Mayor's City Builder Award


Great cities don't just happen. They are built with purpose, and with passion by people from all walks of life. Kitchener thrives because of the many city builders who are committed to making our city an even greater place tomorrow than it is today.

About the award

The Mayor’s City Builder Award brings attention to Kitchener citizens who show a commitment to making our city and community a better place today and in the future.

Examples of this work might include dedicated charitable work, acts of kindness and compassion, inspiring community building activities, and any other act or achievement that has strengthened and benefited our community.


Nominations are closed. Please subscribe to this page to get an email when we post new information.

Past award winners

 2017 Award Winners
  • Melissa Bowman: For the past four years Melissa Bowman has been president of the Victoria Park Neighbourhood Association and is the current chair of the Downtown Action and Advisory Committee. Melissa's work with the Victoria Park Neighbourhood Association has made this neighbourhood an exciting and vibrant place to live and visit. Her leadership and incredible insight has provided much value to city staff on many issues pertaining to the rejuvenation of our downtown core. An avid volunteer, Melissa has been donating her time with the Waterloo Region Food Bank for almost a decade and has served for seven years in volunteer roles with Nexus church.

  • Sarah Casselman: Sara Cassleman has played an active role within the sexual assault support sector for over 17 years.  She is an advocate and community leader in educating our community on issues surrounding sexual violence and is currently the executive director of the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region. Sara also sits on a number of boards and coalitions addressing gendered violence. 

  • Basheer Habib: Basheer Habib is an active community member in the City of Kitchener, serving numerous organizations including: Canadian International Council, World Partnership Walk, Aga Khan Council for Ontario, Aga Khan District Administrative Committee, St. Mary's General Hospital Foundation, Junior Achievement and Waterloo Region Walks. Specifically, Basheer has been instrumental in making the World Partnership Walk a fixture in the Waterloo Region. He was one of the original founders of the walk and serves as char. 

  • Laura McBride: Laura McBride has been a Kitchener-based artist for the past 10 years. Her love for visual arts, photography and event planning has evolved into her role as a local place maker and community activist. Laura bridges art and community through individual initiatives like Central Fairy Doors and The Ladybug project, and through creative collaborations like The Frederick Street Art Walk, The Hohner Avenue Porch Party and The Weber Park Piano. Laura has a deep belief in the power of a neighbourhood to foster a sense of belonging.

  • Paula Saunders: Paula Saunders has been a strong advocate for promoting a barrier-free community. For over 25 years Paula has been on the Waterloo Region Barrier-free Advisory Committee, offering suggestions and practical solutions for eliminating barriers to both municipalities and the region. Paula has worked with city staff and city engineers to examine curb cuts, intersections, trails, parks and buildings to ensure that when a member of the disability community enters a building or public space, they can expect the same level of accessibility. 

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 2016 Award Winners
  • Don Bourgeois: Don Bourgeois has been active in the Waterloo Region for 40 years, focusing on municipal strategic planning, arts and culture, and economic development. He has volunteered countless hours to local organizations and civic committees such as the KW Art Gallery, KW Symphony and Compass Kitchener. As President of JM Drama Alumni Corporation he has supported arts recreation and learning through the production of community theatre. In 2000, Don was the principal architect of a plan that saw the old Land Registry Office converted into The Registry Theater. As founder of Createscape Waterloo Region, Don continues to support the creative community in Kitchener.

  • Nadia Muhammad: Nadia Muhammad's spirit of volunteerism and community building followed her from her native Pakistan where she taught children who could not afford to go to school, or needed help with their studies. After arriving in Kitchener in 2013, Nadia has been heavily involved with the Victoria Hills Neighbourhood Association and was elected vice president in 2015. Nadia has led successful cultural celebrations at the community centre including, Diwali and Eid. She has also taken a leadership role in connecting with the "Our- Stories-Let's Connect" program and assisted with the "Lemonade Stand" Neighbourhood Strategy session. 

  • Mike Stephenson: Well known throughout the community as "Dr. Mike," he came to Kitchener-Waterloo in 2012. Passionate about refugee medicine, Dr. Stephenson opened Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre in 2013 one day a week with six patients. In 2016, it served more than 1,500 refugees, especially those with complex and chronic needs. His team of healthcare professionals, mostly volunteers, includes students from the University of Waterloo and Laurier University, where he teaches occasionally. The "go to" person among service providers and organizations supporting refugee newcomers, Dr. Stephenson also works closely with Public Health and the Canadian Mental Health Association.

