January 7, 2019
Michael LaPorte (left) and Laurie Ann Stuart (right) present Lisa Hunter with the chapter’s inaugural Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Landscape Ontario’s Georgian Lakelands Chapter held its fourth annual Awards of Distinction at Casino Rama in Orillia, Ont., Nov. 29. Emceed by Clearview Nursery’s Michael LaPorte, the evening included socializing and dinner for the 90 people in attendance, followed by the announcement of winners in 10 award categories.

Nick Solty, a past-president of Landscape Ontario and founding member of the chapter, commented on the growth of the Awards of Distinction event, “I was thinking back to the first awards night we had up in Orillia, with 20 people. We have grown this into a really nice event over the last four years.”

This year, the awards featured a new category, the Young Entrepreneur of the Year. This award recognizes Landscape Ontario member companies within the Georgian Lakelands Chapter that have been in business for less than five years. The inaugural award was given to Lisa Hunter, owner of The Tiny Gardener in Barrie, Ont.

Congratulations to the following winners:
•  Hardscape Material Supplier of the Year: Georgian Bay Outdoors
•  Plant Material Supplier of the Year: Clearview Nursery
•  Equipment and Accessory Supplier of the Year: Bobcat of Barrie
•  Best Service Supplier of the Year: Sarjeant Fuels
•  Best Salesperson of the Year: Brent Burton, Georgian Bay Outdoors
•  Best Boss of the Year: Rob Vogel, Georgian Bay Outdoors
•  Volunteer of the Year: Lynne Barnes
•  Employee of the Year: Tracy Carter, Solty’s Garden Centre
•  Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Lisa Hunter, The Tiny Gardener
•  Service and Leadership Award: Lexi Dearborn, Dearborn Designs & Associates

All winners were determined by an online voting campaign held Nov. 7-17, 2018, where LO member companies and their employees were able to vote for their favourite nominee within each category. This year, over 60 LO members were nominated for various awards by their peers within the landscape and horticulture profession.

The Chapter would like to thank the generous sponsors who helped to make this event possible: Barrie’s Garden Centre (Gold Sponsor), Cast n Stone (Silver Sponsor), Dearborn Designs & Associates, LA Gardens, and Georgian Bay Outdoors (Bronze Sponsors).