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UPDATE: Nov. 6, 2020 Citizen of the Year Award and Order of Orillia proceeding; Athlete of the Year and New Years’ Eve Bash cancelled for 2020

Posted on Friday November 06, 2020

The City of Orillia is moving ahead with awarding a 2020 Citizen of the Year and Order of Orillia recipient, but has cancelled the Athlete of the Year Award and the New Year’s Eve Bash at Rotary Place in light of COVID-19 impacts. 

“The City’s New Year’s Eve Bash typically draws hundreds of people to Rotary Place and an event of that scale is just not possible during the pandemic. For athletes, the inability to train or compete this year would make it very challenging to nominate and select a winner for our annual Athlete of the Year Award,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “While it is very disappointing to cancel our New Years’ Eve Bash and the Athlete of the Year award, I can think of no better year to recognize a Citizen of the Year and Order of Orillia recipient. Orillia is known for being one of the most caring, giving and philanthropic communities in all of Ontario. This year has been very difficult, and we must celebrate those in our community who have gone above and beyond in exemplifying the Orillia Spirit.” 

The City’s Commemorative Awards Committee is proceeding with a virtual presentation of the Order of Orillia at Council in December. Details will be released later this month. 

Nominations for the 2020 Citizen of the Year Award will open on Monday, Nov. 30. 

Nominees must be residents of Orillia, Chippewas of Rama First Nation, or the townships of Oro-Medonte, Ramara or Severn, who have contributed to the betterment of Orillia. Emphasis should be placed on the nominees' volunteerism and accomplishments during 2020. 

The deadline for nominations is 12 p.m. (noon) on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. Nominations must be submitted using the nomination form available online at, or from the Customer Service Desk located in the Orillia City Centre. Submissions must include the full name of and contact information for the nominator and the nominee, as well as a detailed explanation of why the nominee deserves to be named Citizen of the Year. 

The 2020 Citizen of the Year panel includes former winners Steve Clarke (non-voting member), Leslie Fournier, Michael Gordon, Stan Mathewson and Gini Stringer, as well as OrilliaMatters reporter Nathan Taylor, Orillia Today reporter Frank Matys, and Rick Purcell, 1st Vice President of the Orillia Legion, Branch 34. 

The City of Orillia is a city of 31,000 people in the heart of Orillia & Lake Country on the shores of Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe. Visit our website at



Mayor Steve Clarke

Brent Thomas
Orillia Fire Chief

Gayle Jackson
Chief Administrative Officer

Jennifer Ruff
Director of Business Development and Communications