Pam Damoff

Your member of parliament for


Oakville North-Burlington

Pam Damoff

Your member of parliament for


Oakville North-Burlington

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Oakville North-Burlington Celebrates its Sesquicentennial Award Winners

About the Sesquicentennial Award

The Sesquicentennial Pin is a special keepsake that uniquely marries the emblem created for our commemoration and
celebration of this special milestone with a small piece of history from Canada’s Parliament – the original copper which covered the roofs of Canada’s Parliament Buildings, Centre Block, from 1918 to 1996. Natural weathering of the Parliament copper over 80 years has produced the characteristic green colour.  Surface imperfections on individual pins are authentic markings that contribute to its heritage value.

These Sesquicentennial Pins were made with the participation of the Ottawa-Carlton Association for Persons with
Developmental Disabilities and all proceeds will help fund activities and day programs for persons in need.

Winners were selected for their contribution to their communities in one or more of the following themes:

• Promoting a diverse and inclusive Canada
• Supporting efforts towards national reconciliation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians
• Reaffirming the importance of strong environmental stewardship
• Engaging and inspiring youth

Oakville North-Burlington Sesquicentennial Award Winners

Colin Brennan

Since 2010, Colin Brennan has been actively engaged in and around Oakville and Halton with volunteering and providing his singular passion for music through his singing. As a young person living with autism, Colin promotes diversity and inclusion by sharing a message of hope. Colin’s innate and professional talents have brought joy to thousands of individuals who have either heard him sing in dozens of local venues or through him providing free copies of his recordings on his four CD’s. Colin has performed with multiple Youth Choirs including Walton Memorial United Church, WOSS Senior Concert, WOSS Voices Choirs and the Oakville Children’s Choir at multiple music festivals including Rotary Burlington, Milton, Peel and Oakville Music Festivals.

Colin has performed for Premier Kathleen Wynne, former Mayors Hazel McCallion and Rob Ford, MPP Kevin Flynn and MP Pam Damoff among others. He has performed at the Oakville Prayer Breakfast, All Star Awards Gala, Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association annual Canada Music Week Recitals, Project Autism AAV Event, Joshua Creek Heritage Art Centre, Oakville Seniors Citizens Residence, River 16 Studios, Community Living North Halton, and Glenburnie School.

Colin is currently working towards his High School and was on the honour roll in Grade 9 with two special honours for receiving the top marks in two classes.

Karen Brock

Karen Brock has lived in Oakville since 1988 and has been very active in environmental stewardship and youth engagement for the past 15 years in the community. Karen has worked exclusively as a volunteer, starting with the Dreamacres Schoolyard Naturalization project at Sunningdale Public School.  She was a key member of a team that created natural outdoor classrooms and play spaces within the schoolyard.

Karen worked to encourage the Halton District School Board and Halton District Catholic School Board to naturalize play spaces at their school properties and, in 2007, she began volunteering with Oakvillegreen Conservation Association and was elected President and Chair of the Association in 2012. Under her leadership, Oakvillegreen has educated over 30,000 students about environmental issues and has led Oakvillegreen in planting thousands of trees annually.

Karen has joined with many Oakville groups and Town staff to make Oakville a greener place to live. Oakvillegreen has just launched a backyard tree planting pilot project working with LEAF Toronto, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the urban forest, and the Town of Oakville’s forestry department to address the more than 80% of trees that sit on private space in Oakville. Karen has helped to plant 22,000 trees in our community which will make a difference for generations to come.

Darla Campbell

Darla Campbell is a professional engineer who has made a significant contribution as a role model for women in leadership. She is passionate about sustainability and the environment, the importance of youth engagement and the need for diversity and inclusion. She works for Dillon Consulting as the Sustainability and Asset Management specialist in Oakville.

Darla is a member of the Oakville Chapter of Professional Engineers Ontario and an active member of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, having served as a director on the board from 2006 until 2010.  She is a past president of the Oakville chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women and co-founded Advancement of Women Halton, an umbrella group of women’s organizations in Halton Region. When she was national president of Business and Professional Women, Darla led a national campaign for dignity and decorum in parliament and legislatures across the country.

Darla is currently Vice Chair of the Oakville University Women’s Scholarship Fund which distributes over $10,000 each year in scholarships to young women in Oakville who will be attending post-secondary institutions. In 2003, she led a neighbourhood initiative to promote the importance of saving the tree canopy in the Town of Oakville, specifically the forest in the Falgarwood area. Today she takes her passion for the environment to her job as a Sustainability Specialist with a focus on climate change and resilient infrastructure.

