THEY call them the “Academy Awards of Winnipeg.”

Friday night, the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce held its seventh annual Spirit of Winnipeg Awards gala dinner.

Several hundred people attended the sold-out event at the Club Regent Event Centre. The idea is to bring together the business community and non-profit organizations to honour and recognize winners and two finalists in eight categories for their innovative ideas.

Here’s the list of winners:

Snowflake Place for Children and Youth Inc.

The centre, which opened its doors on Jan. 23, 2013 is Manitoba’s first Children’s Advocacy Centre. The charitable non-profit organization located in downtown Winnipeg is an innovative safe haven with a child-centric approach that pulls resources under one roof to support families in times of crisis. It fosters best practices in child-abuse investigations to ensure victims receive sensitive and immediate support in a setting that puts their needs first.

Sightline Innovation Inc.

Sightline made an immediate splash in the city because it moved to Winnipeg from Toronto for a host of opportunities its founder and CEO, Wally Trenholm, believes can be found here. It’s now involved in an ambitious process to form Enterprise Machine Intelligence and Learning Initiative (EMILI), which has the potential to be a national presence in a burgeoning field. It is doing ground-breaking work in machine learning across many different sectors.

Solara Remote Data Delivery Inc.

Founded by Tom Tessier in 2006, Solara has already become a global leader in wireless data communications solutions for the most extreme and remote weather, terrain and locations. Its satellite communication devices with GPS tracking and two-way messaging systems are missioncritical tools used around the world, including by military units who depend on pin-point tracking and communications.

ft3 Architecture Landscape Interior Design

This multi-discipline design firm offers services in architecture, landscape and interior design. Among other projects, the firm undertook the $10-million renovation of the North West Co. head office on Main Street, designed the Carol Shields Memorial Labyrinth and has worked on several health care, institutional, residential and community facilities.

CN Campus

CN’s $35-million training facility at its Transcona campus opened in 2014 and centralizes classroom and practical learning for the national railway. CN consists of 25,000 employees, who are responsible for transporting approximately $250 billion worth of goods annually around North America. At any given time there are up to 500 CN employees getting state-of-the-art training.


Building Urban Industries for Local Development is a social enterprise non-profit contractor and a training program for people who face barriers to employment. It retrofits homes with insulation, high-efficiency toilets and water- and energy-saving devices. In addition to offering valuable employment services, their work lowers utility bills and decreases greenhouse gas emissions.

Chronic Disease Innovation Centre powered by Seven Oaks General Hospital

The Chronic Disease Innovation Centre, located in and operated by Seven Oaks General Hospital, is a research and development hub for innovation in health care. The collaborative work being done at CDIC aims to improve health care and patient well-being, bring new healthcare products and technologies to market and spur innovation that lowers health-care costs.


This Winnipeg company, founded by Todd Habicht, has developed a small-scale waste-oil micro-refinery, providing a profitable and sustainable solution for the processing of waste oil. HD-Petroleum has developed a unique micro-refinery technology that converts used oil into high quality diesel fuel. Their technology is targeted towards both emerging and developed areas of the world.

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