Civic awards

Learn more about our civic recognition programs: Council for a Day, Waterloo Award and Waterloo's Senior of the Year.

On this page

  1. About our awards
  2. Council for a Day
  3. Waterloo Award
  4. Waterloo's Senior of the Year

About our awards

Waterloo honours citizens from all walks of life. Throughout the year we make time to recognizing the work that members of our community are doing to make our city a better place to live. That may be through volunteer work, being active within their community or an outstanding contribution. We want to ensure that we know you are doing great work!

Council for a Day

The 2023 Council for a Day contest winners are selected

Eight students are chosen based on their ideas for making Waterloo an even better place to live. One of the students is named mayor for the day and introduces Mayor McCabe at the State of the City address. The other seven students serve as councillors for the day. The ideas and responses shared will also be used to inform the 2023-2026 Strategic Plan.

Congratulations to the 2023 Council for a Day winners:

  • Mayor - Lauren K. from Elizabeth Ziegler Public School
  • Ward 1 councillor - Aadarsha A. from Northlake Woods Public School
  • Ward 2 councillor - Norman L. from Vista Hills Public School
  • Ward 3 councillor - Ruby H. from Northlake Woods Public School
  • Ward 4 councillor - Norah W. from Lester B. Pearson Public School
  • Ward 5 councillor - Shaun S. from Lexington Public School
  • Ward 6 councillor - Norah O. from Ecole Elementaire L’Harmonie
  • Ward 7 councillor - Otis B. from Elizabeth Ziegler Public School
Prize details

The winners will spend the day with Mayor McCabe on Thursday, April 27, 2023. All eight winners will:

  • attend the State of the City address
  • enjoy lunch with Mayor McCabe
  • tour city facilities with Mayor McCabe
  • and more!

Waterloo Award

The Waterloo Award is the city’s highest civic honour. It recognizes citizens for enhancing quality of life in Waterloo. Since its inception in 1997, it has honoured people for a variety of contributions and is open to all types of Waterloo citizens.

The Waterloo Award program was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program is currently under review and is on hold until 2023, so that it aligns with the 2023 – 2027 council term and strategic plan. This allows Waterloo Council and city staff to review the program, including the selection process, using a diversity, equity and inclusion lens. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Previous winners

Mark Whaley (1997) Tim Jackson (2009)
Bill Weiler (1997) David Graham (2009)
Eleanor Scully (1997) Carolyn Fedy (2010)
Betsy Abbott (1998) Charles Foy (2010)
Lori Strothard (1998) John Lynch (2010)
Tracey Johnston-Aldworth (1998) Laurie Strome (2011)
Tom Jeary (1999) Narine Sookram (2012)
Carol Moogk-Soulis (1999) Edwin Outwater (2012)
George Masurkevitch (1999) Cindy Watkin (2012)
Ellis Little (2000) Elaine Ormston (2013)
Dawna Saba (2000) Walter McLean (2014)
Brian Norris (2000) Frank Mensink (2014)
Terry Hallman (2001) Kenneth McLaughlin (2014)
Dennis Hartleib (2002) Neil Aitchison (2015) 
William Dailey (2003) Roger Farwell (2015) 
Angela Vieth (2003) Tricia Siemens (2015) 
Anne Morgan (2003) Georgia Cunningham (2016)
Mark Knight (2004) Robert Hennig (2016) 
Alan Morgan (2004) Dr. Howard Armitage (2017)
Brent McFarlane (2004) Rob Way (2017)
Douglas Letson (2005)  Isabel Cisterna (2018)
Marg Rowell (2006)   Eric Davis (2019)
Cliff Campbell (2006) David Marskell (2019) 
Terry Dorscht (2007)   
Eleni Stopp (2007)  
Murray Haase (2007)  
Michael Rowe (2008)    
Randy Warren (2008)    
Alan Chalmers (2008)    
Donald Cowan (2009)   

Waterloo's Senior of the Year

Hirey Abdikarim — 2023 Senior of the Year

Hirey is a community builder, making a significant impact on the lives of numerous young people in Waterloo Region through his leadership, dedication, commitment, and hard work. Additionally, he serves as a role model for other older adults, inspiring them to contribute to the lives of young people.