Carol Crowe

Deputy Chief Carol Crowe commenced her career with the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) in 1989 and currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Regional Operations. Throughout her career, Carol has held a variety of positions in both operational and administrative roles including assignments to: Uniform Patrol, Criminal Investigations, Education Services, Professional Standards, Human Resources and Training.

Deputy Chief Crowe is a dedicated member of her community and believes that public service extends beyond her role with the HRPS. She was a member of the 2015 United Way Oakville Campaign Cabinet and is a volunteer director on the Board of Directors for Thrive Group.

In her efforts to ensure the Halton Regional Police Service realizes it’s vision of being “the Leader in Community Safety and Policing Excellence,” Deputy Chief Crowe actively participates with the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police and is currently the Zone 4 Director. Carol is a highly competent, dedicated and respected leader who has a reputation for maintaining a positive work environment and for giving back to our community through her many volunteer activities.

Trudy Csernyei

Trudy Csernyei founded the Ministry of the Needy Around the World at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Burlington to collect or make items for third world countries. Trudy works tirelessly to collect items like soap, fabric, yarn, clothing and school supplies that can be repurposed. The group also produces baby layettes, baby quilts and personal care packages which are sent to some of the poorest countries in Central and South America and Africa.

Trudy was born in Austria in 1939.  As a teenager, she was sent to Canada to escape the Hitler regime but found life challenging as an immigrant with limited language skills and education. Her kind heart, generous personality and quick smile helped her achieve success in Canada.  She continuously works to give back to her community and to those who are less fortunate through her fund raising efforts.

Jean Grieve

Jean Grieve is a much loved music teacher, having taught generations of children to play music in Canada and abroad. She started organizations that have brought music to thousands of students and has done it all humbly because she loves music. Prior to moving to Canada in 1954, Jean earned a degree in Russian Language and Literature from the University of London, School of Slavonic Studies, and was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for three years.

In 1958, Jean and her husband moved to Oakville where she happened to see an ad in the local paper that read ‘Cellist needed for a string quartet.’”   Jean joined the group and played with it for nine years. Together with members of the quartet, Jean founded the Oakville Symphony Orchestra in 1967 and is still playing cello with the orchestra today as it celebrates its 50th season.

Jean has been teaching in Oakville for over 40 years and is a pioneer of the Suzuki method of string teaching in Ontario. She is also a member of the Early Childhood Music Association of Ontario and founded the Oakville Suzuki Association and the Halton Youth Symphony.

Jean supports the Oakville Symphony’s Young Artist Award program by sponsoring high school students to perform with the symphony for a season and providing a bursary to support their music education. Jean also teaches the Junior Violin Program at ArtHouse, an organization that enables youth to participate in arts programs at no cost.

If you learned to play a string instrument in Oakville, chances are you have worked with Jean. She was recently awarded with a Diamond Jubilee medal and an Arts Award at Oakville’s 11th Annual Community Spirit Awards for a lifetime dedicated to music.

Dr. Frank Hayden

Dr. Frank Hayden is a pioneer of the Special Olympics movement. He envisioned sport as a possibility for everyone, including children living with intellectual differences.

While he was a faculty member at the University of Western, Frank conducted research on the role that physical activity could have in the lives of children living with differences. In the 1960’s he designed fitness programs for children living with differences and attracted the attention of the Kennedy Foundation and its patron, Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

The result was the creation of the first Special Olympics in 1968 in Chicago, which supported the belief that sport must be accessible for all people regardless of physical or intellectual circumstance. Frank served as executive director of the Special Olympics from 1968-72 and founded the European arm of Special Olympics International. He was also a consultant to Canadian Special Olympics throughout the 1990’s. Frank was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

“Frank’s compassionate work in the 1960’s was game changing for every person living with an intellectual difference because it pioneered programs that would create a legacy that will last forever,” said Rod Black, a renowned sports commentator with TSN and CTV who has long been a champion of the Special Olympics movement in Canada.

Today the Special Olympics program supplies training and friendly rivalry for more than three million athletes in over 170 countries worldwide. As a builder and a visionary Frank has shown the world that sport is essential to all of us regardless of our circumstance.

