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2020 NWTRPA Award Winners Announced!

The NWTRPA is honouring five incredible individuals for their dedication to recreation and community contributions: Elizabeth Hardisty, Rob Johnson, Inemesit Graham, Ava Pope, and Geoff Ray.


Since 1991, the NWTRPA awards program has been celebrating excellence in Northern recreation. This year, however, the program feels particularly important as recreation is playing a major role in our health and wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to be a crucial part of our recovery. Community members are supporting the physical and mental health of NWT communities through recreation and we see their efforts to keep up resilience in these difficult times and bring back a sense of normal.

To celebrate and recognize some of these many wonderful northerners, the NWTRPA is honouring five people from across the NWT for their continuing efforts and achievements in promoting recreation and active living for all Northerners. This year, that includes a very special Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA) Award.

The winners are as follows:

Active Elder Award Winner — Elizabeth Hardisty in Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ / Fort Simpson

The Active Elder Award recognizes inspirational Elders who are active and share their traditional activities or knowledge. The Active Elder Award recognizes and honours community role models.

Award of Excellence Winner — Rob Johnson in Sǫ̀mba K’è / Yellowknife

The Award of Excellence recognizes significant contributions to recreation and parks development in the NWT. The award honours community engagement and significant achievements in the delivery of recreation and parks services.

Innovation Award Winner — Inemesit Graham in Sǫ̀mba K’è / Yellowknife

The Innovation Award recognizes creative, unique, or inventive programming and approaches to recreation and parks services. The Innovation Award honours a commitment to improving access and opportunities for community members to choose an active and healthy lifestyle.

Scott McAdam Youth Leadership Award Winner — Ava Pope in Tłegǫ́hłı̨ / Norman Wells

The Scott McAdam Youth Leadership Award recognizes a youth under the age of 24 for outstanding achievements and contribution towards improving the quality of life of members of their community through volunteerism, work experience, and studies. The award honours passion for recreation and community work or volunteer efforts in many capacities.

CPRA President’s Award of Distinction — Geoff Ray in Sǫ̀mba K’è / Yellowknife

The CPRA President’s Award of Distinction recognizes the exceptional contributions or long-term commitment of an individual who has worked towards the advancement of the parks and recreation agenda on a national level. The recipient shows excellent leadership and long-lasting dedication to the parks and recreation sector on a national scale. Read more about Geoff’s contributions here.

Congratulations and thank you to all of the recipients for their continuing community contributions and their dedication to recreation in the NWT!

To learn more about the history of the NWTRPA Awards program and past award winners, click here.

If you have any questions about the awards or nominating an individual, organization, or community, contact us at


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