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Celebrating Edmonton’s Best: Announcing the Edmonton Tourism Award Winners

Edmonton recently celebrated its finest contributors to tourism at the prestigious Edmonton Tourism Awards. These awards showcase the exceptional achievements of individuals, organizations, and events that have not only enhanced the visitor experience in Edmonton, but have done so in unique and innovative ways. This year, the winners have set new standards in hospitality, sustainability, cultural promotion, and event organization, each with their own distinct approach. Let’s delve into the unique accomplishments that earned them recognition and explore how they continue to make Edmonton a top destination for travellers.

Cultural Experience Award

Métis Crossing

Métis Crossing stands out as Alberta’s first major Métis cultural interpretive center, offering an immersive journey into Métis culture, history, and identity. This center is more than just a destination – it’s an educational voyage that connects visitors with the enduring heritage of the Métis people. Through interactive exhibits, workshops, performances, and storytelling, visitors gain a deep understanding of Métis traditions and way of life.

The mission of Métis Crossing extends beyond cultural preservation. It actively engages and educates visitors, fostering greater understanding and respect for Métis culture. By showcasing the talents of Métis artisans, musicians, and storytellers, the center celebrates the community’s creativity and contributions, significantly enhancing cultural tourism and economic development in the Edmonton region.

Sustainable Tourism Award

Over $500K: Edmonton Radial Railway Society (ERRS)

The Edmonton Radial Railway Society (ERRS) champions sustainable tourism through its historic streetcar operations. These electric-powered streetcars provide a unique, zero-emission transit experience that educates and entertains. The society’s dedication to restoring disused rail lines and transforming them into thriving community spaces demonstrates the transformative power of sustainable practices in urban development.

ERRS’s funding model, which relies on passenger fares, charters, and donations, underscores its commitment to sustainable tourism. The society’s efforts preserve Edmonton’s transportation heritage and promote sustainability, contributing to the city’s cultural and historical landscape.

Under $500K: RiverWatch EcoFloats

RiverWatch’s EcoFloats program epitomizes sustainable tourism, offering river-based educational tours that highlight environmental stewardship. Operating with minimal ecological disruption, the non-motorized rafts used in EcoFloats allow participants to explore Alberta’s waterways while learning about local ecosystems and water conservation. The program’s educational aspect empowers visitors to make informed environmental choices, fostering a deep appreciation for natural habitats.

By employing local guides and partnering with local businesses, RiverWatch ensures that tourism benefits are felt throughout the community, reinforcing social equity and sustainability. EcoFloats offers a unique, memorable experience that combines education, environmental protection, and community engagement, making every visitor feel like a part of the local community.

Great Place to Work Tourism Award: Campus Tower Suite Hotel

Campus Tower Suite Hotel excels in creating an inclusive and nurturing work environment. The hotel’s policies promote workforce diversity and employee growth, ensuring a workplace free from discrimination. Initiatives like fair recruitment practices, cultural diversity celebrations, and violence and harassment prevention training demonstrate the hotel’s commitment to staff well-being.

Emphasizing work-life balance and open communication, Campus Tower Suite Hotel supports its staff in achieving professional and personal harmony. Recognition programs celebrate employee achievements, fostering a culture of appreciation and motivation, making the hotel an exemplary workplace in Edmonton’s hospitality industry.

Sports Event of the Year

Over $1 million: 2023 NHL Heritage Classic

The 2023 NHL Heritage Classic, hosted in Edmonton, celebrated hockey’s cultural significance and showcased Edmonton’s capacity to host large-scale international events. Drawing over 55,411 fans to Commonwealth Stadium, the event created an electrifying atmosphere, highlighting the city’s enthusiasm for the sport.

The economic impact was substantial, with an estimated $35 million infused into the local economy. The Heritage Classic captivated audiences and supported community initiatives, contributing to Edmonton’s reputation as a leading destination for major sporting events.

Under $1 million: Edmonton International Judo Championships

The Edmonton International Judo Championships, Canada’s largest judo event, transformed the Ice Palace at West Edmonton Mall into a judo arena, attracting over 1,200 competitors from around the world. This event serves as a cultural exchange and competitive platform, raising judo awareness and engaging local and international participants.

The championships generate significant economic activity, with attendees supporting local accommodations, dining, and transportation services. Promotion through social media and live streaming amplifies its reach, solidifying Edmonton’s status as a premier location for judo and sporting events.

Business Event of the Year Award

OE Global Conference 2023

Co-hosted by NorQuest College and Open Education Global, the OE Global Conference 2023 emphasized the role of open education in sustainable development. Attracting over 418 participants from 29 countries, the conference fostered international partnerships and showcased Edmonton’s commitment to inclusive, sustainable learning.