Heidi Knapp

Heidi Knapp is the Director of Grace Academy of Dance & Performing Arts in Oakville. She is a Fellow and Examiner with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and holds qualifications that specialize in Classical Ballet, Modern Theatre Dance and Tap, as well as intermediate training in National Dance.  Heidi also earned a B.A. in Drama with a specialization in Stage Management.

Heidi is a firm believer that dance should be inclusive and accessible. Her teaching experience spans more than 20 years and covers work in dance, drama and musical theatre with dancers aged three to 85 of all abilities. Heidi is the Director of the Spirit Moves Christian Dance Company, for which she was nominated for the Oakville Community Spirit Awards in 2005. She also teaches dance to seniors and is the choreographer for The Oakville Happy Tappers.  Grace Academy was recently nominated as small business of the year in the Oakville Awards for Business Excellence.

The community fund-raising drives and activities that Heidi instigates: from Happy Feet/Healthy Heart, the Children’s Waterfront Festival, Walk for Breast Cancer, and a number of programs at the Senior Recreation Centre, all reflect Heidi’s belief that the only thing we have to lean on is each other.

Michelle Knoll

Michelle Knoll joined the Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre in 2000 as a parent and volunteer, and became its Executive Director in 2004.   With diplomas in Community Work and Early Childhood Education, Michelle has been a community advocate for the last 28 years in the areas of neighbourhood capacity building, family support, poverty issues, tenants’ rights and inclusion.

Michelle believes that a community has all the gifts and talents it needs to meet the challenges within that community if people are given the opportunity to connect and contribute.  A welcoming community supports all its members through diverse programs and resources designed to build friendships, strengthen children and foster healthy neighbourhoods.  The Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre is a community based agency that last year served 772 households and 758 children in a variety of programs.

Michelle is a long-time supporter of families and youth, supporting them with whatever they need to grow and thrive and is a master at engaging and including the neighbourhood to help make it happen.

Craig Macpherson

A resident of Burlington for over 25 years, Craig Macpherson dedicates significant time to the community as a coach of girls’ baseball and a tournament organizer for girls’ hockey.

After 35 years in the hospitality and publishing businesses, Craig decided to pursue a career in real estate. Craig is known for his hard work, honesty and integrity and his commitment to making life better for others. Those that know him often hear him say, “It’s all about you!”

As a member of the Rotary Club of Burlington North, Craig led the charge in involving the Rotary Club in a First Nations Breakfast Club and has taken the lead on collecting used hockey equipment for a First Nations community in Northern Ontario.

Vicki Mains

Vicki Mains, President of the Optimist Club of Oakville, has served as an Advisor for the Junior Optimist Club of Oakville since 2013. She has mentored this group of high school aged students to complete many community service projects, including participating and leading the YMCA of Oakville Peace Walk for the past four years, packing bags of food for Food4kids and supporting the Oak Park Neighborhood Centre with a Breakfast, Easter Bunny event and Children’s Halloween Party. The Junior Optimists are a diverse group of students representing public, separate and private high schools in Oakville and Burlington.

Under Vicki’s guidance, the Junior Optimist Club has grown significantly and has been recognized as an Honor Club for the past 4 years.  This past year the Junior Optimist Club sponsored two new Junior Clubs, one at Oak Park for grade six to eight students and the other in Mississauga for high school students. Over the past year, the club completed 766 volunteer hours, impacting 1182 children and youth in Oakville. She is also an Adult Ally on Our Kids Network, North Oakville Youth Development Council.

Vicki received the Advisor of Excellence Award from Optimist International this year.

Mariam Manaa

An outstanding role model for Halton youth on many levels, Mariam Manaa has been recognized several times for her work and the impact it has on her community. Through her involvement with programs at local community centers and mosques, Mariam has influenced and motivated young women to take on active roles of service within the wider community.

Mariam is at the forefront of changing the narrative of the way immigrants are viewed in society. She sits on the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada roundtable where she participates in discussions on how to create an inclusive society and to help ease the transition for newcomers as they establish themselves in their new country.

This summer, Mariam worked with local Indigenous leader Stephen Paquette to develop a petition to redesign the Canadian Citizenship guide and exam to acknowledge Indigenous Treaty Rights.  The petition proposes that citizenship applicants be required to answer a question about the Traditional Territories of the land they are living on and that all new Canadians are taught about residential schools and the legacy of colonialism.  Her petition has already received the 500 signatures required to solicit a federal government response.