For over 10 years, Hirey has been an active member of the Somali Canadian Association of Waterloo Region, supporting the organization’s youth sports programs. Many consider him a mentor, friend and father figure. His ability to build positive relationships with young people fosters an environment where they feel safe and supported to ask questions and discuss important issues. This inclusive approach creates a welcoming environment without judgment. Read full media release.

Each year, Waterloo's Age-Friendly Multi-Agency Committee presents the Waterloo's Senior of the Year to honour one local 65+ person who has made outstanding contributions to the community. If the senior you know lives in Kitchener, visit their site to nominate a Kitchener resident. 

Review the eligibility criteria (PDF) if you're considering applying.

Deadline for the 2023 nomination is March 31, 2023.

Past winners

2022 - Jane Mitchell

Jane may be known for her work as a Waterloo Region District School Board trustee and Region of Waterloo councillor, however, her volunteer involvement, before and after her political career, speaks even more to her community commitment. She has volunteered with the House of Friendship, the Cedarbrae School Breakfast Club and the Lakeshore South Community Association. She has served for the Canadian Federation of University Women, the All Saints Anglican Parish Council and the Grand River Conservation Authority and many more organizations. Jane's volunteer activities speak volumes about her commitment to Waterloo. 

2021 - Nancy Werner 

For over 20 years, Nancy has been a volunteer, and for five years, coordinator, of the Breakfast Club at Cedarbrae Public School in the Sunnydale community of Waterloo. Legally blind all of her adult life, Nancy has dedicated her retirement years to making a difference in children’s lives. The children and community at Cedarbrae School reap the benefits of Nancy’s tireless contributions.

2020 - Janet Hoffman

Janet Hoffman has been described as a “freelance volunteer.” She is not limited by organization or role but contributes where help is needed. Her contributions are holistic and collaborative: she recognizes what is required and sets about with others to make it happen. Among many other volunteer positions, Janet has been a regular volunteer with the Sunnydale Community Centre, a House of Friendship neighbourhood program, since 2007. 

2019 - Jean Hoffmann

Jean Hoffmann is a retired Waterloo Region District School Board elementary school teacher. Since retirement, Jean has devoted much of her time to assisting others in the City of Waterloo and surrounding area. “Tireless work in the service of others” is a theme of Jean’s volunteerism.

2018 - Maedith Radlein

A resident of Waterloo, Radlein is a retired Waterloo Region District School Board elementary school principal. She was recognized for her long-standing commitment to city and regional organizations, institutions, clubs and groups.

2017 - Rick Chambers

Rick's contribution to the community is far-reaching and he has long been recognized for his strength of leadership and character. His passion lies with promoting an age friendly community. He was chairperson of the City of Waterloo 55+ advisory board from 2013 to 2016.

2016 - Arlene Groh

Arlene is a nurse and consultant for Healing Approaches for Elder Abuse and Mistreatment, an organization which aims to provide opportunities for change and healing to communities affected by elder abuse. She coordinated the Restorative Justice Approaches to Elder Abuse Project and was a founding member of Waterloo Region's Elder Abuse Response Team.

2015 - Chris Baker

Chris was chosen for her impressive list of volunteer activities that have made a difference in shaping our community, including preparing food at RCAFA Wing 404, participating on Mayor's dinner committees, the social committee chair for the Old Salts Senior Canoe Club, garden volunteer and community ambassador for Parents for Community Living and long-time visitor to an older group of women living at senior retirement homes.

2014 - John Philips

John was recognized as a volunteer with the St. Jacob's Playhouse and at his church, an enthusiastic greeter of guests at the Adult Recreation Centre and piano player for the Senior Outing Day Program 

2013 - George MacAskill

George was honoured for his extensive community involvement spanning the last 30 years, including volunteering with the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic as a golf course marshal and the 55+ golf league.