The conference’s focus on sustainability and Indigenous Ways of Knowing promoted Edmonton as a leader in open education, enhancing the city’s educational and sustainability goals and contributing to its international reputation.

Festival of the Year Award

Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival

The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, North America’s largest and longest-running festival of its kind, is a hallmark of Edmonton’s cultural identity. In 2023, the festival featured 184 productions, with 1,409 performances, and sold over 115,000 tickets, returning $1.2 million in ticket revenue directly to the artists.

Supported by a vast network of volunteers, the festival drives over $16 million in economic activity, supporting the local economy through the hospitality, retail, and transportation sectors. The Fringe Festival elevates Edmonton’s arts scene and contributes significantly to the city’s cultural and economic vitality.

Destination Event of the Year Award

The 2023 JUNO Awards

The 2023 JUNO Awards, hosted at Rogers Place in Edmonton, celebrated Canadian music and drew significant national and international attention. With live performances and award presentations, the event generated $11.7 million in local economic activity and supported numerous jobs.

The week-long celebration included public and industry events, marketing Edmonton as a cultural hub. The JUNO Awards highlighted Edmonton’s capacity to host premier national events, enhancing the city’s tourism appeal and cultural landscape.

Culinary Tourism Award

Prairie Gardens Longtable Farm Dinner Program

Prairie Gardens Longtable Farm Dinner Program offers an authentic farm-to-table experience showcasing Alberta’s agricultural heritage. The program’s foundation is built on cultivating a taste of place, supporting small-scale farmers, and creating sustainable farm practices.

Dinners crafted around the farm’s produce promote biodiversity and support local ecosystems. By collaborating with local chefs and artisans, Prairie Gardens creates a symphony of flavours that reflect the region’s heritage, offering guests an immersive culinary experience.

Attraction of the Year Award

TELUS World of Science—Edmonton

TELUS World of Science – Edmonton has been a beacon of curiosity and discovery for over four decades. The center’s inclusive programs reach beyond its walls, impacting over 90,000 students annually across Alberta and Northern Canada. With innovative exhibitions and significant economic contributions, the Science Centre remains a cornerstone of Edmonton’s cultural and educational landscape.

Tourism Business of the Year

Over 50 employees: West Edmonton Mall

West Edmonton Mall (WEM) is an iconic destination with over 800 stores and 12 world-class attractions, drawing guests globally. WEM’s commitment to providing diverse experiences and exceptional service makes Edmonton a prime tourism location. The mall’s significant economic impact and community partnerships reflect its role as a leading candidate for the Tourism Business of the Year Award.

Under 50 employees: Old Strathcona Farmers Market

The Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market (OSFM) is a year-round culinary and agricultural tourism hub in Edmonton. Hosting 140 vendors, OSFM offers a unique market experience that significantly contributes to Edmonton’s tourism landscape. With innovative approaches like Curbside Carryout, OSFM enhances visitor experiences and supports local vendors, making it a deserving nominee for the Tourism Business of the Year Award.

Best Tourism Influencer Award

Linda Hoang @lindork

Linda Hoang, known as “lindork,” is a prominent figure in Edmonton’s tourism scene. Her engaging content and strategic approach to showcasing Edmonton’s vibrant culture and local businesses have significantly boosted the city’s tourism appeal. Linda’s dedication to highlighting minority and women-owned companies enriches her narrative, making her a leading tourism influencer.

Hotelier Lifetime Achievement Award

Garrett Turta, Peter Parmar, and Richard Wong

  • Richard Wong: With over 38 years in the industry, Richard Wong has significantly impacted Edmonton’s hospitality landscape, transforming major establishments and contributing to community and industry advancements.
  • Peter Parmar: Over a 40-year career, Peter Parmar’s innovative leadership has driven the growth and success of numerous hotels, significantly benefiting Edmonton’s hospitality sector.
  • Garrett Turta: Garrett Turta’s leadership and innovation, particularly within the Fairmont chain, have enhanced Edmonton’s hospitality visibility and appeal, showcasing his profound influence on the industry.

Special Mention Award

National Gathering of Elders
The National Gathering of Elders is a profound cultural event that brings together Indigenous Elders and youth across North America. This gathering in Edmonton serves as a dynamic platform for cultural exchange, education, and celebration of Indigenous wisdom and traditions. The event significantly impacts Edmonton’s tourism and economy, promoting cultural activity and supporting local businesses.

The Edmonton Tourism Awards highlight the incredible contributions of individuals, events, and organizations that make Edmonton a vibrant and appealing tourist destination. From cultural experiences and sustainable tourism initiatives to major events and culinary delights, this year’s winners have significantly enhanced visitor experiences and contributed to the city’s tourism appeal. Their dedication and innovation continue to position Edmonton as a leading destination for travellers from around the world.

