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Photo from HighJinx' website.

Innovators and community-builders to be recognized at the first Ottawa Social Impact Awards

By Andrew Monro on November 14, 2016


Andrew Monro is Apt613’s correspondent at Impact Hub Ottawa, writing about the many innovators that call Hub home. Hub is a co-working space at 71 Bank Street for projects with a positive local and global impact.

Ottawa has a reputation for being a government town, and the home of just about every association and national organization in the country. But did you also know that our city is also home to a multitude of social enterprises and community initiatives that are working hard to grow and nurture our city?

The City of Ottawa has partnered up with Impact Hub Ottawa to create the Ottawa Social Impact Awards, recognizing our community leaders who are making creating positive impact through their enterprises and initiatives. The aim of the awards is highlight their work and recognize the innovation that they bring to our nation’s capital.

This is first year of the Awards, and Ottawans took the opportunity to nominate a myriad of organizations: almost 50. People then had until November 4th to vote for which ones they believe excel in one of  two categories: social enterprises and community initiatives.

The votes are now in, and here is the 10 nominees that made the shortlist:

Dandelion Dance Company

A charitable non-profit that runs programming for young women and girls from all backgrounds to express their creativity through dance. In doing so, Dandelion strives to help them grow as independent, empathetic, strong, and engaged individuals.

We are stronger together🌳

A photo posted by Dandelion Dance Company (@dandeliondancecompany) on


HIghJinx is one community resource centre, one part eclectic shop, one part clubhouse, and one part food bank (there are probably a couple other parts in their too). The aim of the enterprise is almost like a community hub, bringing together the community so everyone can get what they need and give what they can, as well as providing a space for people to talk and listen.

Little Voice The Book

Little Voice is a children’s book that engages the reader to listen the voice inside of themselves as a source inspiration and hope. The book’s creators have since built a social enterprise around it, supporting the work of the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada.

Ottawa Tool Library

Most libraries exist to loan books to people, tool libraries loan tools. The Ottawa Tool Library is a veritable wall-to-wall arsenal of hand and power tools, gardening equipment and kitchen appliances. Instead of buying tools for one-off projects or tasks, you can become a member of OTL and borrow all manner of devices – they even offer classes to show you how to use them.

#ingaborga came to visit us at the #toollibrary today! 🐶 #librarydog

A photo posted by Ottawa Tool Library (@yowtoollibrary) on


An online tea store start-up with a social conscience, SuraiTea started this year as a business that creates social change by supporting Syrian refugees in Canada. Their sales of jasmine tea (jasmine is a flower native to Syria) are used to support new refugees in their resettlement.

Enactus uOttawa

Enactus is an international organization of students using entrepreneurship and business development to creating lasting social impact. The University of Ottawa chapter is now one of the newest branches of the organization, creating projects around everything from providing fresh produce in urban centres to job creation for people experiencing homelessless.

Helping With Furniture

A charitable non-profit that sources donated furniture and household items, and providing what they collect to in-need families, particularly new immigrants, refugees and those domestically displaced due to violence or natural disasters. They are supported by many volunteers as well as several organizations and businesses who provide them with the resources and equipment to move furniture throughout Ottawa.

Ottawa Redblacks Cheer & Dance Team

You will have seen them if you’ve ever been to a Redblacks game, and they have contributed enormous amounts of time and energy into helping our community. From running and participating in various charitable events from Gatineau to Pembroke, they have given spirit, and a helping hand, in Ottawa and beyond.

Ottawa Rock Camp for Girls

A non-profit that provides musically-oriented programs for teenage girls, working to foster empowerment, a strong sense of community, an acceptance of others, and fun! ORCG wants to help girls and women realize their music dreams while also building community through collaboration and equality.

The Changers Ottawa

The Changers Ottawa is a non-profit that provides programming and services for at-risk youth in Ottawa. Their focus is on helping these young people create positive change, both for themselves and the community. This is done by helping them build resiliency, self-respect, and leadership skills through self-reflection, event organizing and dependable access to social support services.

From here, a panel of distinguished judges – Catherine McKenney, City Councillor for Somerset Ward, George Brown, former President of the Ottawa Community Loan Fund and former City Councillor, and Martina Buchal, Coordinating Ambassador for the young leader global forum One Young World – will review the nominees, and Mayor Jim Watson will announce the two winners at the Museum of Nature on November 17th.

Apt613 will be featuring the two winners in future articles, so stay tuned!

In the mean time, check out the Awards album to see all the photos and stories of each of the shortlist nominees.