Business Excellence Awards – Celebrating Community

Squamish Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards

Six months on we revisit the finalists of our Excellence Awards. Taking time to recognize our valuable professionals within our community is vital to its continued growth and sustainability.  

On December 10th we shared an evening that not only celebrated the community that got us through that ‘unprecedented’ year, but also championed strength, resilience and originality.  

 Our heritage is woven with entrepreneurship, after all. It was born with Indigenous craftsmanship and early fur traders, grown on the backs of immigrant family businesses, and propelled today by the broad spectrum of offerings we see amongst chamber members, from arborists to legal services 


Last year’s premiere, online show allowed a limitless guest list of attendees to join nominees from their living rooms, patios and makeshift dance party dens amid the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing guidelines. 

With the continuing pandemic, the chamber opted to highlight and celebrate excellence in new areas, giving us the opportunity to present awards in varying categories that capture our expansive efforts through 2020 and beyond. We introduced the Community Collaboration Award to recognize exemplary collaborative response by working together with partners or pivoting their operations to serve the Squamish community. 

Beyond their size, small businesses are defined by their community spirit. At the helm are their intrepid founders—creative, ambitious, and tenacious. 

At a time where we are physically distanced from our counterparts, our businesses bridge a social distance as contributors to the heart of our community. Spaces such as Cleaveland Avenue and Garibaldi become a hub of connection, where stores, business associations, and local boards create and preserve the character of their neighbourhood together. Community building leaders that continuously give back by supporting these projects were nominated for our Citizen of the Year award. 


Within our bubbles, we’re all doing our best to adapt to life indoors. But what are we able to do for others? How can we support our communities from a distance? The most vulnerable among us need a helping hand right now. Programs such as the Better at Home program, led by Christina Rupp help deliver essential services to our senior community. 

This is the event of the year to shout out businesses and leaders that actualize excellence in workplace practices, values and beyond and we’re working towards our next celebration as an in-person gala! 


We’ve witnessed significant changes in business practices to enable us to live and work safely amongst the global pandemic. Many of these adaptations have been individual and unique, just as the characters behind the brands, organisations and people within them.  

The intimacy and personalized care of small organisations is hard to scale and so you gain a much more pleasurable and tailored service or experience. Shopping with small businesses is often a point of discovery.   

Amid the burdens of closed storefronts and laid-off staff, independent businesses, a group deeply affected by this pandemic, continue to step up. They are the heart of our communities, now more than ever. Shining stories of altruism in business pop up everywhere we look—like Sunny Chibas free dinner program for families or Sushi Goemon meals to those working on the frontline. 


Speaking with small business owners throughout the crisis and their ingenuity, grit and will to win has outstanded us all. Amidst one of the worst crises of our time, business owners such as Vanessa Doak are adapting to find growth in new opportunities. Healthy Hearts, Healthy Minds programs moved to zoom, along with new social-distancing activities such as orienteering kits for students and their families. 

The risks and attempts taken by business owners leads to a diverse environment that moves their community forward. And Squamish needs them. 


Amongst five categories, fifteen nominees were shortlisted from almost 200 nominations for the inaugural awards event. Taking time to recognize our valuable professionals within our community is vital to its continued growth and sustainability.  


If a global pandemic has inspired anything positive, it’s a sense of togetherness. Communities everywhere have stepped up to close the social distance and provide support to the most vulnerable. 

Celebrate with us six months on and raise a toast to the finalists and leaders that have gone above and beyond for the Squamish community. 

About The Squamish Chamber of Commerce

The Squamish Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in the Squamish community by actively supporting business, economic growth and diversification. The Chamber takes a leadership role in advocating for the interest of Squamish business and provides member services such as networking and educational events, policy positions and partnerships with other organizations.