Rogers Place on October 2, 2022. The sold-out event, with a total attendance of 18,500, had a massive $8.5 million impact on the local economy. The event was a banner moment for the city, showcasing Edmonton as a modern, welcoming city with a shimmering downtown entertainment district and an electric environment and fan base.
OEG Sports & Entertainment’s world-class event planning and operations efforts, combined with their promotion and marketing, helped make it a once-in-a-lifetime experience for basketball fans in Edmonton. Visitors, fans, and even Raptors players were blown away by the people, amenities, and experience that Edmonton had to offer.
In addition to providing an unforgettable experience for basketball fans, OEG Sports & Entertainment partnered with Kids Help Phone through a 50/50 draw to help provide confidential support to young people, raising over $93,000.
The NBA Canada Series event in Edmonton was a top national news story and trending topic on social media, reaching millions of people in Canada and across North America. The event was nominated for the Edmonton Tourism Awards’ Sports Event of the Year, recognizing OEG Sports & Entertainment’s outstanding contributions to Edmonton’s tourism industry.
Dodgeball Canada’s Summer of Dodgeball brought two significant events to Edmonton in 2022: the Canadian National Championship and the 9th WDBF World Championships. Summer of Dodgeball was created to centralize Edmonton as a global dodgeball center, and it included recreational activities and community engagements.
The National Championships welcomed almost 500 athletes from 56 teams across Canada, and it was the largest in the event’s history. The World Championships included 65 teams and over 600 participants across six divisions, featuring both foam and cloth disciplines for the first time.
The event was community-based and community-driven, with all event team members being volunteers, including organizers, directors, and photographers. Dodgeball Canada aims to promote and develop the sport of dodgeball while adhering to the principles of inclusion, access, and community fellowship. As an Edmonton-based National Sports Organization, Dodgeball Canada is committed to Edmonton as a hub for programming and activity.
The World Dodgeball Federation relocated its headquarters from the United States to Edmonton in 2018, making Edmonton the global center for the sport. The Summer of Dodgeball was nominated for the Edmonton Tourism Awards’ Sports Event of the Year Award for its success in bringing these two historical events to the city and showcasing Edmonton as a global dodgeball center.
The Style Experience FIS Snowboard Big Air World Cup was Canada’s first-ever stadium Big Air event, held at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on December 10th, 2022. The event combined snowboard culture with live music, art, local vendors, food, and entertainment. The competition was part of the Shred the North Series of World Cups and was four years in the making, requiring a tremendous amount of resources, support, and dedication. The event was created in partnership with Explore Edmonton, the City of Edmonton, and Canada Snowboard.
The “Star Homie” logo, created by Dusty LeGrande, features a snowboarding stick figure with a head that resembles a sun and was inspired by ancient rock paintings and the territory of Amiskwachiwaskahika.
The event generated over $5 million in direct economic impact and surpassed expectations by selling 14,722 tickets, 20% of which came from markets outside Edmonton. The event also raised funds for the Indigenous Snowboard Program, a program spearheaded by Canada Snowboard, with a goal to develop grassroots, community-based snowboard programming to benefit Indigenous youth in communities across Canada.
The Style Experience FIS Big Air World Cup has been nominated for the Sports Event of the Year due to its significant contribution to Edmonton’s tourism industry by offering unique and authentic experiences to visitors and locals.
Grant McCurdy is a retired General Manager who has dedicated over 40 years to Edmonton’s hospitality and tourism industry. He has worked for almost every major hotel in the city and has welcomed dignitaries, movie stars, rock bands, and royalty to Edmonton. Grant has won numerous awards, including the Jim Engel Tourism Award, General Manager of the Year, and the Connie Award. He has also given back by serving on several committees, boards, and associations throughout the years, including the Edmonton Downtown Business Association, ATEC, and Edmonton Destination Marketing Hotels Ltd.
Grant’s secret to success was to hire the right people for the right job, empower them to make a difference with guests, and lead by example. He is recognized as an industry leader in Edmonton, with a proven track record of strategic leadership. Grant meets all the criteria for the Hotelier Lifetime Achievement Award, having made significant contributions towards the growth of the hotel industry and passionately giving back to the community. He possesses strong values and delivers sound business strategies in all that he does and has done. Grant’s robust and lasting legacy has left a positive impact on many in hospitality and tourism.
Tina Tobin is a veteran hotelier who started her career in 1984 as a Front Desk Clerk with the Sandman Hotel in West Edmonton. Over the next 39 years, she worked for various companies and managed multiple properties, banquets, and conference centers. For the past eight years, she has been working for Nova Hotels, managing a larger property than ever before, and is always willing to help other properties in need.
Tina is not only passionate about her work but also about promoting the industry as a whole. She has served on the boards of several organizations, including the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association and the Edmonton Destination Marketing Hotels – Downtown Cluster. She has also volunteered for various charities, such as the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Junior Achievement Mentor Program.
Tina’s dedication and passion have earned her the respect and admiration of her colleagues. She is a motivating and caring manager who helps her staff reach their goals and maximize their achievements. She has mentored many young professionals in the industry, which is why she’s been nominated for the Hotelier Lifetime Achievement Award. Tina Tobin is a true asset to the hotel industry and an inspiration to everyone who knows her.