Michael Messenger

Michael Messenger has lived in North Oakville for the past ten years. During this time, he has worked to engage young people in Oakville, Canada and around the world, encouraging them to get involved and affect change in their communities.  As a volunteer with the Burloak Canoe Club, Michael supported young athletes and their families as Vice Commodore of the club.  He has worked tirelessly to motivate young people in the community to become active, to find a place to belong and to explore how sport can enrich their lives. Michael also mentors young adults and teens as they explore how their faith can be integrated into their daily lives and into their communities.

Michael is currently President of World Vision Canada, a relief, development and advocacy organization based in Mississauga. In his role, Michael encourages young Canadians to bring the stories of the most vulnerable children in the world to light in their own circles of influence.  He is a proud Dipper, having taken the plunge at the annual New Year’s Day Courage Polar Bear Dip for years.  In fact, he was pleased to accompany the Courage Brothers to Rwanda to see how their Polar Bear Dip funds are bringing clean water to many communities.

Michael has travelled to some of the most challenging places in the world and encouraged and given hope to children and youth in refugee camps in occupied territories in Palestine, in the slums of New Delhi, and in gang-controlled villages in Honduras. He has brought their stories back to raise awareness and encourage action in Canada.

Owen Millar

Through his involvement in high level sport as well as his philanthropic efforts in our community and beyond, 13 year old Owen Millar is a making a name for himself in youth engagement and youth leadership.

Owen has played rep hockey and baseball in Burlington for most of his life, often named  captain or assistant captain of many of those teams because of the respect he has earned from his peers and coaches.

He tirelessly raises funds for a number of organizations including the Canadian Cancer Society, The Terry Fox Run and Hope In High Heels for Halton Women’s Place.  Owen encouraged his hockey team to wear purple to raise awareness about gender based violence and has been a leader in this area.

A recipient of the Governor General’s Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medallion for his work within the community, Owen has been team captain for Ian’s Army and the top fundraiser for the Great Ride and Stride in Burlington.

Kelly Oliveria

Kelly Oliveira has been instrumental in bringing a potentially life-saving device to our community.  The mother of a nine-year-old son living with autism who wandered away from her on two separate occasions, Kelly launched a petition to bring Project Lifesaver to Halton.

Project Lifesaver is a rapid-response and rescue program designed to help locate wandering or missing people living with cognitive differences such as autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Down Syndrome and dementia by way of a tracking device. The program makes it possible to reduce the search effort from days and hours to minutes, combining radio technology with a coordinated police response to assist in locating wandering and disorientated loved ones.

The program, operated in partnership with Halton Region, will assist police in increasing and improving community safety.

Eleeza Rafiq

Seventh grader Eleeza Rafiq has been running a youth charity group for the last three years called the Ramadan Rangers which works to involve youth the community to raise funds, collect food and support the local community in a number of ways during the month of Ramadan. This past year the group collected over 1,000 brand new toys and raised $3,000 for four local hospitals (McMaster Children’s Hospital, Joseph Brant Hospital, Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital and Credit Valley Hospital). In years past, the group has worked with Islamic Relief Canada to sponsor a number of children in different countries such as Syria, Palestine, and Pakistan and has provided thousands of non-perishable food items for the Muslim Welfare Center and Food4Life Burlington.

Eleeza has engaged youth through school friends, family friends, social media, speaking with teachers, principals and making announcements at various events. Each year more and more youth are getting involved in this great initiative.

Eleeza’s goal for the Ramadan Rangers is to work with a different organization each year and develop a plan to engage as many youth as possible to raise funds in support of the organization. She also engages retailers and others in the community to encourage them to support the initiative.

Sherry Saevil

Sherry Saevil is a Cree women from Treaty 6 with a degree in Native Studies and Criminology from the University of Saskatchewan.  She developed her passion for Indigenous issues through personal experience and professional life. Sherry’s mother and all of her Aunts and Uncles were survivors of the Residential School system.  She comes from a family of ten children who were all part of the “Sixties Scoop.”  Sherry is the first generation to raise her children without government interference.

Sherry has always worked for Indigenous organizations, starting with the Treaty and Aboriginal Rights Research Centre in Manitoba, where she was the lead researcher in archival research. She spent five years at Six Nations of the Grand River Territory as Assistant Director, focusing on land claims research in preparation for submissions to the federal government.