  • Brooke Robinson: Brooke Robinson has been instrumental in building safe and thriving neighbourhoods through her advocacy and passion for the community. She leads activities and gatherings in her neighbourhood, Tremaine Park, like Easter egg hunts, summer family barbecues and Earth Day Clean ups. Brooke is a member of the Neighbourhood Strategy Committee and her family donated the first outdoor ping pong table in Kitchener to Tremaine Park. Truly committed to creating stronger neighbourhoods, Brooke is one of the city's most enthusiastic supporters. 

  • Warren Stauch: Warren Stauch has a passion for Kitchener's neighbourhoods, culture and heritage is demonstrated through the countless committees and city projects he has been involved with. Warren is a member of the Christkindl Market organizing committee, chair of the Waterloo Region Heritage Foundation and executive of the Auditorium Neighbourhood Association. He was also project co-leader in the implementation of the pavilion project in Knollwood Park. An avid volunteer, Warren is the director of business for the Volunteer Association of St. Mary's Hospital and volunteer for Joke Junction at Grand River Hospital. Known for having infectious enthusiasm, Warren has strengthened a sense of community in Kitchener for more than 50 years. 

  • Reception House: Reception House is a community based organization that welcomes government-assisted refugees through a number of programs and services to make their new life in Canada a success. Since the federal government announced a commitment to resettle 25,000 Syrian Refugees within Canada, Reception House has remarkably assisted more than 1,000 government assisted refugees with their services, many finding permanent housing in Kitchener. Staff and executive director, Bert Lobe who co-chaired the Refugee Resettlement Steering Committee successfully integrated newcomers providing a more diverse community for the City of Kitchener and its residents.

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 2015 Award Winners
  • Fred Bishop: Fred Bishop has been an passionate community volunteer and advocate for affordable housing, serving on the board of directors of Kitchener Housing Inc. and the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association board. He has also served on a variety of City of Kitchener advisory committees including its Downtown Advisory and Ethno-cultural advisory committees, as well as other community groups such as the Victoria Park 100th birthday committee, and as a volunteer with the 1997 Women's World Hockey Championships.

  • Patrick Doherty (Posthumously: Pat Doherty was affectionately known as Mr. Hockey throughout Kitchener.  A long-time educator with the Waterloo Region Catholic School Board, Pat's true passion was volunteering and hockey was his love, where he dedicated more than 50 years to young people and the sport. While hockey was his biggest love, his community efforts also included serving on many community committees and boards including the City of Kitchener's Parks & Recreation and Safe & Healthy Community advisory committees. Pat also spearheaded the installation of Automated Exterior Defibrillator (AED's) throughout the city.

  • Mike Farwell: Local radio personality, Mike Farwell is known for his tireless support of all things Kitchener. Co-chair of the City of Kitchener's Neighbourhood Strategy project, vice-chair of the Kitchener Public Library Board, and member of the KW Oktoberfest public relations committee is just some of what Mike does.  But Mike is best known for his passion and work with Cystic Fibrosis Canada and his Farwell 4 Hire campaign, a labour of love in memory of his two sisters whom he lost to CF many years ago.

  • Joseph Fung: Joseph Fung is an accomplished entrepreneur who is considered a thought leader and role model for many young people developing their career within Kitchener and Waterloo region's growing technology and innovation sector.  A graduate of Leadership Waterloo Region, Joseph actively encourages his staff to think about a variety of community-building issues and then get involved to do something about them.  And best of all he walks the talk from volunteering and serving on the boards of the KW Art Gallery and the KW Symphony to writing thought-provoking blogs on issues such as gentrification.

  • Jean Markovich: Jean Markovich's style of getting things done is described as enthusiastic, quiet and supportive. Whether by helping a senior shovel and de-ice their sidewalk or serving as VP and helping with social media for the Auditorium Neighbourhood Association, Jean demonstrates what it means to be a city builder.  Also a graduate of Leadership Waterloo Region, Jean volunteers with Junior Achievement Waterloo Region, the Hope Spring Cancer Support Centre and countless other organizations to help make Kitchener a great place to live.

  • Julia Spencer: Julia Spencer demonstrates that you can never be too young to start being a city builder.  A member of the Kitchener Youth Advisory Council, Julia's passion for social justice issues is infectious and has engaged many other youth on issues and committees including youth and mental health, the Gay-Straight Alliance, the Food Bank of Waterloo Region and Me to We.  Julia stands out as a very caring, committed, compassionate and giving young woman.

  • Lions Club of Kitchener: The Lions Club of Kitchener has been serving our community since 1937.  One of numerous service clubs in our community, its 60 members not only annual traditions of the KW Santa Claus Parade and the KW Citizen of the Year award, but they also support a variety of community initiatives including the Children's Safety Village and the Dog Guide program.  They also were generous contributors to the Kitchener Lions Community arena and the much beloved reflecting pool and skating rink in Carl Zehr Square at Kitchener City Hall.

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