If you plan on making Edmonton your next vacation destination, be sure to book your stay through Edmonton’s Best Hotels to take advantage of our 1, 2, 3 Reward Deal, where you can get up to $225 in rewards just for staying in one of our luxurious member hotels.

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Terms and Conditions

The “1,2, 3 Pick Your Rewards”, Terms and Conditions and Blackout Dates 

Rewards Program campaign dates

Reward package available to book from January 5, 2022 for stays to December 31, 2024 for rewards except for possible blackout dates. At present there are no blackout dates scheduled.

Rewards are subject to while supplies last.  Substitutions of equivalent kind, value may be made as necessary.  Rewards are non-transferable, no cash value, no cash back.

  • Rewards are non-transferable, non-exchangeable, have no cash value, no cash back.
  • Rewards cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion.
  • Reward deal is net non-commissionable.

Blackout dates

At present there are no blackout dates scheduled. 

In the event blackout dates are scheduled, any guest who makes a booking for a hotel stay during the blackout period prior to the blackout period being named will receive the rewards they are booked for. 

Rewards Program offerings

Book one night’s stay with Edmonton’s Best Hotels and receive your choice of one of three $50 rewards excluding blackout dates:

  • $50 Gas Card or
  • $50 Prepaid Mastercard, or
  • $50 Ultimate Dining Card

Book two night’s stay with Edmonton’s Best Hotels and receive your choice of one of five reward packages excluding blackout dates:

  • $150 prepaid MasterCard, or
  • $75 Gas card and $75 MasterCard, or
  • $75 Gas card and $75 Ultimate Dining Card, or

Book three night’s stay with Edmonton’s Best Hotels and receive your choice of one of four reward packages excluding blackout dates:

  • Three Night Reward 1: $225 Prepaid Mastercard
  • Three Night Reward 3: $75 Ultimate Dining Card + $75 Prepaid Mastercard + $75 Gas Card

One choice of reward per stay. 

Guest must be 18 years of age or older at time of redemption. 

Prepaid Mastercard’s can be used for online purchases only. In Canada, prepaid Mastercard’s cannot be used at any retail outlet (including your hotel) with point-of-sale systems.

Rewards distribution

Rewards will be emailed directly to guests within 48 hours of Edmonton’s Best Hotels confirming their check-in.  Rewards are not provided by the hotel’s front desk.   All rewards are sent electronically. 

Reservations

Guest must reserve a minimum of 24 hours prior to arrival.

Rewards are NOT available for reservations made less than 24 hours in advance of arrival.

Reservations made directly with hotels and not through Edmonton’s Best Hotels are not eligible for rewards. No exceptions. Rewards are only provided to guests who book through Edmonton’s Best Hotels online booking platform.  Booking reservation confirmations will have Edmonton’s Best Hotels branding on them. Rewards not provided for hotel reservations during specified blackout dates.

Reservations cannot be extended by hotels for additional rewards.

Guests may add a night to an existing one-night deal reservation and receive additional rewards if the request is made a minimum of 24 hours in advance of arrival.

Booking terms and conditions

Rewards provided for more than one night, must be for consecutive nights under one registration under one name at one property. In addition, no more than up to three consecutive nights will be honoured. If a guest checks in for three days and then checks out and re-checks in for the next day, this is considered a consecutive night booking even if the second booking is made at different hotel.  

There must be a minimum of three days between bookings.

Multiple reservations for the same person for the same night(s) is considered a double booking and only one of those bookings will be eligible for rewards. For example, if a guest books two nights on x and y date and then makes another two-night booking for the same dates at the same hotel or another hotel, EBH considers this a double booking and will honour rewards for only one of those bookings. 

Is there a limit on the number of bookings I make on different dates?  Edmonton Best Hotels welcomes repeat business.  Some of our guests visit Edmonton every month.  Please note as stated earlier there must be a minimum of three days between bookings. Please also note stated blackout dates.

Cancelling and date changes to reservations

If a guest wants to cancel or change the dates of their booking.

What if I want to cancel my booking?  Edmonton Best Hotels must cancel your booking (not the hotel).  If you want to cancel, contact info@edmh.ca and let us know.  We will cancel your booking and send you a cancellation number for your records.  Please do not cancel directly with the hotel.

What if I want to change the dates of my booking?  You must contact Edmonton Best Hotels at info@edmh.ca and let us know you want to make a date change.  Your original booking must be cancelled first.  You will receive a cancellation number for your records.  Then, you must rebook for your new dates.  The hotel nor Edmonton’s Best Hotels cannot make date changes to the original booking.  Please note this does not guarantee you will receive the same hotel rate when you rebook for different dates.

Any questions, please contact Edmonton Best Hotels at info@edmh.ca 

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