Sherry now works with the Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB) as the Indigenous Education Advisor.  She is a passionate advocate for Indigenous issues and regularly speaks about several key subjects including Residential Schools, Treaties and social issues facing Indigenous people.

Sherry continues to support a variety of educational initiatives at the HCDSB by providing professional development to all staff, introducing Indigenous elders, artists, performers and Traditional Knowledge Keepers to schools while encouraging teachers to embed Indigenous ways of knowing into the curriculum.

Sherry is regularly invited to participate on key commitees and at national conferences such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the Educational Roundtable with the National Centre of Truth and Reconciliation, the International Indigenous Education Conference and Treaty discussions with the Treaty Commission of Saskatchewan. She continues outreach to various First Nations communities not only in southern Ontario but also in our northern communities.

Anastasia Siamicheva

Anastasia Siamicheva is a grade four student in Oakville. She has always been interested in environmental topics, from how weather systems develop to recycling, protecting the oceans and preventing species like dolphins from swallowing litter and dying.  Anastasia has been a member of her school’s Eco-club since grade one and became a member of the Earth Rangers, making a pledge to protect animals and the environment.

Anastasia joined Earth Day clean up efforts at Munn’s Creek in Oakville and has planted several trees at a joint event with Earth Rangers and Credit Valley Conservation to restore the Credit River Watershed.

To celebrate Canada 150, Anastasia started project #CLEAN150 with her dad to encourage all Canadians to help preserve the environment and clean up their communities. They called on all Canadians to round up family, friends and neighbors and head to the most polluted area in their neighborhood to collect 150 pieces of trash.  Anastasia asked participants to take photos and post them on social media to encourage others to do the same. Once a week, Anastasia walks around her neighbourhood and picks up garbage, setting an example for her friends. Anastasia is committed to being an active and vocal environmental steward.

Ayden Soares

Ayden Soares, a student at St. Timothy Catholic Elementary School in Burlington, is unstoppable in his campaign to spread awareness of Childhood Arthritis and fundraise for a cure. Nine year old Ayden was first diagnosed with Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis in 13 of his joints in 2014, and has been on a range of medications to help manage the disease since. Overcoming the odds, Ayden became more determined than ever to achieve his dream of becoming a black belt in Taekwondo and, after years of training, Ayden earned his first black belt this past year. He wants to show others that you should never give up on your dreams and not to let a disease define you.

In 2015, Ayden was awarded the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award by the Association of Fundraising Professions. Since April 2016, Ayden has been arthritis free! He continues to raise awareness of Childhood Arthritis and has become an Ambassador for the Arthritis Society.  Ayden trains three days a week at OMAC Martial Arts.  In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday and in support of the Arthritis Society, Ayden decided to kick arthritis by kicking 150 karate boards at Spencer Smith Park in Burlington on July 1st.  I am the lucky recipient of one of Ayden’s autographed boards!

Michele Sparling

Michelle Sparling is a top-tier Human Resources Consultant but may be more recognized for her many volunteer posts in our community and her dedication to supporting youth mental health.  Her volunteer roles include:

Vice-Chair of the Canadian Mental Health Association; Chair, Parents for Children’s Mental Health; Member of the Mental Health Leadership Team – HCDSB; Co-Chair – Community Advisory Committee for Mental Health, Halton Health Care; Working Committee member on Case Management and Mental Health – MH-LHIN; Initiator / Advisory Committee Member – Just Be You, peer-to-peer mental health support group; Founder – Shine Out! Shout Out! annual Hockey Tournament for mental health; and, Provincial Advisory Committee – Moving on Mental Health

Perhaps one of her best known volunteer positions is founder of Shine Out! Shout Out!, an annual Hockey Tournament for mental health.  This year marked the 5th annual adult recreational hockey tournament raising funds and awareness for youth mental health.  What began as an idea in a kitchen one night in 2013 has grown beyond what she imagined in its positive impact for those struggling with mental health issues. 22 teams and more than 275 players, along with volunteers, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, community leaders, families, friends, and the general public come together as more than 400 people take part in the tournament in one way or another.

That evening kitchen meeting also sparked the idea for Just Be You, a peer-to-peer recreation-based support program for youth with mental health issues run in partnership with Support and Housing Halton.  Together, these programs have raised $200,000 for youth mental health since September 2013.

In 2014 Shine Out! Shout Out! was presented with the Marlene Longdon Award from CMHA-Halton for contributing significantly to the advancement of mental health in the community.