Last Wednesday night, The City of North Bay hosted the annual Northern Ontario Business Awards (NOBA), at the North Bay Granite Club.  This gala awards night, which is put on annually by Michael Atkins and his team at Northern Ontario Business, celebrates the achievements of our business community and business leaders, in Northern Ontario.  This event held every year for the past 32 years, is hosted by a different community each year and it was fitting that the City of North Bay hosted the 2018 event, at the Granite Club.  Bobby Ray and his staff at the Granite Club transformed the facility into a beautiful venue for the evening of celebration.

It was an evening of showcasing the business community of Northern Ontario.  North Bay held its own against the competition from our neighbours to the west and north, picking up four of the prestigious awards.  Congratulations to Mark Weckwerth and his team from Bay Roofing-Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Lindsay Sarazin of Wolf Eye Productions-First Nations Business Award of Excellence along with Dave and Jade Nighbor of 9 Lives Design Inc.-Company of the Year 1-15 employees.  The Judges Choice award, also came home to North Bay and the location of the event, proved to be a fitting one.

The Judges Choice award, was the last of the evening and was presented to Mark Brown, Dave Bennett and Rick Miller, representing the Planning Committee for the World Women’s Curling Championship held earlier this year.  The Planning Committee graciously accepted this award on behalf of the over 400 community volunteers, who made this event an outstanding success.  The nine-day event broke attendance records from prior events held in many major cities across Canada.  Not only did it smash attendance records, but it also pumped an estimated seven million dollars into our local economy.  The host club, the North Bay Granite Club, was the appropriate venue to host this celebration of the business communities, from across the north.

After the awards were presented and the crowds gone, it is refreshing to note that North Bay has some truly amazing entrepreneurs and business people that can compete, anywhere.  As a community, the same is true.  The spirit and electricity that surrounded the World Women’s Curling in March and recognized with last weeks Northern Ontario Business Awards, is something that we should all be proud of.  Our citizens and volunteers, from both the City proper and neighbouring communities, showed what Northern hospitality is all about.  Pride in our community is recognized and especially by other communities.  Congratulations to the nominees and winners of the awards, but especially our hometown winners…you did us proud!!!

Peter Chirico is the President and CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.